The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 14, 2011
CalPERS publishes paper on vested pension rights

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGHere's a reference to bookmark when you're debating public pension reform.

CalPERS has just issued a 20-page paper (embedded at the end of this post) that lays out several legal reasons that pension promises made to current employees and retirees can't be altered.

"Vested Rights of CalPERS Members: Protecting the pension promises made to public employees" says, "This paper is not intended to respond to any particular proposed legislation or initiative." Still, it's hard to imagine it would have been written without suggestions by The Little Hoover Commission and others that state and local governments should roll back pensions for existing employees, dump guaranteed retirement payouts and put more of the pension burden on workers.

The CalPERS paper says that the California Public Employees' Retirement Law, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution all prevent altering pensions promised to current employees. It also details a list of "non-vested" rights that can be altered, such as the price of service credit.

PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento, Sacramento Bee file

Vested Rights of CalPERS Members

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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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