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Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) Plan 2


Public Employees' Retirement System Plan 2 ("PERS 2") is a 401(a) defined benefit (DB) retirement plan that provides a secure income for retirement.

Participation in the PERS 2 retirement plan starts on your first day of employment in an eligible position. In this DB plan, you and the University contribute money to the PERS Plan 2 Retirement Trust Fund which pays your retirement benefit. Once you retire, you will receive your retirement benefit based on your service credit and average final compensation, not based on yours or the UW’s contributions. Here are the plan highlights:

Note: Each January, PERS 2 members who were enrolled prior to March 1, 2002, have the option to transfer to PERS 3. The Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) provides plan information in the Public Employee Retirement System Plan 2 Member Handbook.

Earning Service Credit in PERS 2

PERS 2 benefits are based on a formula—see "Calculating Your PERS 2 Retirement Benefits" below. Key to that formula is earning "service credit" for the time you are enrolled in PERS 2. There are two ways to earn service credit: month by month, or over an annual basis.

Month by Month

Month by month service credit is earned as follows:

At the UW, to obtain one full month of service credit in each of the 12 months, the minimum salaried appointment is 56.25%.

Annual Basis

Alternatively, when you work for an institution of higher learning such as UW, you may receive 12 service credit months for the "school year" (i.e., September 1–August 31) if you:

You may receive six service credit months for each school year if you:

Note: If you earn compensation in fewer than nine months of the school year, you will receive service credit based on the number of hours compensated each month.

Average Final Compensation

Your average final compensation is defined as the average of your 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months.

Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Chapter 430, Laws of 2009

Enacted on July 26, 2009, for compensation earned during the 2009 – 2011 fiscal biennium, the average final compensation used to calculate a retirement benefit will not be affected by salary reductions if that reduction is due to a reduction of hours, voluntary leave without pay or temporary furloughs if the action is based on the employer’s effort to reduce expenditures.

Calculating Your PERS 2 Retirement Benefits

Monthly retirement income = 2% x service credit years x average monthly final compensation


Suppose you retire at age 65 with 32 years of service credit and a monthly average final compensation of $2,000. Your retirement benefit would be $1,280 each month, calculated as follows:
2% x 32 x $2,000 = $1,280

This calculation results in the standard single life benefit. It will be different if you choose to continue benefits to a survivor upon your death.

In addition:


Enroll in PERS 2

  1. Review the benefits of the PERS 2 and PERS 3 plans and decide which is best for you.
  2. Download the PERS Enrollment/Member Information Form.
  3. Print, sign, and send your enrollment form to: UW Benefits Office, Box 359556
  4. You can verify that your form has been received by checking your enrollment status in ESS approximately three to five business days after sending to the address above.
  5. You should keep your beneficiary designation up to date by contacting the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS).

Remember: Newly-PERS eligible employees must make the choice between PERS 2 and PERS 3 within their first 90 days. If you take no action, after 90 days, state law requires that employees be permanently moved into PERS 3 with a 5% contribution rate. This cannot be changed at any time during your employment at UW.

Leaving the University Before Retirement

You can leave your contributions in your PERS 2 account; or you can withdraw or transfer your employee contributions plus interest only if you completely separate from PERS employment. Withdrawals are managed by the Department of Retirement Systems. Contact them directly for more information.

Your choices are:

If you withdraw your contributions before retirement, you lose your right to future retirement benefits. You can restore your contributions and re-establish your benefits under certain circumstances. Explore the PERS website for more information.

Retiring from the UW

See Retiring From the UW Under PERS 2 Rules.


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