You may want to go back to work after you retire. Learn more about eligibility, reporting requirements and other restrictions or exceptions on this page.
In most cases, if you are retired and work for any federal agency, a municipality that is not in the MERS system, or a private company, and you are not doing work for the State of Rhode Island or a participating municipality or public school, you may do this without limitations or any reporting requirements.
If you would like to work for a municipality that participates in MERS or a public school after retiring, there are some restrictions set in Rhode Island law. If you exceed the post retirement limit on employment, your pension payments will be suspended. A termination notice will be required from your employer before benefits are reinstated.
Employment with the State of Rhode Island is prohibited unless you suspend your pension benefit. This includes employment at any of the state colleges and universities.
Retirees of the system may only return to public service in Rhode Island in specific roles without suspending their pension – no other state post-retirement employment is permitted. Refer to the chart below and review the Post Retirement Employment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.
|You have retired and want to work for…||Will pension be suspended?||45 day break in service required?||Gross Income Limit||Day Count Limit||Reporting requirements||Other requirements or exceptions|
|State of Rhode Island||Yes, until employment ends||N/A||N/A||N/A||Retiree must notify ERSRI in writing before starting position|
|Rhode Island State College, University, or School||No, if below Income Limit||Yes||$18,000 per calendar year||None||Reported by the Employer via the ERSRI Employer Portal||Must be in a position providing classroom instruction, academic advising of students, or coaching ONLY.
Gross Income Limit is $15,000 for Drivers Education teachers.
|Rhode Island State Nursing Facility||No, if below Day Count Limit||Yes||None||75 full days, 150 half days per calendar year.||Reported by the Employer via the ERSRI Employer Portal||Includes teaching in a nursing program at a State college or university|
|MERS City or Town||No, if below Income Limit||Yes||None||75 full days, 150 half days per calendar year.||Reported by the Employer via the ERSRI Employer Portal||If working in a MERS position in the public schools, days are counted per school year.|
|Rhode Island Public School||No||Yes||None||90 full days, 180 half days per calendar year.||Reported by the Employer via the ERSRI Employer Portal. School districts must also send ERSRI an annual “good faith” letter for any vacant position|
|Non-MERS City or Town||No||No||None||None||None||None|
|Private Company or NonProfit (excludes consulting to the State of RI, MERS cities or towns, and RI public schools)||No||No||None||None||For non-profit positions funded by state funds, retiree must notify ERSRI in writing before starting position||For non-profit positions funded by state funds, benefit will be suspended.|
|Out of state public sector work (such as MA or CT)||No||None||None||None||None|
There are some other requirements for post-retirement employment. Retirees cannot mix and match employment types in a calendar year. For example, retirees cannot substitute 90 days in a public school under the 90-day limit rule and teach a course at CCRI under the $18,000 limit – only one of the several employment possibilities listed above is allowed per calendar year.
Additionally, retirees cannot do work as a consultant, a corporation, or as an employee hired by another party in a role in which you cannot work as an individual. For example, if you are retired and working as a consultant for a public school district, you are still limited to working 90 full days per year and reporting this information to ERSRI (see “Reporting Requirements” below), just as if you were employed directly by the school district. In addition, a good faith letter must be submitted by your employer. Any consultant positions or work for a private company that places you in state employment is also prohibited if you are retired, unless you suspend your retirement benefit
To work after retirement, there must be a clear separation from service and the return to service cannot be pre-arranged. Any employment or re-employment may begin no earlier than 45 calendar days after retirement. No additional pension credits can be earned and no additional contributions are made to your defined benefit plan or defined contribution plan – by you or by your employer.
It is strongly advised that you contact ERSRI in writing to receive clarification regarding post-retirement employment before you begin working. To have a position reviewed for compliance with the restrictions below, a retiree must submit a description of the position (provided by the employer) to ERSRI and request a written determination prior to accepting the position.
