Public employees fall into one of two categories:
- Those who are required to join the System; and
- Those who may join if they wish.
Membership is mandatory in ERS for full-time, permanent 12-month positions, and in PFRS for all full-time and part-time police officers and paid firefighters.
Prior to July 27, 1976, membership was mandatory for:
- Jobs with competitive classification. The date of membership is the date of permanent appointment.
- Jobs with non-competitive classification. The date of membership is the date of hire.
From July 27, 1976, to the present, membership is mandatory for:
- Full-time, permanent 12-month positions. The date of membership is the date of full-time, permanent appointment.
- Employees eligible to join PFRS.
There were required minimum earnings for mandatory membership for Tiers 1 and 2. Prior to April 1, 1967, the member had to earn at least $1,000; on or after April 1, 1967, the member had to earn at least $1,500.
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.