What is Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is a feature that recognizes the mobility of the work force. Establishing reciprocity allows you to move from one California public service agency to another, under certain conditions, without jeopardizing your earned retirement service credit. In fact, some members have both incoming and outgoing reciprocity because they continue to move from one public employer to another, linking all the systems together.

Choosing to Participate

Reciprocity is not automatic. It is only established when you actively make an election to do so. Be sure to notify both your old and new systems when you change employment.


Benefits of Reciprocity

  • Both systems will consider your combined service credit for the purposes of vesting and eligibility for retirement.

  • Your age of entry into retirement in the subsequent system will be the age of entry into the first system. This lower age could result in a lower contribution rate in the later system.

  • Your date of membership in the first system will be used by the reciprocal systems to determine your plan membership in the reciprocal system.

  • At retirement, each system will provide you with a benefit based on the service credit in that system, the system’s own benefit formula, and your highest salary from either retirement system.


Eligibility Requirements for Reciprocity


  • The other system must be a California public service agency that is:
    • a county with a retirement system established under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937
    • a CalPERS member agency
    • another California public retirement system having reciprocity with CalPERS, excluding University of California systems.
    • California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
  • You must leave active membership in one system and enter active membership in the next system within six months.

  • There can be no overlapping time. In other words, the termination date from the first system must pre-date the start date in the following system.

  • You cannot take a refund from any reciprocal system.

  • You must retire from all reciprocal systems on the same date.

  • Currently members of the University of California retirement system who leave service and become members of Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association (MercedCERA) are not eligible to establish reciprocity with MercedCERA

Choosing to Participate

Remember, reciprocity is not automatic. You must contact both systems, old and new, to elect to have reciprocity established. If reciprocity is established, you must retire from the reciprocal systems on the same day.