Update on: SB 62 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PAY CHANGES & SB 72 PERA SOLVENCY
Sisters and Brothers,
Only a couple hours remain in the 2020 NM Legislature. Senate Bill 62, regrading FLSA Overtime reporting still has yet to be heard on the house floor. We still have hope that they will hear the bill and pass it. Please, take a minute and copy and paste these email addreess, and send them the FACTS on SB62. You deserved to be fairly compensated in retirement.
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SB 62 addresses a necessary change to allow firefighters to report their full salary
SB 62, which has been endorsed by the PERA board, addresses a necessary change to PERA’s definition of “salary” and the way affected members’ pay is reported to the state for their pension. Currently and without this change, fire suppression personnel who work 24-hour shifts work an average of 56 hours per week. These are more hours than may be reported to PERA. Their salaries are underreported to the state, which causes a loss of earned pension dollars and a discrepancy in reporting between firefighters who work 24-hour shifts and their peers who work a traditional 40 hour work week.
Financial comparison of office versus shift workers
Currently, firefighters who work 40 hours per week (2080 hours per year) are allowed to report 100% of that annual salary to PERA. Meanwhile firefighters who work 24-hour shifts, which result in an average workload of 56 hours per week and 2,920 hour annually just by working their regularly scheduled shift work report up to 13% (percentage varies between municipalities) less of their annual salary. This decrease affects 2,200 professional firefighters throughout the state of New Mexico. For Example, ‘Firefighter A,’ who works 40 hours per week, has 100% of their regular scheduled hours of a $40,000 salary reported to PERA, resulting in a starting pension rate of $28,000 per year. In contrast, ‘Firefighter B,’ who works 56 hours per week in order to earn the same $40,000 annually, only has 90% of their salary reported to PERA. This means that it appears that their salary is only $36,000, resulting in a starting pension rate of $25,200 per year. This is a difference of $2,800 per year or $233 per month for a Firefighter who actually works 840 hours more per year than their 40-hour equivalent.
Obviously, this erroneous decrease, and the compounding effect it has on employees’ pensions, lasts in perpetuity for the rest of their lives. Senate Bill 62 will change to the definition of “salary “to allow affected professional firefighters, law enforcement and corrections officers to report 100% of their annual salary to PERA. To be clear, this change does not affect the type of hours that may be reported. That is to say, neither 40-hour firefighters nor 56-hour firefighters are or will be able to report hours earned from contractual holiday pay, optional and mandatory overtime are not considered “regular scheduled hours,” and thus are not pensionable. Only regularly scheduled hours define a firefighter’s annual salary, which is reported to PERA.
SB 62 is a FLSA clarification for public safety workweeks. The current interpretation does not give firefighters full service credit for mandatory hours worked in a 56 hour workweek. Firefighters currently only get credit for 53 hours. While firefighters are compensated at a higher rate of pay for the 3 missing hours, SB 62 will only give them credit for those hours at their regular pay rate.
Page Last Updated: Feb 20, 2020 (07:31:16)