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PERA 101


 

Reporting salary and data about your employees can be complex. PERA is here to help. This resource kit is designed to help you meet your responsibilities as an employer representative.

 

Still have questions?
Contact us
by email or call our Employer Line at 651-296-3636 or toll free at 1-888-892-7372.

 

Our mailing address is: 60 Empire Drive, Suite 200 St. Paul, MN 55103-2088.

Faxes to Employer Services should be sent to 651-296-2493.

What is PERA?

PERA is a public pension fund that serves over 450,000 current and former public employees from over 3,500 local units of government throughout the state of Minnesota.

PERA’s three Defined Benefit Plans (DBP) are tax-qualified plans under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and provide lifetime retirement benefits to vested members.  In addition, PERA offers a Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) which is an option for certain types of positions.

 

Resources:

About PERA Chapter 1 About PERA

What is My Role as an Employer?

From the first day an employee is enrolled, through the date they leave public service and apply for benefits, the information you provide to PERA helps our members plan for and achieve a secure financial future.

This flow of information is most effective when you keep PERA up-to-date on all contact data for your agency, including changes in contacts, email or mailing address, or phone number.

Our most frequently used online resources are listed below.  You are also welcome to contact us by email, or call our Employer Line at 651-296-3636 or toll free at 1-888-892-7372.

 

Resources:

Employer Section Online Services Employer Manual Members Benefits, Chapter 8
Education Fact Sheets Forms
Publications PERAphrase newsletter Webinars

 

 

 

 

Employer Reporting and Information System (ERIS)

Most employers complete their PERA reporting tasks with our secure Internet-based tool called the Employer Reporting and Information System (ERIS).  This online service is provided at no cost to your agency and allows you to:

  • Enroll new members and update members’ employment or personal data
  • Send salary and contribution data by paid date (Salary Deduction Report or SDR)
  • Maintain accurate information about your PERA contacts and business address
  • Complete various reports that PERA generates to collect or validate certain member data

 

To get started with ERIS, review the resources below.  Both new and experienced ERIS users are encouraged to review ERIS Help section which offers detailed information on many ERIS topics.

Resources:

Online Services

Eligibility

With some exceptions, PERA membership under a DBP is required for public employees who are projected to have annual earnings in excess of:

$5,100 – Year-round employment (12 months/year)

$3,800 – School-year employment (9/10-month/year)

On January 1, 2015, these annual thresholds replaced the longstanding monthly threshold of $425.

Certain individuals can voluntarily participate in the DCP.  You are required to inform them of the membership options available and obtain their written authorization for PERA withholding.

Resources:

Employer Manual Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Eligibility for Membership
Fact Sheets Options for Elected Officials Forms: Membership Eligibility Checklist

Salary Deduction Report (SDR)

Public employers are responsible for withholding pension deductions from the eligible salary paid to public employees whose coverage in a PERA retirement plan is mandatory, or when PERA membership is voluntary and the person chooses the coverage. For all members, contributions should be withheld from gross pay prior to any other taxes or benefit withholdings.

As a participating employer, you are to remit full payment covering the employee deductions and the employer contributions due for each pay period along with a SDR containing detailed salary and contribution data. Both the payment and SDR must be received by PERA within 14 calendar days after the pay date to avoid interest or a late penalty.

Resources:

Employer Manual Chapter 5; Eligible Earnings Chapter 7; Contribution Reporting Electronic Funds Transfer

Enroll New Members and Provide Status Changes

The member enrollment process is one of the most important pension administration responsibilities you perform. PERA creates a member account using the enrollment information that you provide.

To keep the records of members current, report any change in employment status during the pay period in which it occurs for the covered employee. Timely reporting facilitates PERA’s ability to provide information to the member about obtaining credit for work time missed while on leave or applying for a refund or monthly benefit.

Resources:

Reporting Requirements: Enrollment Employer Manual Chapter 6;  Maintain Member and Employment Records  Forms  Plans

Excluded Workers

Certain classes of employees are excluded from joining a PERA Defined Benefit Plan (DBP).

For example, temporary/seasonal employees are excluded if that is their sole position with an employer and the employment is for a predetermined period of 6 months/185 consecutive days or less.

By Minnesota Statute, all employers who have employees who are excluded from or have opted out of DBP membership are required to submit an annual report to PERA.

Resources:

Employer Manual Chapter 3; Defined Benefit Plans Reporting Requirements: Exclusion Reporting Exclusion Codes

Member Benefits and Services

To learn about the role you play in helping your covered employees secure PERA benefits upon their termination of public service, permanent disability, or death see Chapter 8 of the Employer Manual. It also includes, links to related forms, and information about the educational programs we make available to members.

Please encourage your covered employees to use the MY PERA web tool. Active DBP members can see a list of the deductions posted to their account, along with a current account balance; get retirement estimates at different retirement ages; change their contact information, and register for a PERA workshop or conference.

Resources:

Employer Manual Chapter 8; Member Benefits Video: Getting Started with MY PERA