For those members who participate in VTO, your service credit
will not be affected by VTO. However, because VTO will reduce
your salary, it would reduce your Final Average Compensation
(FAC) if you participate in VTO during the time period used to
calculate your FAC — In which case your benefit will be
Your contributions are structured as a percentage of your
bi-weekly earnings (also called your “contribution rate”), and
are collected through automatic payroll deductions.
In addition to these rates, certain members pay additional
contributions in the form of a “cost share” and a “COLA share.”
The cost share is a contribution which helps offset the plan
costs. The COLA share helps fund future cost of living
adjustments to your retirement benefits.
Your pay stub will reflect all of the contributions you are
making to SamCERA.
Your contributions are held in trust by SamCERA. A separate
account is created in your name and all the contributions that
you make (and any employer pick-ups of your contributions) are
deposited in this account.
Interest is credited to your account on June 30th and December
31st of each year at a rate determined by the Board of
The Board of Retirement invests the money in the retirement fund
in accordance with its Investment Policy that sets forth the
diversification of the investments. The Board works with
professional pension fund investment management firms to carry
out the investment functions and manage the assets.
SamCERA’s assets are generally invested in things like stocks,
bonds, private equities and private real assets.
Your service retirement benefit is based on your total years of
service credit, benefit factor, age at retirement, and final
compensation. Although service credit is normally
determined by your number of hours worked, in certain
circumstances members may purchase service credit for service
that would otherwise be uncredited.
There are certain restrictions for post-retirement employment with a SamCERA employer. If you are considering returning to work in any capacity (permanent position, extra help, or as a contractor), please read the Guide to Your SamCERA Benefits.