Some better news, new amendments to SB2100 an HB1405

Today Senator Ring introduced several amendments to SB 2100 that (as we read and interpret) make the following notable and positive changes

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Wow, what a difference a day makes.  Today Senator Ring introduced several amendments to SB 2100 that (as we read and interpret) make the following notable and positive changes:

  • ·         The DROP would be extended for five more years.  This would allow members to enter the DROP up until  July 1, of 2016.
  • ·         Special Risk would retain the normal retirement ages of 25 years of service, or age 55.
  • ·         Allow  up to 300 hours of overtime in the calculation of Average Final Compensation
  • ·         Specifies DROP members do not have to make employee contribution.

These are all steps in the right direction!

Also, Senate Minority Leader Ron Saunders has introduced 5 strike amendments that would seem to eliminate the changes proposed just yesterday by Representative Tobia to HB 1405.

We will try to keep you posted as further developments take place!  We believe this is hard evidence that the calls and letters are working!

  • Mcnicola

    I have a question that someone may be able to answer. I am a long term state employee who is not retired, and not planning on retiring in the next 5–7 years or so. I am in the “normal pension” not the investment. I am considering change jobs, going from one florida state system employer to another state system employer. Would I lose my ability to be in the pension plan? Are teachers who move from one county to another treated as new employees in terms of signing up for retierment plans (are they “new” enrollees”?

  • Mcnicola

    I work with teacher recruitment. I will say that we have had a very large number of teachers leave in the last two weeks. It is quite unusual to have so many leave at this time of the year. Some have taken retirement, some have just left. Moral is very low. No one likes to feel like dirt. Staffing the classrooms at this time of the year is very hard.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    If you move from one FRS participating employer to another it should not affect your FRS status at all. Make sure you new employer is a participant.

  • JM

    I’m having a difficult time trying to understand when might be the best time of the year to retire and have any accumulated leave time count towards your AFC. I’m special risk with 23 years, I will 55 in December and will have approx 400 hours accumulated annual leave on July 01. 5 out of the last 7 years will count towards my AFC. I am planning to drop, if available, late this year or early next. If I drop in Dec, it would only be considered about 1/2 of my salary on the state fiscal year and not count towards a high 5 year. Is it better to wait until late in the fiscal year to reire if you want your accumulated leave to count towards your AFC? If I’m correct in understanding your answer to VVV, if this next year were to count towards my AFC I would not be able to use the accumulated. Thanks for all your good work………

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    A few things JM, First and foremost, we would urge you to delay your final decision until you see what changes will be made. Secondly, at 23 years of service your pension will be on the low side vs. sticking around, so you might want to have another job lined up. 69% of your income will be tough, especially with the decrease in COLA for the next 35 years. Your high five will still be your high five, as long as the overtime was earned before July 1, so we encourage you to not make a decision based on 1/2 year of overtime to AFC. AFC is a five year average, and those 6 months will probably not be that big of a factor, whether before or after. Also, your DROP date is effective starting the day you have your 25 years of service or your age 55, the month is not really pertinent, as it is retroactive to that date. If you drop 2 months after, you decrease your DROP time by 2 months. Most of this is something we can help you calculate, and help you make your decision on the actual numbers.

  • DOT Tom

    I agree with Moke. The legislature apparently is making them go into the investment plan rather than the pension, so why not eliminate DROP for them as well. Current FRS employees should be able to continue on the retirement path they planned….which included a DROP payout and COLA with their pension.

  • Jayj8421

    When I started teaching in 1973, I was making very little money. When I married, we finally had two salaries, but things were still tight and we did not have money for a financial planner. Even though we didn’t have much extra, I kept asking my administrators and co-workers about 401K plans. I finally started getting information about 403b plans 20 years later. This was too late to save much of my salary. I am so thankful for the Drop Program. There is no way that many teachers can save the money that they need for retirement without the Drop Program. Please keep it viable for all teachers. They just don’t make enough to put much back for retirement. I

  • Moke1955

    So many have been in the system for 2o+ years and still don’t reach the 2016 deadline. I question, why 2016? Why not 10 or 15 years from now? Offer DROP at 25 years instead of 30 years.

    Grandfather in all those employees who are currently vested.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    I can only surmise that they would like to stop the benefit immediately, but have given an extra 5 years as a concession to those close to the age. The DROP has only been an option for 12 years, and it is obviously a generous one (therefore the desire to cut it). We really believe the legislators realize that an abrupt end would be terribly unfair, and have worked in a provision to help that.

  • Fishcopr131

    I work for a County Consolidated 911 Center, but I kept my City retirement benefits. I pay in 6% each pay period and have 21+ years in. Thank you Senator Ring for your efforts to keep the FRS fair to my fellow 911 Operators all over the State. Long hours, little pay, high stress but a tremendously rewarding job made more bearable by the thought of a fair retirement policy. My City retirement will probably mirror the State’s and I retire in 4+ years with 25 years of service at 65 years of age. Drop for 1 more year would allow me to collect an additional $500 a month in Social Security which would help pay for medical insurance for my spouse. Keep up the good work…and THANKS! Rick H

  • Dallen2000

    Before you start thanking Senator Ring too much, even if the drop is around to 2016, they plan to reduce the interest rate on your accumulation to 2%. That’s a 70% decrease in the amount of money you will have after your 5 years. this is significant, @ present you earn 6.5% interest on your accumulation. So please ask that no changes be made on the interest rate for DROP also til 2016.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    While we concur that you ask that no changes be made, it is only the interest rate that is reduced 70%. The biggest part of the DROP benefit is your own pension payments going into the account, the interest is simply paid on that. The cut would be about 10% of the total benefit, or less than 2% per year. If your AFC is $50k, the difference would be $135k after 5 years vs. $150k. It is a bad cut, but doesn’t make the DROP unattractive.

  • Tom

    Will annual leave be calculated in the high 5 average after 7/1/11. If not, do we get paid for the overtime accumulated before 7/1/11 and it adds to our earnings and high 5. Thanks,Tom

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    At this point, I can’t answer those questions. We will just have to wait and see what the committee decides.

  • aimee

    I agree with you 100%. I am actually a retirement educator in public school systems in Florida, and unfortunately most teachers don’t realize that their FRS pension will not be enough to get them thru their retirement years…only about 25% of teachers are saving money in a 403b plan as opposed to corporate America where about 75% are participating 401k plans. The DROP program is a 2nd chance to build your retirement nest egg…I hope they don’t eliminate it.