Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)
The District has a contract with the Public Employees Retirement System of the State of California (CalPERS). Employees are entitled to all of the benefits the District participates in and shall be subject to all of the obligations required for participation in one of two plans. Enrollment in CalPERS is automatic for all full-time employees and effective immediately upon hire. Part-time employees are eligible after working 1,000 hours in a fiscal year.

Individuals defined as “New Members” by California law (essentially those individuals who have not been previous members of a public agency retirement system) shall be enrolled in the statutorily required 2 percent at 62 PERS Plan. New Members are obligated to pay 50 percent of the “normal cost” of their retirement benefits as required by state law. This plan shall provide benefits based on the highest three-year salary average.

Individuals defined as “New Employees” by California law (essentially those individuals who have been previous members of a public agency retirement system) shall be enrolled in the 2 percent at 55 PERS Plan. New employees are obligated to pay 85 percent of the Employee contribution (for example, at the 7 percent Employee contribution rate, the Employee shall be required to pay 5.95 percent of salary). The 2 percent at 55 Plan provides benefits based on the highest three-year salary average.

Deferred Compensation 457(b)
Employees may participate in a Deferred Compensation Program (457(b) Plan) to save toward retirement and, at the same time, reduce their bi-weekly taxable income. John Hancock Retirement Plan Services is Western’s current 457(b) Plan provider. In addition, Western contracts with McGladrey Wealth Management Services to provide objective financial advice and sound investment strategies to meet employee’s future financial retirement plans.

401(a) Retirement Plan
Western contributes into a 401(a) Retirement Plan for those employees covered under the COU. Contributions, in the amount of 2 percent of your base pay, are made on a bi-weekly basis. You are 100 percent vested in this benefit upon date of hire.

Retiree Medical
Upon retirement from the District, employees who are at least 55 with at least 10 years of service to the District, shall receive a medical benefit the same or equivalent to that offered to active employees for up to the cost of the lowest cost group medical plan for employee only coverage, not to include high deductible medical plans for purposes of this calculation. The retired employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner may participate in coverage at the expense of the retired employee. The spouse/domestic partner benefit shall continue for the latter of the life of either the retired employee or the dependent.

Social Security and Medicare
Social Security and Medicare are programs set up by the U.S. federal government that provides retirement income, disability income, other financial benefits and health insurance to those who qualify. These programs are funded by taxes on your income. As an employee of Western, you pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Western pays the same Social Security and Medicare tax, dollar for dollar, on your behalf.