On August 16, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-12-21 to provide additional flexibility to hire retired K-12 teachers, community college faculty, and classified staff during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

For teachers and college faculty specifically, the executive order streamlines the CalSTRS exemption process to allow eligible retired CalSTRS members to return to work within 180 calendar days of their retirement.

Retirees receiving a defined benefit pension from CalSTRS are subject to a 180-calendar day separation-from-service requirement, during which time they may not receive compensation for any CalSTRS-covered activities (Education Code Section 24214.5) without a reduction in their benefit. An exemption exists for critically needed positions, if certain criteria are met and, under normal circumstances, if the appointment is approved by the governing board.

Executive Order N-12-21 maintains the 180-calendar day separation-from-service rule but suspends the requirement for governing board approval. The retiree must still meet all other post-retirement requirements outlined in Education Code Section 24214.5 including:

  • Meet the normal retirement age (age 60 for 2% at 60 members and age 62 for 2% at 62 members);
  • Have not received a retirement incentive;
  • Fill a critically needed position; and
  • Not backfill the job from which they retired.

Additionally, to obtain exemption status, CalSTRS will need all documentation from your employer prior to commencing work. Within 30 days, CalSTRS will notify you and your employer whether the exemption will apply or not.

Executive Order N-12-21 did not amend the annual post-retirement earnings limit for CalSTRS — it remains in place at $48,428 for fiscal year 2021–22.

  • If you have further questions, it is recommended that you reach out to CalSTRS at 800-228-5453.

For classified employee retirees, the executive order simply repeals the current restriction on retirees returning to service within 180 days of retirement.

  • If you have any questions, call the CalPERS Customer Contact Center at 888-225-7377 (888-Cal-PERS).