Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS)
Full and part-time staff is enrolled in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) upon hire. Each pay period, employees contribute 10% of their wages into their OPERS account and Southern State contributes another 14%. Newly hired full-time employees may choose an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) within 120 days of their first day of paid service. This election is irrevocable and applies to all employment with the current employer.
OPERS offer three retirement plan options for eligible staff who elect participation in OPERS. The options include:
- 1. Traditional Pension Plan — The Traditional Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan under which a member’s retirement benefit is based on a formula. The formula is determined by years of contributing service and the average of the 3 highest years of earnable salary (or "final average salary").
- OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of employee and employer contributions to ensure that funds are available to pay the formula benefit.
- 2. Member-Directed Plan — The Member-Directed Plan is a defined contribution plan under which employee and a portion of employer contributions are deposited into a member’s individual OPERS account. The member directs the investment by selecting from the professionally managed OPERS investment options.
- The retirement benefit is based on member and employer contributions and the gains and losses on those contributions.
- A portion of employer contributions is credited to an individual Retiree Medical Account (RMA) to pay for qualified health care expenses.
- 3. Combined Plan — The Combined Plan is a retirement plan with both a defined benefit and a defined contribution component. Under the defined benefit portion of the Combined Plan, the member’s retirement benefit is determined by a reduced formula (similar to the Traditional Pension Plan).
- OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of employer contributions to ensure that funds are available to pay the reduced formula benefit.
- Under the defined contribution portion of the Combined Plan, employee contributions are deposited into the member’s individual account and invested as directed by the member according to their selection from the nine OPERS Investment Options.
- The member’s retirement benefit under this portion of the Combined Plan is based on member contributions and the gains and losses on those contributions.
For staff who elect to participate in OPERS, the deadline to select from among the three plan options listed above is 180 days from the first day of paid service.
Note: Eligible members will have three opportunities to change their retirement plan based on the following guidelines:
- Prior to attaining five years of total service credit
- Once after attaining five years, but no more than 10 years of total service credit
- Once at any point after attaining 10 years of total service credit
For more information on changing your retirement plan, contact OPERS at 1.800.222.PERS (7377) or visit opers.org.