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State of California Retired Annuitants

Working after Retirement

We already know that one of the best reasons to work for the State of California is the retirement benefits. But what happens if you retire and decide you want to work more? Maybe you want extra money to save for a vacation. Or maybe you just get bored being at home all day. If you do decide to go back to work, you have a few options.

You can go work for a private company and work and make as much money as you want without it affecting your retirement benefits. You can also work for public agencies in California that aren’t covered by CalPERS. A lot of cities, counties and school districts that, although not state employment, participate in CalPERS. It is not possible to work full-time for the State of California or for a CalPERS participating agency unless you reinstate from retirement. Reinstating from CalPERS retirement will affect your retirement benefits.

Another option is to return to State employment as a Retired Annuitant (RA). RAs are limited to working 960 hours per year. That translates to, roughly, less than half time work. So, if you were to work full-time (40 hours per week) you would exhaust your allowable number of hours after 24 weeks. At half-time (20 hours per week), you would be able to work for 48 weeks, or about 11 months. RAs work “as needed” and are considered "at-will." There is no minimum number of hours they must work.

Positions as a Retired Annuitant with the State of California can end at any time. If the department no longer needs your services, they can end your employment at any time without any notice. In times of budget cuts or layoffs state rules dictate that Retired Annuitants are the first to be let go.

Retired Annuitant Salary

Retired Annuitants become hourly employees as far as paydays and time-keeping are concerned. The State will determine the hourly rate an RA is paid by taking their monthly salary and dividing it by 173.333. This hourly rate is then multiplied by the number of hours worked during a pay period.

The salary RAs earn is dependent on the department hiring them. Their salary cannot be more or less than the current salary range of the specific classification. Where exactly in the range the salary will fall is negotiable. Ultimately, it is at the discretion of the department what to offer, as long as it falls within the normal salary range.

Working as a Retired Annuitant won’t affect CalPERS pension payments. You will continue to receive the payments you're currently receiving and there will be no change to your health benefits. Working as a Retired Annuitant won't affect any Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) you're entitled to, either. RAs will receive a check from the agency/department they work for, and CalPERS will continue to send checks as normal.

Retired Annuitants don’t accrue more service credit and don’t pay into CalPERS. This means that working as an RA won’t increase their monthly pension. Annuitants, however, are eligible to contribute to the State's 401(k) and/or 457(b) plans, providing them an option for tax-deferred savings.

Also, RAs don’t earn sick, vacation or leave credits. There is no paid time off when working for the State after retirement., including paid public holidays. If RAs don’t work, they don’t get paid.

The deductions RAs will see in their pay checks are minimal. They will see deductions for state and federal income. They will not see deductions for health care or retirement benefits. Health care premiums will continue to be deducted from their CalPERS pay checks. RAs may have to continue to pay into Social Security if they are not already collecting benefits. The individual department will be able to tell you for sure if you're required to.

Eligibility for RA Positions

Retired Annuitants are eligible to return to any classification they have worked and obtained permanent status in. They are also eligible to return to lower classifications then they've previously worked. A person that retired as a Staff Services Manager I (SSM I) would be eligible to return to the Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA) classification, for example. The AGPA classification a step lower than SSM I.

It’s also possible to be appointed to a classification that is closely related to one that you have previously worked. The individual department you are applying to makes the determination if the classification is “closely-related,” but generally the scope of the work, responsibility and salary are the biggest factors they use to determine similarity.

State Employees must have a break in service of at least 6-months before they are eligible to return as Retired Annuitants. After this time has passed, employees are eligible to return in RA roles.

Additionally, Retired Annuitants cannot have collected unemployment benefits within the last 12 months. If you have collected unemployment payments, you will not be eligible to return until it has been at least 12 months since your last payment.

How to Find Jobs

All departments with the State of California are able to employ Retired Annuitants. The majority of agencies/departments use the Boomerang portal to do their recruiting. Boomerang is an up-to-date database of current opportunities and is one of the most important sites to know for State of California employee. Like CalCareers, job postings are updated daily.

Registering and creating an account on this site will display what you have to offer to prospective employers as well as give you the ability to search for potential opportunities. Some departments also advertise for RA vacancies on CalCareers.

The hiring process is similar (although simpler) than being hired into the State for the first time. Candidates already have eligibility, so it's not necessary for them to take an exam. Candidates still have to submit an application (STD 678) and complete pre-employment clearances, though.

The clearances you may need to complete vary by position and department. They could include a physical, criminal record background check, employment verification or reference checks. Certification that you have not received unemployment insurance payments during the last year is an across-the-board requirement with the State of California RA positions.

How to Apply

Register and login to your Boomerang account to look for jobs there. They'll walk you through the application process.

In CalCareers, click on Advanced Job Search and in the Keyword field search for Retired Annuitant.

If you are interested in a position or department that isn’t listed on one of these sites, feel free to contact individual agencies and ask if they have any Retired Annuitant opportunities.


  1. Retired Annuitants are generally paid 10 days after the end of the pay period.
  2. Calculations for hours worked are based on California’s fiscal year (July 1-June 30) rather than the calendar year. RAs are limited to 960 hours a year which re-set at the beginning of July.
  3. Retired Annuitants can work for any department, not just their last or previous departments. They are also eligible to work for multiple departments concurrently as long as the combined hours between the departments does not exceed 960 per year.
  4. As an RA, it is not possible to take exams or enter into any new classifications not previously worked.
  5. Not all departments use Boomerang. If you are interested in working for a department that chooses not to use the Boomerang platform, you can contact them directly about possible RA opportunities.
  6. Even though you're retired, the income you make will affect your taxes. You should check with an account to see how working after retirement might affect your yearly tax bill.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. You said:

    "If RAs return to the classification they retired from, they will make the salary they made at the time they retired."

    this is incorrect as California Government Code Section 7522.56 and 21221(h) reads, "The rate of pay for the employment shall not be less than the minimum, nor exceed the maximum, paid by the employer to other employees performing comparable duties, divided by 173.333 to equal an hourly rate."

    Additionally, the “CalPERS: Employment After Retirement” publication reads the same.


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