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NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Final Average Salary for Police & Fire Members

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Your final average salary (FAS) is an important factor in the calculation of your retirement benefit. For Tier 1, 2, 3 and 5 members, it is the average of the wages you earned during any three consecutive years of service when your earnings were highest. For Tier 6 members, it is the average of your highest five consecutive years of earnings. This is usually your years of employment immediately before retirement. When you retire, we will calculate your FAS using the appropriate calculation method for your membership tier.

If your employer has elected to provide the optional benefit of a one-year FAS, we will calculate an FAS using this method as well. We will compare the two final average salaries and use the one that provides you with the greater benefit. In most instances, this will be the one-year FAS.

This publication answers the most frequently asked questions about final average salary calculations.

Three-year FAS

A three-year FAS is the average of your earnings during your three highest, consecutive years of credited service (subject to limitations based on your date on membership). It usually represents the 36 months of employment immediately preceding your retirement, but we will use an earlier 36-consecutive-month period if your earnings were higher during that time.

Salary Limitations for Tier 1 Members

If your date of membership is June 17, 1971 or later, the wages in any 12-month period used in your three-year FAS calculation cannot exceed the earnings in any preceding 12-month period by more than 20 percent.

Example:

Actual Earnings Limit Earnings Allowed
*In this example, the earnings used to calculate the FAS in year 3 are less than the actual earnings because the actual earnings exceed the 20 percent limit.
Year 1: $110,000 $95,000 × 1.2 = $114,000 $110,000
Year 2: $95,000 $82,000 × 1.2 = $98,400 $95,000
Year 3: $82,000 $65,000 × 1.2 = $78,000 $78,000*
Year 4: $65,000
$283,000 ÷ 3 = $94,333 FAS

If your date of membership is before June 17, 1971, there are no earnings limitations from one year to the next.

Salary Limitations for Tier 2 and 5 Members and Tier 3 Members Covered by Article 11

The earnings used in a three-year FAS for these members cannot exceed the average of the previous two years by more than 20 percent.

Example:

Actual Earnings Limit Earnings Allowed
*In this example, the earnings used to calculate the FAS in years 1, 2 and 3 are less than the actual earnings because the actual earnings exceed the 20 percent limit.
Year 1: $110,000 [($95,000 + $82,000) ÷ 2] × 1.2 = $106,200 $106,200*
Year 2: $95,000 [($82,000 + $65,000) ÷ 2] × 1.2 = $88,200 $88,200*
Year 3: $82,000 [($65,000 + $63,000) ÷ 2] × 1.2 = $76,800 $76,800*
Year 4: $65,000
Year 5: $63,000
$271,200 ÷ 3 = $90,400 FAS

Salary Limitations for Tier 3 Members Covered by Article 14

The earnings used in a three-year FAS for Tier 3 members covered by Article 14 cannot exceed the average of the previous two years by more than 10 percent.

Example:

Actual Earnings Limit Earnings Allowed
*In this example, the earnings used to calculate the FAS in years 1, 2 and 3 are less than the actual earnings because the actual earnings exceed the 10 percent limit.
Year 1: $110,000 [($95,000 + $82,000) ÷ 2] × 1.1 = $97,350 $97,350*
Year 2: $95,000 [($82,000 + $65,000) ÷ 2] × 1.1 = $80,850 $80,850*
Year 3: $82,000 [($65,000 + $63,000) ÷ 2] × 1.1 = $70,400 $70,400*
Year 4: $65,000
Year 5: $63,000
$248,600 ÷ 3 = $82,866 FAS

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Five-year FAS

A five-year FAS, applicable to Tier 6 members, is the average of your earnings during your five highest, consecutive years of credited service (subject to limitations). It usually represents the 60 months of employment immediately preceding your retirement, but we will use an earlier 60-consecutive-month period if your earnings were higher during that time.

Salary Limitations for Tier 6 Members

The earnings used in a five-year FAS for Tier 6 members cannot exceed the average of the previous four years by more than 10 percent.

