FAQ for Part Time Educators about New York State Retirement Systems
1. As a part time educator at RCC can I join the retirement systems that are available?
Yes. Full‐time employees must enroll in a retirement system as part of their employment benefits. It is optional for part‐time educators to enroll, but you are eligible.
Several NYS and NYC retirement systems exist. To see which is best for you, please review the following and then contact RCC Human Resources, Rockland County Department of Personnel, NYS Retirement System(s), and/or NYC Retirement System(s) for further information. Please note that these retirements systems are separate from and different than Deferred Compensation Plans.
Faculty and some other job titles may enroll in TRS. Human Resources will be able to tell you if you qualify for TRS.
2. Why would I want to enroll?
LRSTRS is a “defined benefit” system, in other words, the retirement payout (pension) is defined by the plan. Tier 6 members (membership date on of after 4/1/2012 vest after 10 years of full‐time equivalent service.
This pension amount is calculated based on your tier, the number of service years you worked, age at retirement, and a set percentage of your final average salary.
Pensions are a rare thing in today’s employment world, so should be seriously
In addition there are other financial benefits for members. The LRS/TRS brochures are very informative. You can find this and other information through Human Resource at RCC and also directly at:
3. Do I have to contribute my own money into the system?
As a Tier 6 member, yes, you are required to contribute 3% to 6% of your salary. The percentage is based on your annual earnings. These contributions are made as “pre‐ tax” payroll deductions.
4. If I join now and am in Tier 6, I need to have 10 years of full-time service to vest and earn any pension. I only work part-time so don’t know if I’ll ever reach that amount. Why bother?
This question is the primary reason that the RCC Adjunct Faculty Association (RCC AFA) has created this FAQ.
While RCC AFA is certainly not giving out personal financial retirement advice, we wanted you to know that some previous part-time RCC Adjunct Faculty Association members have retired and are collecting a pension.
Since a start date and years of service are the key, it is beneficial to join a retirement system as early as possible. Those years of service are retained, even if you leave
RCC’s employment. Some members may leave RCC, and then work at another NYS
employer so those year(s) while employed by RCC add on to years with the new employer. It’s possible to be employed at multiple NYS/local government/NYC employers simultaneously. Also, it’s not uncommon for an educator to move between part‐time and full‐time roles within NYS/local government/NYC over the course of their career.
After being a part of the retirement system for 2 years, you can also buy back time worked prior to joining. This can help you reach the 10 years to vest.
If you don’t end up vesting then it’s possible to withdraw from the retirement system and have your contributions refunded.
The website(s) have details.
5. How are days of service calculated for part-time faculty, academic advisors, coordinators, and administrators?
Based on credit hours worked for example if you work credit hours the equivalent of years is based on 30 credit hour per year equal 1 full year of service. Full year is 200 service days.
For example if you work only 15 credits in a year you would accumulate 1/2 year of service 15/30 = 0.50 times 200= 100 service days
If you work regular hours the standard work day based on 6 hours per day. For instance 25 regular hours would be equivalent to 4.66 service days
Days of service are converted into months of credit as follows:
Days Per Year Credit Days Per Year Credit
Under 20 days = None 90-109 = 5 months
20-29 = 1 month 110-129 = 6 months
30-49 = 2 months 130-149 = 7 months
50-69 = 3 months 150-169 = 8 months
70-89 = 4 months 170+ = 9 months
9 months = 1 year
If you plan to retire before the end of the school year, be aware your service for that final school year is limited to what is actually possible based on your date of retirement.
6. What is TIAA-CREF?
Anyone can join a 403B Plan through TIAA-CREF since this is a voluntary plan with only employee contributions. You have a choice of providers.
7. What’s the take‐away?
Joining early is ideal as overall membership years is a key component but it still may be worthwhile to you even now. You will contribute a percent of your paycheck, so that means less money each paycheck; however, the money is not lost as it can be refunded if you don’t end up vesting. Joining is a decision to make with all the facts.
There are several ways to get more information:
Human Resources at RCC has all the information on TRS and has encouraged part‐time educators to consider joining
The LRS/TRS web site have extensive publications
RCC adjunct faculty have commented they found LRS/TRS representatives to be very helpful when speaking to them in person or by phone
RCCAFA is not a financial advisor and cannot provide financial advice to any member. Note that and definition any change after this FAQ is prepared. Contact your personal financial advisor, LRS/TRS and/or RCC Human Resources/Rockland County Department of Personnel for further information about these programs.
Brucker Hall, Room 6206
Natalie Scott, Human Resources Director
Madeline Ward, Associate Director of Benefits
Rockland County Department of Personnel
50 Sanatorium Road, Bldg A, Pomona