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Enrolling in Retirement Plans
Enrolling in a retirement plan is a condition of employment for regular faculty and staff, including exempt and nonexempt employees, who work a minimum of 500 hours per year. Contractual contingent category I and II employees, graduate assistants, residents and post-doctoral fellows are not eligible.
Regular Nonexempt Employees
Nonexempt employees must enroll in the pension plan, which is managed by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS – the pension plan).
Regular Faculty and Exempt Staff Employees
Faculty and exempt staff employees have a choice between the pension plan and the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). The pension plan is a defined benefit plan that requires contributions from the employer and the employee, and provides a benefit when the employee is eligible to retire. The ORP is a defined contribution 403(b) plan in which the employer contributes a percentage of the employee’s base salary into an account where the employee decides how the money is invested. Faculty and exempt staff employees must select a mandatory retirement plan on the first day on payroll or they will be defaulted into the pension plan.
Regular faculty and exempt staff employees who enroll in the pension plan have one year from the date of ORP eligibility to transfer into the ORP. HRS Benefits periodically hosts brown bag lunch-n-learn sessions on “Changing from the Pension to the ORP” to provide employees with the opportunity to learn more about their plan decision and the impact of that decision. Once enrolled in the ORP, employees cannot enroll or re-enroll in the pension plan. The pension plan balance will automatically become vested upon enrolling in the ORP. Changing retirement plans may impact an employee's entitlement to a future retiree health care subsidy. Generally, creditable service between the two plans can only be combined for purpose of calculating the ORP retiree health care subsidy if the total creditable service equals twenty five years or more. The Department of Budget and Management reviews each ORP retiree's creditable service.
Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Information
- Pension Plan Handbook
- LEOPS Plan Handbook
- Welcome to the Employees’ and Teachers’ Pension System - Hired on or after 7/1/2011
- Welcome to LEOPS
- MSRPS active member newsletter- The Mentor
- Guide to Disability Retirement
- Guide to Military Service
Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) Information
- Optional Retirement Program
- Optional Retirement Program Handbook for Retiree Health Benefits - Hired on or after 7/1/2011
- Optional Retirement Program Handbook for Retiree Health Benefits - Hired before or on 6/30/2011
- ORP Vendor Performance Report
Several retirement forms require a notarized signature in order to be processed. The Benefits Office provides a notary service for this purpose. Notary services are not available for personal transactions.
Notary services provided are in accordance with the Notary Public, Handbook of Maryland, which requires the following procedures be observed in performing a notary act:
- The person(s) making the acknowledgement must personally appear before the notary public.
- The person(s) whose name appears on the deed/form, must provide satisfactory proof that they are the person(s) whose name appears on the deed/form.
Employees are responsible for getting their retirement forms notarized. They may use the Benefits Office notary service or utilize an outside source.