Example:

Actual Earnings Limit Earnings Allowed
*In this example, the earnings used to calculate the FAS in years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are less than the actual earnings because the actual earnings exceed the 10 percent limit.
Year 1: $110,000 [($95,000 + $82,000 + $65,000 + $63,000) ÷ 4] × 1.1 = $83,875 $83,875*
Year 2: $95,000 [($82,000 + $65,000 + $63,000 + $58,000) ÷ 4] × 1.1 = $73,700 $73,700*
Year 3: $82,000 [($65,000 + $63,000 + $58,000 + $57,000) ÷ 4] × 1.1 = $66,825 $66,825*
Year 4: $65,000 [($63,000 + $58,000 + $57,000 + $50,000) ÷ 4] × 1.1 = $62,700 $62,700*
Year 5: $63,000 [($58,000 + $57,000 + $50,000 + $50,000) ÷ 4] × 1.1 = $59,125 $59,125*
Year 6: $58,000
Year 7: $57,000
Year 8: $50,000
Year 9: $50,000
$346,225 ÷ 5 = $69,245 FAS

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One-year FAS

A one-year FAS is the regular compensation you earned during the 12 months of actual service immediately preceding your retirement date. These earnings may be limited.

Eligibility Requirements

You must be an active member of the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System and, prior to your retirement, your employer must adopt Section 302(9)[d] (for Tier 1 members) or Section 443[f] (for Tier 2 and 5 members and Tier 3 members covered by Article 11) of the Retirement and Social Security Law. Tier 3 members covered by Article 14 and most Tier 6 members are not eligible for a one-year FAS.

Salary Limitations

Current year earnings (the 12 months immediately preceding your retirement date) used in the calculation of the one-year FAS cannot exceed the earnings in the previous year of employment by more than 20 percent.

Example:

Actual Earnings Limit Earnings Allowed
*In this example, the earnings used in the FAS are less than the actual earnings because the actual earnings exceed the 20 percent limit.
Year 1: $115,000 $95,000 × 1.2 = $114,000 $114,000*
Year 2: $95,000
$114,000 FAS

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General FAS Questions

What types of compensation can be included in an FAS calculation?

The calculation of an FAS can include, but is not limited to, the following types of payments earned during the FAS period:

  • Regular salary;
  • Overtime;
  • Holiday pay;
  • Noncompensatory overtime; and
  • Longevity payment (maximum of one per FAS year).

If you are a Tier 1 member with a date of membership prior to April 1, 1972, or a Tier 3 (Article 14) member, we can include a lump sum payment for up to 30 days vacation in the calculation of your three-year FAS. This lump sum payment is added to your last 12 months of earnings. We cannot include lump sum vacation payments in the calculation of a one-year FAS.

If you are a Tier 5 or 6 member, the total amount of overtime and noncompensatory overtime that can be included in your FAS calculation is limited to 15 percent of your salary.

What types of compensation cannot be included in an FAS calculation?

The following payments are not considered regular compensation and, in most cases, cannot be included in an FAS calculation:

  • Payments for unused sick leave;*
  • Clothing allowance;
  • Any form of termination pay;
  • Payments made in anticipation of retirement;
  • Retroactive payments earned outside of the time period used in the FAS calculation;
  • Payments made as a result of working during your vacation;
  • Payments for unused vacation.**
  • Any payments made for time not worked; and
  • For Tier 6 members, earned compensation which exceeds the Governor’s annual salary (currently $179,000) as well as salary paid by more than two participating employers.

* Except for New York State Police.

** Up to 30 vacation days may be used in a three-year FAS calculation if your date of membership is before April 1, 1972 or if you are a Tier 3 (Article 14) member.

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More Information

Helpful Links

More information on Final Average Salary (FAS)

Your Retirement Benefits book (ZO1829)

Plan booklets for Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) members

Partial Lump Sum Payments:

Certain Police and Fire Retirement System members may receive a partial lump sum distribution of their retirement benefit in exchange for a reduced continuing lifetime monthly benefit (Chapter 735, Laws of 2006).

Contact Us

If you have any questions, contact our Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990 or 1-518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area, email us, fax us at 1-518-402-4433, or write to us at: New York State and Local Retirement System, 110 State Street, Albany, NY 12244-0001.

You can also make an appointment to meet with an Information Representative at any of our locations throughout the State. A list of our consultation sites is available from your employer, on our website or from our Call Center. Please contact our Call Center to schedule an appointment.

VO1879 (Rev. 3/13) © 2013, New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System

This publication is a general summary of membership benefits, rights and responsibilities, and is not a substitute for any New York State or federal law. For specific information about your benefits, please contact us.

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