As used in this chapter:
(A) "Employer" or "public employer" means boards of education, school districts, joint vocational districts, governing authorities of community schools established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code, educational institutions, technical colleges, state, municipal, and community colleges, community college branches, universities, university branches, other educational institutions, or other agencies within the state by which an employee is employed and paid, including any organization using federal funds, provided the federal funds are disbursed by an employer as determined by the above. In all cases of doubt, the school employees retirement board shall determine whether any employer is an employer as defined in this chapter, and its decision shall be final.
(B) "Employee" means all of the following:
(2) Any person who performs a service common to the normal daily operation of an educational unit even though the person is employed and paid by one who has contracted with an employer to perform the service, and the contracting board or educational unit shall be the employer for the purposes of administering the provisions of this chapter;
(3) Any person, not a faculty member, employed in any school or college or other institution wholly controlled and managed, and wholly or partly supported by the state or any political subdivision thereof, the board of trustees, or other managing body of which shall accept the requirements and obligations of this chapter.
In all cases of doubt, the school employees retirement board shall determine whether any person is an employee, as defined in this division, and its decision is final.
(C) "Prior service" means all service rendered prior to September 1, 1937:
(1) As an employee as defined in division (B) of this section;
(2) As an employee in a capacity covered by the public employees retirement system or the state teachers retirement system;
Prior service, for service as an employee in a capacity covered by the public employees retirement system or the state teachers retirement system, shall be granted a member under qualifications identical to the laws and rules applicable to service credit in those systems.
Prior service shall not be granted any member for service rendered in a capacity covered by the public employees retirement system, the state teachers retirement system, and this system in the event the service credit has, in the respective systems, been received, waived by exemption, or forfeited by withdrawal of contributions, except as provided in this chapter.
If a member who has been granted prior service should, subsequent to September 16, 1957, and before retirement, establish three years of contributing service in the public employees retirement system, or one year in the state teachers retirement system, then the prior service granted shall become, at retirement, the liability of the other system, if the prior service or employment was in a capacity that is covered by that system.
The provisions of this division shall not cancel any prior service granted a member by the school employees retirement board prior to August 1, 1959.
(D) "Total service," "total service credit," or "Ohio service credit" means all contributing service of a member of the school employees retirement system, and all prior service, computed as provided in this chapter, and all service established pursuant to sections 3309.31, 3309.311, and 3309.33 of the Revised Code. In addition, "total service" includes any period, not in excess of three years, during which a member was out of service and receiving benefits from the state insurance fund, provided the injury or incapacitation was the direct result of school employment.
(E) "Member" means any employee, except an SERS retirant or other system retirant as defined in section 3309.341 of the Revised Code, who has established membership in the school employees retirement system. "Member" includes a disability benefit recipient.
(F) "Contributor" means any person who has an account in the employees' savings fund. When used in the sections listed in division (B) of section 3309.82 of the Revised Code, "contributor" includes any person participating in a plan established under section 3309.81 of the Revised Code.
(G) "Retirant" means any former member who retired and is receiving a service retirement allowance or commuted service retirement allowance as provided in this chapter.
(H) "Beneficiary" or "beneficiaries" means the estate or a person or persons who, as the result of the death of a contributor or retirant, qualifies for or is receiving some right or benefit under this chapter.
(I) "Interest," as specified in division (E) of section 3309.60 of the Revised Code, means interest at the rates for the respective funds and accounts as the school employees retirement board may determine from time to time, except as follows:
(1) The rate of interest credited on employee contributions at retirement shall be four per cent per annum, compounded annually, to and including June 30, 1955; three per cent per annum, compounded annually, from July 1, 1955, to and including June 30, 1963; three and one-quarter per cent per annum, compounded annually, from July 1, 1963, through June 30, 1966; and thereafter, four per cent per annum compounded annually until a change in the amount is recommended by the system's actuary and approved by the retirement board. Subsequent to June 30, 1959, the retirement board shall discontinue the annual crediting of current interest on a contributor's accumulated contributions. Noncrediting of current interest shall not affect the rate of interest at retirement guaranteed under this division.
(2) In determining the reserve value for purposes of computing the amount of the contributor's annuity, the rate of interest used in the annuity values shall be four per cent per annum through September 30, 1956; three per cent per annum compounded annually from October 1, 1956, through June 30, 1963; three and one-quarter per cent per annum compounded annually from July 1, 1963, through June 30, 1966; and, thereafter, four per cent per annum compounded annually until a change in the amount is recommended by the system's actuary and approved by the retirement board. In the purchase of out-of-state service credit as provided in section 3309.31 of the Revised Code, and in the purchase of an additional annuity, as provided in section 3309.47 of the Revised Code, interest shall be computed and credited to reserves therefor at the rate the school employees retirement board shall fix as regular interest thereon.
(J) "Accumulated contributions" means the sum of all amounts credited to a contributor's account in the employees' savings fund together with any regular interest credited thereon at the rates approved by the retirement board prior to retirement.
