Skip navigation - Jump to main content

Retirement
Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS)

Eligibility and Participation

The PERS retirement plans cover most salaried- and temporary-paid contract classified, classified non-union, and GCIU bargaining unit employees who work a minimum of 70 hours per month in any five months of a 12-month period. Whether you are eligible for PERS 1, 2, or 3 is dependent on when you first become eligible with a State of Washington employer and any election options available.

Salaried Employees

If you are a salaried staff employee with an appointment of five or more months at 50% or greater, you are eligible for the PERS plans from the beginning of your eligible appointment.

Temporary Employees

If you are a temporary employee, you may become eligible to participate in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) if:

Exception from PERS Membership

Under state law, if you are a full-time UW student or the spouse of a full-time UW student, you may be eligible to apply for an exception to membership in order to stop your participation in PERS. Please note however that by using this exception, you will receive no retirement contributions or service credit for the period covered and you will never be allowed to recover this time towards your retirement benefits. If you believe you meet this exception criterion, download and complete the PERS Ineligibility Statement Form (MS Word Doc format).

See criterion applicable to all PERS plans.

PERS Plan 3

You are a PERS Plan 3 member if:

All UW employees participate in their applicable retirement plan from the point they establish eligibility. Retirement plan participation is a condition of employment.

PERS Plan 2

You are a PERS Plan 2 member if:

Note: Each January, PERS 2 members who were enrolled prior to March 1, 2002, have the option to transfer to PERS 3. Learn more.

All UW employees participate in their applicable retirement plan from the point they establish eligibility. Retirement plan participation is a condition of employment.

PERS Plan 1

PERS Plan 1 is closed to new participants. Participation is restricted to:

Criterion Applicable to All PERS Plans

Changing positions at the UW

If you move from a PERS-eligible position to a UWRP-eligible position, email the UW Benefits Office at benefits@uw.edu to determine your retirement plan choices.

When Transferring from Another Washington State Higher Education Institution

If you are hired into a PERS-eligible position, but you were participating in a Washington state public Higher Education Retirement Plan with another higher education institution (CWU, EWU, SBCTC, TESC, WSU, WWU), you may be eligible to participate in the University of Washington Retirement Plan (UWRP) instead of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). To be eligible for an exception to participate in the UWRP you must have:

If you believe you meet this exception criterion, email benefits@uw.edu to determine your retirement plan choices.

Explore

Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies between this document and the provisions of the UWRP or PERS 3 Plan Documents, the Plan Documents will prevail.

Chapter 430, Laws of 2009
In calculating average final compensation under this subsection for a member of PERS plan 1, 2, or 3, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) shall include any compensation forgone by the member during the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium as a result of reduced work hours, voluntary leave without pay, or temporary furloughs if the reduced compensation is an integral part of the employer's expenditure reduction efforts, as certified by the employer. At retirement, certification for UW retirees will be provided by the Benefits Office directly to DRS. Neither retirees nor their departments need to provide special information to facilitate this certification. Please contact DRS directly for more information or refer to Chapter 430, Laws of 2009 as passed.