“Alameda” Case Update
Frequently Asked Questions
What did the Supreme Court’s “Alameda” decision do?
The “Alameda Decision” established the legal standard that Standby/On-Call types of pay must be excluded from compensation earnable when calculating a legacy member’s retirement benefit, unless it is established that the time was regularly scheduled, required to be work and ordinarily worked by all members of the same grade or classification.
To determine whether a member’s Standby/On-Call type of pay should be included in or excluded from compensation earnable OCERS applies the following analysis:
- Pay for services rendered outside normal working hours is excluded from compensation earnable. Conversely, pay for services rendered during normal working hours is included in compensation earnable (unless the Board otherwise determines the pay was given in order to enhance a members retirement allowance).
- Normal working hours have been defined as:
1) hours that are required to be worked as part of the employee’s regular duties;
2) are ordinarily worked by all other employees in the same grade/class; and
3) are not and cannot be voluntarily worked by the employee.
What does PEPRA have to do with “Alameda”?
PEPRA became law on January 1, 2013. Its provisions as to what was and was not to be included as compensation earnable were to have been applied to all retirements on and after January 1, 2013.
Why isn’t all Standby/On-Call hours worked being included in my compensation earnable?
A job that included a mandatory assignment where Standby/On-Call types of hours were required does not necessarily meet the requirement of being included in compensation earnable
- The fact that you were required to work the Standby/On-Call is not the only criteria for determining pensionable status of the pay.
- The mandatory Standby/On-Call must also have been ordinarily worked by all employees in the same classification as you.
- The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) defines the classification and OCERS’ analysis of the data shows that all employees in the classification did not ordinarily work the Standby/On-Call hours.
How is it fair to take away a portion of my retirement?
The Supreme Court unequivocally stated in its decision in Alameda that the law changed in 2013 when PEPRA was enacted. OCERS must follow the law and has no choice but to take action now.
Why are you making all these adjustments now? Tell me why the Court made this decision given that members made pre-retirement decisions based on benefit amounts that included specific pay items.
The Supreme Court stated that reliance does not change the law and retirement systems are in violation of the law if we don’t make changes now. The OCERS Board of Retirement and staff understands that members made decisions based on benefit amounts they anticipated in their planning and we are undertaking a number of steps to assist members through this period.
Will I receive a refund of the contributions I paid on these pay items?
Contribution overpayments will be reconciled from January 1, 2013 and will be used to offset overpaid benefits. In the event overpaid contributions exceeds overpaid benefits a refund will be issued.