(K) "Final average salary" means the sum of the annual compensation for the three highest years of compensation for which contributions were made by the member, divided by three. If the member has a partial year of contributing service in the year in which the member terminates employment and the partial year is at a rate of compensation that is higher than the rate of compensation for any one of the highest three years of annual earnings, the board shall substitute the compensation earned for the partial year for the compensation earned for a similar fractional portion in the lowest of the three high years of annual compensation before dividing by three. If a member has less than three years of contributing membership, the final average salary shall be the total compensation divided by the total number of years, including any fraction of a year, of contributing service.
(L) "Annuity" means payments for life derived from contributions made by a contributor and paid from the annuity and pension reserve fund as provided in this chapter. All annuities shall be paid in twelve equal monthly installments.
(1) "Pension" means annual payments for life derived from appropriations made by an employer and paid from the employers' trust fund or the annuity and pension reserve fund. All pensions shall be paid in twelve equal monthly installments.
(N) "Retirement allowance" means the pension plus the annuity.
(1) "Benefit" means a payment, other than a retirement allowance or the annuity paid under section 3309.344 of the Revised Code, payable from the accumulated contributions of the member or the employer, or both, under this chapter and includes a disability allowance or disability benefit.
(3) "Disability benefit" means a benefit paid as disability retirement under section 3309.40 of the Revised Code, as a disability allowance under section 3309.401 of the Revised Code, or as a disability benefit under section 3309.35 of the Revised Code.
(P) "Annuity reserve" means the present value, computed upon the basis of mortality tables adopted by the school employees retirement board, of all payments to be made on account of any annuity, or benefit in lieu of any annuity, granted to a retirant.
(Q) "Pension reserve" means the present value, computed upon the basis of mortality tables adopted by the school employees retirement board, of all payments to be made on account of any pension, or benefit in lieu of any pension, granted to a retirant or a beneficiary.
(R) "Year" means the year beginning the first day of July and ending with the thirtieth day of June next following.
(S) "Local district pension system" means any school employees' pension fund created in any school district of the state prior to September 1, 1937.
(U) "Fiduciary" means a person who does any of the following:
(1) Exercises any discretionary authority or control with respect to the management of the system, or with respect to the management or disposition of its assets;
(2) Renders investment advice for a fee, direct or indirect, with respect to money or property of the system;
(3) Has any discretionary authority or responsibility in the administration of the system.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this division, "compensation" means all salary, wages, and other earnings paid to a contributor by reason of employment. The salary, wages, and other earnings shall be determined prior to determination of the amount required to be contributed to the employees' savings fund under section 3309.47 of the Revised Code and without regard to whether any of the salary, wages, or other earnings are treated as deferred income for federal income tax purposes.
(2) Compensation does not include any of the following:
(a) Payments for accrued but unused sick leave or personal leave, including payments made under a plan established pursuant to section 124.39 of the Revised Code or any other plan established by the employer;
(c) Payments made for vacation pay covering concurrent periods for which other salary or compensation is also paid or during which benefits are paid under this chapter;
(d) Amounts paid by the employer to provide life insurance, sickness, accident, endowment, health, medical, hospital, dental, or surgical coverage, or other insurance for the contributor or the contributor's family, or amounts paid by the employer to the contributor in lieu of providing the insurance;
(e) Incidental benefits, including lodging, food, laundry, parking, or services furnished by the employer, use of the employer's property or equipment, and reimbursement for job-related expenses authorized by the employer, including moving and travel expenses and expenses related to professional development;
(f) Payments made to or on behalf of a contributor that are in excess of the annual compensation that may be taken into account by the retirement system under division (a)(17) of section 401 of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C.A. 401(a)(17), as amended. For a contributor who first establishes membership before July 1, 1996, the annual compensation that may be taken into account by the retirement system shall be determined under division (d)(3) of section 13212 of the "Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993," Pub. L. No. 103-66, 107 Stat. 472;
(g) Payments made under division (B), (C), or (E) of section 5923.05 of the Revised Code, Section 4 of Substitute Senate Bill No. 3 of the 119th general assembly, Section 3 of Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 164 of the 124th general assembly, or Amended Substitute House Bill No. 405 of the 124th general assembly;
(h) Anything of value received by the contributor that is based on or attributable to retirement or an agreement to retire, except that payments made on or before January 1, 1989, that are based on or attributable to an agreement to retire shall be included in compensation if both of the following apply:
(i) The payments are made in accordance with contract provisions that were in effect prior to January 1, 1986.
(ii) The employer pays the retirement system an amount specified by the retirement board equal to the additional liability from the payments.
(3) The retirement board shall determine by rule whether any form of earnings not enumerated in this division is to be included in compensation, and its decision shall be final.
(W) "Disability benefit recipient" means a member who is receiving a disability benefit.
(X) "Actuary" means an individual who satisfies all of the following requirements:
(1) Is a member of the American academy of actuaries;
(2) Is an associate or fellow of the society of actuaries;
(3) Has a minimum of five years' experience in providing actuarial services to public retirement plans.
Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 42, §1, eff. 3/23/2015.
Effective Date: 12-13-2001; 2007 HB119 09-29-2007