The OPERS staff has prepared this summary for our members of 2014 retirement legislation. The following is a description of new legislation affecting members of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System. The implementation of the legislation may initiate new policies, rules, and procedures in the coming months.
HB 2630 (Rep. Randy McDaniel)
Effective November 1, 2015
House Bill 2630 directs OPERS to establish a tax-qualified defined contribution retirement system for those members who join the system on or after November 1, 2015, including statewide elected officials and legislators. The following is a summary of key provisions of the bill:
The provisions of this bill are not applicable to hazardous duty members, district attorneys, assistant district attorneys or other employees of the district attorney’s office. Further exclusions are provided in Senate Bill 2120 (see below).
- Employee contributions
Participating employees will contribute a minimum of 3.0% of compensation up to a maximum rate of 7.0% (Rate choices: 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, and 7%). The initial 3% contribution is mandatory and will be placed in a 401(a) or 457(b) plan. Any contributions over that will be voluntary and placed in a 457(b) plan. Participants will elect their initial contribution rates at enrollment and may only change the rate once per calendar year during an option period determined by the OPERS Board. All employee contributions shall be made by salary reduction.
- Pick up provisions
The mandatory 3% employee contributions into the 401(a) are “picked up” by the employer, which means there are no taxes paid at that time. Voluntary amounts over the 3% go into the 457(b) plan and are also not taxed at that time up to the annual IRS maximums.
- Employer match
Participating employers will match the employee contribution rate in the same percentage and those funds will be placed in a 401(a) plan. The employer match may be increased or decreased at any time by the Legislature without affecting the then-existing rights of the employee, but shall not be less than 3.0% for any year. Employers will be required to make payment of the required matching amount within five business days of the employee’s payroll date. In addition, the employer shall remit the difference between the required matching contribution and the current required OPERS employer contribution rate. If remittances are not made through the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), they can be made through and electronic funds transfer or placed in a bank account from which OPERS can debit the amount due.
- Investment discretion
The OPERS Board will contract with one or more business entities to create a range of investment choices for participants. Participants will have investment discretion over all employee contributions, employer matching funds, and the gains or losses on those amounts within the available investment options offered. These options will be substantially similar to those offered in the SoonerSave plan. The Board will give due consideration to investment options that provide guaranteed lifetime income.
- Administrative costs
At least monthly, each employer will be required to pay to OPERS an amount to reimburse the cost of administration of the defined contribution system, as determined by the OPERS Board. Each year, the OPERS Board shall certify to OMES the determined amount of administrative costs of the defined contribution system, which will be required to be paid for by each participant.
Participants will always be 100% vested in their employee contributions, and the gains or losses on those contributions. Employees are vested with respect to employer contributions at 20% per year until becoming 100% vested after five full years. If an employee leaves participation before becoming fully vested in the employer matching funds, those nonvested amounts may be used to offset administrative costs.
- Vested rights
No alteration, amendment or repeal of this Act shall affect the then-existing rights of participating employees. Benefits are not subject to executions, garnishment or attachment and not assignable. Funds in the DC plan can be divided in domestic relations cases.
Employees participating in the defined contribution system will not be permitted to also participate in the Oklahoma State Employees Deferred Compensation and Savings Incentive Plans commonly referred to as “SoonerSave” and, accordingly, will not qualify for the $25 match in SoonerSave.
SB 2120 (Sen. Rick Brinkley)
Effective November 1, 2015
Senate Bill 2120 expands the list of excluded participants in the new defined contribution system created in HB 2630. Those excluded are employees of a county, county elected officials, county hospital, city or town, conservation district, circuit engineering district, and any public or private trust in which a county, city or town participates and is the primary beneficiary.
This bill also permits any person first licensed by the Department of Rehabilitation Services as a vending operator or managing operator on or after November 1, 2015, to be eligible for participation in the defined contribution system.
The bill excludes participants in the defined contribution system from receiving the $105.00 monthly health insurance subsidy paid by OPERS.
Posted on Thu, June 5, 2014
by Patrick Lane