Membership and Enrollment

Optional Membership

Prior to July 27, 1976, membership was optional for jobs with:

  • Exempt or labor classification; or
  • Competitive classification where the member is appointed temporarily or provisionally.

From July 27, 1976, to the present, membership is optional for:

  • Temporary or provisional positions (under Civil Service Law);
  • Employment of less than 30 hours per week, or less than the standard number of hours for full-time employment as established by the employer for this position;
  • Duration of employment for less than one year, or employment of less than a 12-month per year basis; or
  • Annual compensation less than the state’s minimum hourly wage — $11.10 as of December 31, 2018 — multiplied by 2,000 hours.

Optional membership does not begin until the member is enrolled. The date of membership for optional members is the date the employer enrolls the member through Retirement Online or through the fax enrollment process.

All employees of the State or of a participating employer, who are not mandatory members of NYSLRS, have the right to join NYSLRS. The employer must advise these individuals of this right at the time of hire. The privilege of membership cannot be withheld by an employer.

Section 45 (RSSL), effective 1986, imposes requirements on employers hiring people whose NYSLRS membership is optional. Employers must, at the time of hiring, notify new employees in writing of the right to membership in the ERS.

The law also requires that each employee acknowledge having been given such notice by signing an acknowledgment and filing it with the employer. Here is a sample Section 45 document that you may use. Employers must keep these documents on file.


Note: Optional members are not required to join NYSLRS. However, if they do join, they can only end their membership by leaving public employment, and only if they have less than ten years of service credit.


Rev. 10/19