How part-time “membership” service is credited
Overview of the changes effective July 9, 2010
Example of how part-time service is credited
Part-time nonmembership service
Membership service and RetirementPlus
An exception: Part-time service and eligibility for ordinary disability retirement


How part-time “membership” service is credited 

If you have rendered any “membership” service on a part-time basis, it will be credited as follows:

For part-time membership service rendered...You will receive...
On or before 11/9/1990Full-time credit

Between 11/9/1990 and 7/9/2010

If your employment status during this period:

  • did not change (i.e., you did not go from part-time to full-time, or vice versa), full-time credit
  • changed (i.e., you went from part-time to full-time, or vice versa, excepting pre-kindergarten or kindergarten service), prorated credit based on the percentage of full-time service it represents (e.g., if you worked for one year on a half-time basis, you will receive 0.50 year of service credit for that year).
On or after 7/9/2010Prorated credit based on the percentage of full-time service it represents, regardless of any change in your employment status (e.g., if you worked for one year on a half-time basis, you will receive 0.50 year of service credit for that year).

 


Overview of the changes effective July 9, 2010 

On December 18, 2009, the Board amended the MTRS’s creditable service regulation (807 CMR 3.04). Effective July 9, 2010, this amendment:

  • mandated that the credit for all part-time service rendered after July 9, 2010, including kindergarten service, be prorated based on the percentage of full-time service it represents;
  • removed the effect of a change in an employee’s employment status (i.e., from part-time to full-time, or vice versa) on the crediting of his or her part-time service after July 9, 2010;
  • provided a two-year “grandfather” period for members who elected to participate in RetirementPlus and who retire on or before July 1, 2012.

What this means for members who have worked—or are working—on a part-time basis

Your part-time service rendered:

  • before November 9, 1990 will continue to be credited as before: as full-time service.
  • between November 9, 1990 and July 9, 2010 will continue to be credited as before: either as full-time service (if you did not undergo a status change during that period), or prorated based on the percentage of full-time service that it represents, if you went from part-time to full-time, or vice versa, during that period. In other words, the new regulation does not affect credit accrued prior to July 9, 2010.
  • on or after July 9, 2010 will be prorated based on the percentage of full-time service it represents, regardless of any changes in your employment status after that date. For example, if you render service on a half-time basis for the 2010–11 school year, you will receive 0.50 year of service credit for that year.

If you have always worked part-time, including as a kindergarten teacher, be aware that, while you previously earned full-time credit for your part-time service, after July 9, 2010 your part time service credit will be prorated.

Full-time salary equivalent
Whenever prorated part-time service is used in the calculation of a retiring member’s benefit allowance, the MTRS will use the member’s full-time equivalent salary to determine his or her final salary average. In other words, your service credit will be prorated, but your salary equivalent will not—you will not be “double-prorated” in the calculation of your retirement benefit. (Please see example, below.)

Why the regulation was amended
The regulation was changed to address a number of longstanding problems presented by the previous regulation for members and employers alike. In prorating all part-time service rendered after July 9, 2010, the regulation resolves the inconsistencies associated with the status change rule.

For example, under the previous regulation, a member who worked half-time for ten years would receive ten years of creditable service. However, if that same member had a status change from part-time to full-time in her eleventh year of service, her ten years of half-time service would no longer count as ten years, but would be prorated and only count as five years. Thus, a member could be vested in the retirement system at the end of one school year, and then not vested at the start of the next school year due to a status change. Under the amended regulation, status change is no longer relevant. Members who qualify for full-time credit for their part-time work rendered prior to the effective date of the new regulation, will retain that credit regardless of future status changes.

The bottom line: The new regulation may result in increased benefits for certain members with part-time service
Before adopting this regulation, the Board carefully analyzed the effect that the change would have on members with part-time service, especially those who might be retiring in the next few years. In reviewing numerous scenarios, the Board found that, because a retiring employee’s part-time service is prorated, but his or her full-time salary equivalent is used in the calculation of the final salary average, most members with part-time service would not be financially harmed by this amendment—in fact, they may even see their benefit increase.

If you have any questions about how your part-time service is credited, or how it affects the calculation of your retirement benefit, please contact us for assistance.


Example of how part-time service is credited

To estimate your retirement benefits, please use our online estimator.
 


Mary Music 

For illustration purposes only; results may not be typical

A part-time music teacher her entire career and a member of the MTRS prior to April 2, 2012, Mary has always worked on a 60%-of-full-time basis. She is retiring at age 60 on June 30, 2015. She did not elect to participate in RetirementPlus.

Creditable service
All on a 60% basisPursuant to 807 CMR 3.04
9/1/1993–6/30/2010Full-time equivalent
17 yrs
9/1/2010–6/30/2015Prorated
3 yrs
Total20 yrs
Salary average
9/1/2012–6/30/2013Actual earnings
$42,000
Full-time equivalent
$70,000
9/1/2013–6/30/2014Actual earnings
$43,200
Full-time equivalent
$72,000
9/1/2014–6/30/2015Actual earnings
$44,400
Full-time equivalent
$74,000 
Total
÷ 3 years 
$129,600
÷ 3
$216,000
÷ 3 
Salary average$43,200$72,000
Benefit calculations
Age factor (age 60)
x Years of creditable service
0.20
x 20
% of salary average
+ RetirementPlus percentage
40%
+ n/a
Allowable % of salary average
x 3-year salary average
40%
x $72,000
Option A annual allowance$28,800

 


Additional notes

Part-time nonmembership service
All part-time nonmembership service, both before and after July 9, 2010, is prorated based on the percentage of full-time service that it represents. Additionally, all part-time service in the Boston Retirement System will be prorated.

Membership service and RetirementPlus
Membership service is service you acquire while working in a position eligible for membership in the MTRS during which you contribute directly to the MTRS via a payroll deduction by your school district. If you are participating in RetirementPlus, you must have 30 years of creditable service—at least 20 of which must be “membership” service with the MTRS or the Boston Retirement System as a teacher—in order to receive the enhanced benefit.

An exception: Part-time service and eligibility for ordinary disability retirement
For the purpose of determining your eligibility for ordinary disability benefits, part-time service will count as full-time service for purposes of meeting the ten-year minimum service requirement, but not for purposes of determining your benefit amount.