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Old 09-08-2012, 07:38 AM   #21
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Well, this is a form of spiking, and the OP in this thread specifically mentioned a law to curtail the practice, so that much is good. Something *is* being done, at least in some places.

Even most pensioners (at least the ones who didn't spike) will be among the first to tell you that they don't approve of the practice, either.
The wrong doing and abuse of a few (very few) should not be used as a reason to gut the pensions of the vast majority or hard working state employees.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:35 AM   #22
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The wrong doing and abuse of a few (very few) should not be used as a reason to gut the pensions of the vast majority or hard working state employees.
+1. You don't need to cut the pensions of workers approaching retirement to get things back on track. But it is easy to eliminate spiking and that can be done immediately for all workers. No reason that someone approaching retirement should be able to work overtime or get a brief raise and spike their pension just because their predecessors got away with it.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:15 AM   #23
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As a rank-n-file labor worker, it's probably impossible to 'spike' the pension. There would have to be specific language in the contract. For me and my contract there is language that allows me to build up sick leave and use it as service credit towards retirement. I get 12 days of sick leave a year. 8 hours a day. Over a 30 year career, that could be up to a year's worth a service credit. Under the 2@55 program, that would add 2% to the pension. So a pension that paid out $3000 a month could have another $60 a month if a person wasn't sick often. I'd hardly call that spiking though. (I don't know anyone that saves up that much sick leave anyways...)
More likely, it's salary people who don't record sick leave but just take the day under the auspices of their salaried position. Labor is hourly and every hour is documented.
Overtime isn't part of any PERS retirement pension calculation I know of. Buying time back is, but the employee funds that 100%.

In any case, where I work, the labor cost is 2% of the annual budget. As I was once told during a contract negotiation by the management, "it's chump change, we could double it and not feel the effect. However, you are not worth it."
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:19 PM   #24
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It's not what it seems

As I (and the Los Angeles Times) understand it, the legislation is all window dressing. All of the mentioned end to pension spiking, end to "airtime" purchases, and required significant employee contributions to pensions and other every favorable treatment are for "newly hired" employees. Current employees are exempt.

And since governments are (mostly) flat out broke there won't be too many new employees in the near term. It will be decades before any of these fixes saves any money.

The problem remains with nundreds of billions in unfunded liabilities for those well connected special interests.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:45 PM   #25
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I had about $10,000 in unused sick days and vacation. Our system does not allow it to count for retirement. I noticed my pension take home looked a little high, but since I didn't have a true take home estimate I just thought it was higher than I estimated. The second check, was $300 lower than the first because they incorrectly added that money to my pension, so they had to dock me for it the following check. So yes, I think pension spiking if allowed and done by many could have a significant impact on a system.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:21 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by skipro3 View Post
As a rank-n-file labor worker, it's probably impossible to 'spike' the pension. There would have to be specific language in the contract. For me and my contract there is language that allows me to build up sick leave and use it as service credit towards retirement. I get 12 days of sick leave a year. 8 hours a day. Over a 30 year career, that could be up to a year's worth a service credit. Under the 2@55 program, that would add 2% to the pension. So a pension that paid out $3000 a month could have another $60 a month if a person wasn't sick often. I'd hardly call that spiking though. (I don't know anyone that saves up that much sick leave anyways...)
More likely, it's salary people who don't record sick leave but just take the day under the auspices of their salaried position. Labor is hourly and every hour is documented.
Overtime isn't part of any PERS retirement pension calculation I know of. Buying time back is, but the employee funds that 100%.

."
The general approach to pension spiking is to cash in unused sick time (uncommon) and vacation time (common) and since the final pension is a based on the final years salary (more recently the average of highest 3 years) it can have a dramatic impact on the final pension. It was not unheard of for people to have 30-40% more income in their last year before retiring than the previous years. I believe you are right that PERS no long allows overtime or vacation to count. But I am pretty sure it was not that long ago circa 2000 the public safety employees were allowed to count both.
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