MercedCERA is funded by investment earnings, employee (member) contributions and employer contributions. Together, these funding sources enable MercedCERA to offer its members lifetime retirement benefits.

Employee Contributions

Although employee contributions have no impact on the calculation of your monthly retirement benefit, they are an essential element of the retirement system. They are also critical to your membership—as long as your retirement contributions are on deposit, you remain a member of MercedCERA.

Contributions are deducted from your biweekly pay on a pre-tax basis* and credited to your retirement account. Your exact contribution amount in a pay period will depend on your assigned contribution rate, as determined by MercedCERA’s actuary, and your total pensionable pay (base salary plus qualifying pay items). This pay is referred to as “compensation earnable” for Legacy members and “pensionable compensation” for PEPRA members.

Biweekly deductions will continue throughout employment for most members. However, safety members who reach 30 years of continuous service will no longer contribute to MercedCERA. Interest is credited to the individual accounts of all members semiannually on June 30th and December 31st.

Members may not withdraw their retirement contributions as active members or while reciprocity is in effect. Additionally, contributions cannot be loaned to members or withdrawn for financial hardship. By withdrawing contributions after terminating employment, a member severs membership and forfeits all claims to MercedCERA benefits.

Employer Contributions

Employer contributions are also made to MercedCERA each pay period to help grow MercedCERA’s investment portfolio and pay retirement benefits. These contributions are based on a percentage of payroll, as determined by MercedCERA’s actuary, but they are not assigned to individual member accounts.

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Member Contribution Rates

Fiscal Year 2024/2025

The Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association (MercedCERA) Board of Retirement approved new employee contribution rates for the fiscal year 2024-2025. Employee contribution rates are a percentage of your salary that you contribute into the retirement system.  These rates are based on your age, earliest start date into a public retirement system, benefit tier and other economic and demographic assumptions (e.g. projected benefit costs and investment earnings). Each year, these rates are reviewed and updated by MercedCERA’s actuary.  New rates will be effective Pay Period 14 (June 17, 2024), with a pay date of July 5, 2024. It is very likely that you will see a change in your net payment.