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Retirement Manual - Membership and Service Credit

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Hon Holli Vining

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Membership - (See R.S. 11:1511)

The clerk of the supreme court, each of the courts of appeal, each of the district courts, and each of the city and traffic courts in cities having a population in excess of four hundred thousand, and the employees of such clerks, whether full-time or part-time, and the employees of the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association, the Louisiana Clerks' of Court Retirement and Relief Fund, and the Louisiana Clerks of Court Insurance Fund, are required to become members of the system during service as such.

(PLEASE NOTE:  There is no waiting period or any other kind of delay between the date of employment and enrollment of membership in the retirement system.  All “employees” (see definition of “employee”) must be enrolled as members of the retirement fund on and as of the date they are employed by a participating employer.)

Each employee shall complete an “Application for Membership Form” at the time of employment. Changes to the information contained on that form (changes in the member's address, designated beneficiary, name, marital status, etc.) shall be submitted to the system in writing on a “Member’s Request for Change Form” that includes the member’s signature in order to become effective.

Policy Guidelines for Definition of “Employee” – (See Board Policy approved December 9, 2010) 

La. R.S. 11:1511 et seq. provides for the membership in Clerks’ of Court Retirement and Relief Fund (“LCCR”). La. R.S. 11:1503(4) defines as “Employee,” entitled to enroll in LCCR, the following:

“Employee” means any regular employee of a clerk, minute clerk, and employees of the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association, the Louisiana Clerks’ of Court Retirement and Relief Fund, and the Louisiana Clerks of Court Insurance Fund, who works more than an average of twenty hours per week. Any court reporter employed by either Orleans Parish or East Baton Rouge Parish who was enrolled in the fund on or before July 1, 2001, shall be allowed to remain in the fund as a member or active member of the fund and to become eligible to receive retirement benefits as required by law.

There has been some confusion and inconsistency between the various courthouses as to which employees are validly Clerk of Court employees and should be enrolled in LCCR. This document outlines the policy established by LCCR to define the “regular employee of a clerk” in order to determine who should be properly enrolled in LCCR, in order to have a consistent policy. It will continue to be the policy of LCCR that the employer certify that the list of employees for whom contributions are being made on a periodic basis fits these guidelines for LCCR.

Judicial District Court System

For all employees working at the judicial district court there has been little confusion in the past few years as to the definition of employee as found at LA R.S. 11:1503(4) and all employees regularly employed by the Judicial District Clerk should be included.

Court of Appeal

There has been inconsistency among the circuits as to the classification of employee, i.e. whether someone is an employee of the clerk’s office, and thereby in LCCR, or an employee of the judges, therefore a member of LASERS. It is the policy of LCCR, as of January 1, 2011, that employees of the judges are not considered to be employees of the clerk and that these employees are the following:

  1. Judge’s personal secretary
  2. Judge’s personal law clerk
  3. Everyone in Central Staff

It is the policy of LCCR, as of January 1, 2011, that everyone else employed at the court of appeal is a clerk’s employee, and therefore a member of LCCR, including, but not necessarily limited to:

  1. All personnel working directly in the clerk’s office
  2. All IT staff
  3. All security staff
  4. All couriers

In order to avoid confusion in the future, any and all additional positions established at a court of appeal that do not fit in a category named above will generally be in LCCR when that position serves the Clerk of Court or serves both the Clerk of Court and the judges. If any new position is established which serves just a judge, that position should not be included in LCCR.

Supreme Court

Beginning January 1, 2011, the following personnel at the Supreme Court should be considered employees of the Judiciary and therefore not employees of the Clerk:

  1. Judge’s personal secretary
  2. Judge’s personal law clerk
  3. Everyone in Central Staff
  4. Judicial administrator and all employees under him/her

It is the position of LCCR as of January 1, 2011 that all remaining personnel at the Supreme Court should be enrolled in LCCR unless there is a position that services solely the judges. If a position services the clerk’s office or services both the clerk’s office and the judge’s office, that person should be enrolled in LCCR.

Effect on Current Enrollment

LCCR is cognizant of the fact that not every employee has been enrolled properly based on the policy definition stated above. In all instances of which LCCR is aware, the confusion has been between enrollment in LCCR and in LASERS. Both LCCR and LASERS have confirmed the below policy for employees enrolled in either system as of December 31, 2010:

  1. An employee currently enrolled in its system may continue to be enrolled in that system regardless of whether the above scheme would dictate a different system.
  2. If an employee desires to transfer into LCCR or LASERS as dictated by the formula above, that employee shall be allowed to do so under the same terms and conditions by which he or she could move from employment in one system to employment in another as per LA R.S. 11:143 et seq.
  3. The employee may elect to maintain the membership service credit in the system in which he or she is currently enrolled, and simply apply by new application to join the system in which the above definition would require enrollment.

Termination of Membership – (See R. S. 11:1512)

Membership in the system ceases when a member resigns, is dismissed, retires, or is otherwise separated from service as a clerk or employee.

Reemployment of a Retiree – (See R. S. 11:1513)

If a retiree is reemployed in any capacity for more than sixty working days, or the equivalent thereof, during any calendar year, the benefits payable to the retiree must be reduced by the amount earned after sixty working days, or the equivalent thereof. There is an exception for some retirees who were receiving retirement benefits from the system on January 1, 2007.  This exception expires July 1, 2012.  The exception allows retirees to be temporarily reemployed by a clerk whose office is located in a parish designated under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act as eligible for individual assistance, or individual assistance and public assistance following Hurricane Katrina or Rita.  If such retiree is reemployed by such a clerk in any capacity for more than one hundred eighty working days, or the equivalent thereof, during any calendar year, the benefits payable to the retiree will be reduced by the amount earned after one hundred eighty working days, or the equivalent thereof.  In either case, a retiree cannot be or become a member of the system during reemployment.  

The retiree and the clerk shall immediately notify the board of the date of reemployment, the amount of salary paid, any changes in salary, the number of hours employed per week, the estimated duration of reemployment, and the date of the termination of the reemployment.  If the retiree dies during reemployment, benefits will be paid to the retiree’s beneficiary based on any option which may have been selected by the retiree at the time of retirement.

Service Credit – (See R. S. 11:1514)

A member will receive credit for all service as a member of the system, provided that the required contributions have been paid to the fund and not withdrawn.

Dual Employment – (See R. S. 11:191)

A person who is employed in more than one position of public employment and who, by reason of such dual employment, is eligible to be a member of more than one public retirement system, shall be a contributing member of each retirement system or fund during the terms of such employment.  In no event may such person be allowed to earn more than one year of service credit in any one year.  Credit in more than one system for the same period of time may not be transferred or reciprocally recognized to attain more than one year of credit in any one system for any one year.

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