When members of the teachers’ retirement system who are serving in the National Guard or active reserves are mobilized in a time of national emergency they continue to accrue retirement service credit for as long as they remain on active duty. During that period, the member’s employer (the school district, region, city or town) is responsible for paying an amount to the retirement system equal to what the member would have contributed through payroll deductions.
How to report and submit contributions for military service
For the sake of convenience, we require military service funds to be submitted with the June deductions. Since the June report is due at the MTRS in July, this arrangement enables district administrators to plan for these expenses in the new fiscal year budget request. When the member’s military service continues beyond a year, the subsequent payment should be made with the next June submittal or when the member returns to teaching, whichever occurs first.
Teachers serving in the military may receive no pay, full pay or partial pay from the school district where they are employed. Some towns elect to pay the member the difference between his or her military pay and what would have been earned teaching. In instances where the member receives pay from the district, retirement contributions must be deducted from that pay and reported to the MTRS. The employer is only responsible for making up the remainder. If the member is being paid a full salary, then regular contributions are deducted and reported and the employer is not required to make any additional payment.
We have designed a simple form for districts to use when submitting contributions on behalf of members serving in the military. This enables us to identify the member and the amount of creditable service to assign to the period of military absence. We require that all funds for members’ military service be submitted separately from the district’s regular retirement deductions. The law requires that these sums be accounted for separately and deposited in a special account that is independent of members’ annuity savings accounts.
In order for a member to be eligible to receive retirement credit for time served in the military, after his or her discharge or release, he or she had to return to membership service within the applicable time period based on the length of his or her military service. In the event that the member quits teaching and withdraws from the retirement system without receiving a pension benefit, all funds submitted on his or her behalf will be returned to the employer.
For more information
In all instances it is advisable to call an MTRS Employer Services Representative, at 617-679-6895, for assistance when a teacher is ordered to active military duty.