The Plan: Membership Information
The Summary Plan Description (SPD) is a brief description of your Pension Plan and your rights, obligations, and benefits under that Plan. The SPD is not meant to interpret, extend, or change the provision of the Pension Plan in any way. The provisions of the Plan may only be determined accurately by reading the actual Plan document, contained in City Code of Ordinances, Chapter 20.
A copy of the 2008 Group I SPD is available for download here and may be read by you, your beneficiaries, or your legal representatives at any reasonable time. If you have any questions regarding either the Pension Plan or this SPD, you should contact the Plan Administrator.
In the event of any discrepancy between this SPD and the actual provisions of the Plan, the City Ordinances shall govern.
View the City's Pension Ordinance here.
As a full time permanent employee, pension plan membership is mandatory in either the GERS (a Defined Benefit Plan) or the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan (administered by the City Finance Department) for all eligible employees as shown below.
Pension benefits for new employees
- Employees hired October 1, 2007 or after that are members of the Teamsters Union are not eligible to join GERS but must join the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan.
- Employees hired November 7, 2007 or after that are members of the Federation of Public Employees Union are not eligible to join GERS but must join the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan.
- All other employees not covered by a bargaining unit are not eligible to join GERS if hired on or after February 20, 2008 effectively closing the Plan at that date.
Member employees must meet the following conditions for eligibility:
- Must be actively employed in a permanent position as defined by the Personnel rules of the City.
Must not be receiving a pension from any other retirement system of the City.
Must not be a certified police officer or firefighter. (Certified in the manner required by the City of Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters Retirement System)
- Membership is optional for full-time Non-Classified and Affiliated Agency employees.
MEMBER EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS
You are required to contribute 6% of earnings to the Pension Plan through bi-weekly payroll deduction. Earnings include base salary, assignment pay, academic incentive pay (AIP), shift pay, and longevity pay. Since January 1, 1989, Pension Plan contributions are not considered to be part of your current taxable income as outlined in Section 414(h) of the IRS Code.
During periods of sick leave, vacation, suspension, authorized leave of absence, and military service, you are required to continue contributions. Member contributions are not required during periods of approved disability.
The amount the City contributes may vary from year to year. The City is required to contribute the amount actuarially necessary to pay benefits and maintain the Plan on a sound basis as determined annually by an independent enrolled actuary. The City contribution for the 2013-14 fiscal year is 27.49%. The City contribution for the 2014-15 fiscal year will be 29.15%.
All employee and employer contributions are placed in the Pension Trust Fund. The money and investment earnings in the Trust Fund can only be used for the exclusive benefit of Plan members and their beneficiaries.
LOANS FROM THE PENSION PLAN
The Pension Plan is not authorized to make loans to members.
Membership Start Date
If you were hired before August 6, 1976, your original date of hire is your date of membership for pension purposes. If you were hired on or after August 6, 1976, your date of hire in a permanent position is your date of membership for pension purposes.
The makeup of Plan Participants as of September 30, 2015 was as follows:
- Active Members:..............................830
- DROP Participants............................15
- Retirees & Beneficiaries:............1,344
- Terminated Vested Members:........110
- Total Membership:........................2,299
Special Group II Information
Effective September 13, 1992 and also May 1, 1998, members who were originally covered by the schedule of benefits referred to as GROUP II, were permitted to move to the GROUP I schedule of benefits.
If you moved to GROUP I, you are required to pay additional contributions equal to 1/2 of the total contributions you made prior to the date you moved, either September 13, 1992, or May 1, 1998. The additional contributions are being deducted from your payroll in equal installments over a time period equal to your service in GROUP II until the total is paid in full.
NOTE: The SPD for Group II differs from the more common SPD found here. Group II members are those individuals hired after 10/1/1983, before 11/1/1992 AND have elected to preserve their original benefits package.
For those members that meet Group II criteria, please note that the information contained within the site may not match your plan coverage exactly. For detailed information on your plan, please download a copy of the 2008 Group II Summary Plan Description (SPD).
For conditions of eligibility prior to September 13, 1992, consult the Plan document.