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Return to Work Bills Advance

Several items of legislation that seek to incentivize return to work by certain public employees are advancing through the General Assembly. They primarily incentivize retirees in law enforcement or specialized school division positions by reducing the length of the Virginia Retirement System’s required break in service. These bills are intended to help reduce the ongoing shortage of employees in these positions.

HB 1630 (Coyner) would reduce from 12 to 6 the number of months for the required break in service before a retiree can return to work full time as a critical shortage teacher, bus driver or other instructional or administrative employee, or as School Security Officers (SSO) and continue to receive their pension under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). The bill also adds specialized student support positions (i.e., school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions) to the list of employees that may return to work, also with a six-month break in service. The employer of such individuals shall include their compensation in membership payroll for purposes of the employer contribution to VRS. The bill also extends the current sunset date to July 1, 2028, for all classes of employees. HB 1630 passed the House unanimously on a vote of 100-0 and has been referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. Three similar bills – SB 1479 (Lucas), SB 1289 (Deeds), and SB 1107 (Cosgrove) – were conformed to the language of HB 1630 and passed the House Appropriations committee unanimously on a vote of 21-0.

A separate bill, SB 1411 (Norment), which originally would have allowed a retired law-enforcement officer to return to work full time as a law-enforcement officer and continue to receive a pension under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) was substituted by the House Appropriations Committee to become a Section One bill on a unanimous vote of 21-0. The bill now directs the Virginia Retirement System and the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, to review and analyze options for allowing law-enforcement officers to return to work as law-enforcement officers after retirement and to continue to receive their retirement allowance during such employment, among other provisions. These state entities shall then report their findings to the Chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance and Appropriations committees by November 1, 2023.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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