May 24, 2010

Assembly Passes Early Retirement Incentive for Public Workforce

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governmental Employees Committee Chair Peter J. Abbate, Jr., today announced the recent passage of legislation that would allow certain state and local government employees to retire early as a cost saving measure.

The measure (A.11144/Abbate) establishes two separate temporary retirement incentives: Part A which would provide one month of additional pension service credit for each year of service, not to exceed three years, for certain public employees in targeted positions; and Part B which would allow eligible employees to retire at age 55 after 25 years of service with no reduction in benefits.

The state would offer the Part B plan to its employees and may opt into Part A. Other public employers would be given the option of offering either or both incentives to their employees. Employees offered both incentives would only be permitted to take advantage of one or the other.

"By providing an early retirement incentive program for public employees, we can help streamline the workforce while also providing savings to state and local governments during these difficult economic times," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The legislation is a creative solution to eliminate positions that will save the greatest amount of money while causing the least drastic service disruptions. This measure also will avoid across the board layoffs and cancellations of programs."

"In 2002, thousands of public employees took advantage of a similar early retirement program," said Abbate (D-Brooklyn). "With today's dire fiscal climate, this bill will enable many state and local government workers to retire, and leave the public payroll, at a time when we can use the savings."

The incentives would be offered to certain members currently enrolled in the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System, New York State Teachers Retirement System, New York City Teachers Retirement System, New York City Board of Education Retirement System and the New York City Employees Retirement System. The measure does not apply to police and fire department retirement systems.