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Post Retirement Employment: 

Can I work? How much can I earn? Who can I work for?

Rhode Island law limits when, how much and for whom retirees from the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island can work. There are also certain reporting requirements that employers and retirees must follow. It is important to understand and follow the rules because if you don’t your pension payments may be suspended.

Below is ERSRI's Post Retirement Employment overview and Post Retirement Employment Frequently Asked Questions.

If you're still wondering how the post retirement employment statutes affect you, please contact ERSRI by e-mail at our Contact Us page.

Note: Effective October 1, 2016, retirees must take a break of 45 calendar days in service prior to beginning post retirement employment.


 

Post Retirement Employment Frequently Asked Questions

The post retirement employment rules apply to public sector jobs with employers that participate in the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island. If you want to work for a private company, a private non-profit, or a public sector employer from another state you may do so without restrictions.

However, if you were a teacher and want to work as a substitute in your school district, a nurse at a state facility, a retiree who would like to work as a consultant, or state or municipal employee looking to work part time for a city or town that participates in MERS please keep reading to learn what the rules are and how to follow them.

When can I go back to work?
  • Effective October 1, 2016, retirees must take a break of 45 calendar days prior to beginning post retirement employment.
Can I work for the State of Rhode Island?
  • If you are retired from ERSRI, you may not work for the state unless you suspend your pension. This includes consulting work for the state through a private company or non-profit.
Can I Work for a City or Town?
  • Retired state and municipal workers may be employed by a MERS participating municipality for up to 75 working days or 150 half days per calendar year.
  • If you exceed 75 working days or 150 half days, your pension will be suspended. (For teachers, a "half day" is defined as working up to 3 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 3 hours. For non-teachers, a "half day" is defined as working up to 4 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 4 hours.)
  • You may work without restrictions for any municipality that does not participate in MERS.
Can I Work for a State School, College or University?
  • If you are a retiree, you can work as a classroom instructor, an academic advisor or a coach at any state college, university or state school.
  • You may not earn more than $18,000 gross income in any calendar year without suspending your pension.
For Teachers and "Non-Certified" Employees Working in a School, How is the "School Year" Defined?
  • August 25th is the beginning of the school year and working days are counted through August 24th of the next year.
Can I Work as a Nurse in a State Facility?
  • Retired nurses can provide per-diem nursing care and/or services at a state facility, or be employed as a faculty member at a state college or university.
  • You may be employed for up to 75 working days or 150 half days per calendar year. (For nurses, a "half day" is defined as working up to 3 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 3 hours.)
Can I Work for a Rhode Island Public School?
  • Retired teachers may substitute teach, or fill vacant positions including – but not limited to – teacher, administrators, guidance counselors, coaches or tutors.
  • If you are a retired teacher, you may not work more than 90 days or 180 half days in any one school year (including summer months) without suspending your pension. (A "half day" is defined as working up to 3 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 3 hours.)
Will I Earn Additional Service Credit or Make Contributions into the Pension System?
  • No. You will not earn additional service credit or make additional contributions into the pension once you retire and begin collecting a pension.
What are Employer and Employee Reporting Requirements? 
  • Employers are required to report dollars earned or days worked (depending on the employer type) to ERSRI on a monthly basis via the employer feed.
  • Retirees are required to validate that their employer has reported their dollars earned or days worked by reviewing this information in the Pension Profile tool of their online account. Retirees can log into their online accounts here.
  • Retirees are responsible for resolving any discrepancies in reported post-retirement earnings or days with their employer directly.
  • Rhode Island public schools that employ retirees are also required to send an annual “good faith” letter stating that the district has made a good faith effort to fill any vacant position with a person who is not retired. This letter must be sent to the school district’s union as well.  
What about consulting?
  • Consulting can be a little complicated. We strongly advise that before accepting a consulting opportunity you contact ERSRI at our Contact Us page with questions about your individual situation.
  • Generally speaking, the post retirement rules for state agencies and municipalities apply to you if you are providing consulting services to the state, a public school, or a MERS municipality. In other words, retirees are not allowed to work for the state and as a general rule, they are not allowed to work as consultants to the state. If you were providing consulting services to a Rhode Island public school, or a MERS municipalities you would have the same day count restrictions and reporting requirements as a retiree working directly for the school district or municipality.
Where does it say all this?
  • Post retirement employment is governed by R.I General Laws (RIGL 36-10-36, 45-21-54 and for teachers, RIGL 16-16-24. (You can learn more about these laws at www.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/.)   
Still have questions?

If you still have questions about how the post retirement employment rules apply to your specific situation, please contact ERSRI by e-mail at our Contact Us page. You may also contact the ERSRI Customer Service Center at (401) 462-7600. ERSRI representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.