If you, as a retiree, return to work in public service in any of the capacities outlined here, both you and your employer must notify ERSRI monthly of your employment. You should confirm your number of days worked or dollars earned each month with your employer. Your employer will then report your employment information to the retirement system via the employer portal.
A violation of these rules may result in a suspension of your pension benefit for the duration of the violation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The post retirement employment rules apply to public sector jobs with employers that participate in the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island and Municipal Employees’ Retirement System. If you want to work for a private company, a private non-profit where no state funds or grants are used to fund the position, or a public sector employer from another state you may do so without restrictions.
However, if you were a teacher and want to work as a substitute in your school district, a nurse at a state facility, a retiree who would like to work as a consultant, or state or municipal employee looking to work part time for a city or town that participates in MERS please keep reading to learn what the rules are and how to follow them.
Effective October 1, 2016, retirees must take a break of 45 calendar days from the date of retirement prior to beginning post retirement employment.
If you are retired from ERSRI, you may not work for the state unless you suspend your pension. This includes consulting work for the state through a private company or non-profit.
Retired state and municipal workers may be employed by a MERS participating municipality for up to 75 working days or 150 half days per calendar year. For non-teaching positions in a public school we use a school year.
If you exceed 75 working days or 150 half days, your pension will be suspended. (For non-teachers a "half day" is defined as working up to 4 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 4 hours.)
You may work without restrictions for any municipality that does not participate in MERS.
If you are a retiree, you can work as a classroom instructor, an academic advisor or a coach at any state college, university, or state school. You cannot work in any other position such as clerical, supervisor, aide, etc.
You may not earn more than $18,000 gross income in any calendar year without suspending your pension, or $15,000 for Drivers Education instructors.
August 25th is the beginning of the school year and working days are counted through August 24th of the next year.
For teachers a half day is up to 3 hours of work. Anything over 3 hours is considered a full day.
For non-teachers a half day is up to 4 hours of work. Anything over 4 hours is considered a full day.
Retired nurses can provide per-diem nursing care and/or services at a state facility, or be employed as a faculty member teaching in a nursing program at a state college or university.
You may be employed for up to 75 working days or 150 half days per calendar year. (For nurses, a "half day" is defined as working up to 4 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 4 hours.)
Any retiree may substitute teach or fill vacant positions including – but not limited to – teacher, administrators, guidance counselors, coaches, or tutors.
You may not work more than 90 days or 180 half days in any one school year (including summer months) without suspending your pension. (A "half day" is defined as working up to 3 hours. A "full day" is defined as working more than 3 hours.)
Charter schools and Mayoral academies are public schools.
No. You will not earn additional service credit or make additional contributions into the pension once you retire and begin collecting a pension.
Employers are required to report dollars earned or days worked (depending on the employer type) to ERSRI on a monthly basis via the employer feed.
Retirees are required to validate that their employer has reported their dollars earned or days worked by logging into the ERSRI Member Portal and reviewing this information in the Pension Profile tool.
Retirees are responsible for resolving any discrepancies in reported post-retirement earnings or days with their employer directly.
Rhode Island public schools that employ retirees are also required to send an annual “good faith” letter stating that the district has made a good faith effort to fill any vacant position with a person who is not retired. This letter must also be sent to the school district’s union.
Consulting can be a little complicated. We strongly advise that before accepting a consulting opportunity you contact ERSRI at our Contact Us page with questions about your individual situation.
Generally speaking, the post retirement rules for state agencies and municipalities apply to you if you are providing consulting services to the state, a public school, or a MERS municipality. In other words, retirees are not allowed to work for the state and as a general rule, they are not allowed to work as consultants to the state. If you wereproviding consulting services to a Rhode Island public school, or a MERS municipality you would have the same day count restrictions and reporting requirements as a retiree working directly for the school district or municipality.
Post retirement employment is governed by R.I General Laws (RIGL 36-10-36, 45-21- 54 and for teachers, RIGL 16-16-24. Click the link below to learn more about these laws.