The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 24, 2011
State worker retirements up 10 percent in February

The rate at which state workers filed their retirement papers between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 rose 10 percent compared to the same period last year, according CalPERS' figures (see the table above), marking the fourth month in a row that more employees retired than the same period a year earlier.

More broadly, the retirement data shows that the rate of year-over-year monthly applications has increased in 29 of 38 times since January 2008.

The trend reflects the demographics of the state's aging workforce and, at least to some degree, the impact of furloughs, recent increases in what many employees pay toward their pensions and other factors that have made working for the state less attractive to long-time state workers.

February retirement applications usually drop off sharply when compared with January (which CalPERS defines as Dec. 15 to Jan. 15). Up to a quarter of retiring state employees time their departures for the end of the year. The biggest reason: CalPERS rules delay initial pension cost-of-living adjustments until the May following a retiree's first full calendar year away from service.

Speaking of COLAs, here are the cost-of-living adjustments that take effect in May for CalPERS retirees:

CalPERS COLA table.jpg

The table comes from this CalPERS Cost-of-Living Fact Sheet. This page lays out COLA calculations and caveats.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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