The California Supreme Court issued a decision this week in the Cal Fire case which ACERA has been following closely.
The decision relates to “air time,” a benefit offered by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to many of its members. “Air time” is a benefit that allowed CalPERS members to buy up to five years of additional service to be counted toward their pension benefit, but that service time was unrelated to the time they actually worked for their employer. The Court held that CalPERS members were not entitled to purchase air time as a vested benefit, so it could be eliminated by the California Legislature, which was done in 2013 through the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA).
Air time was never offered as a benefit at ACERA, so this ruling does not change how ACERA administers benefits on behalf of its members and participating employers. There are other cases pending before the Court that could affect ACERA members, and we will keep you updated as we receive new information on those cases.