23-2306. Retirement system; members; employees; elected officials; certain contemplated business transactions regarding retirement system participation; procedures; costs; new employee; participation in another governmental plan; how treated; separate employment; effect.

(1) The membership of the retirement system shall be composed of all persons who are or were employed by member counties and who maintain an account balance with the retirement system.

(2) The following employees of member counties are authorized to participate in the retirement system: (a) All permanent full-time employees shall begin participation in the retirement system upon employment and full-time elected officials shall begin participation in the retirement system upon taking office, (b) all permanent part-time employees who have attained the age of eighteen years may exercise the option to begin participation in the retirement system within the first thirty days of employment, and (c) all part-time elected officials may exercise the option to begin participation in the retirement system within thirty days after taking office. An employee who exercises the option to begin participation in the retirement system shall remain in the system until termination or retirement, regardless of any change of status as a permanent or temporary employee.

(3) On and after July 1, 2010, no employee of a member county shall be authorized to participate in the retirement system provided for in the County Employees Retirement Act unless the employee (a) is a United States citizen or (b) is a qualified alien under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., as such act existed on January 1, 2009, and is lawfully present in the United States.

(4)(a) The board may determine that a governmental entity currently participating in the retirement system no longer qualifies, in whole or in part, under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code as a participating employer in a governmental plan.

(b)(i) To aid governmental entities in their business decisionmaking process, any governmental entity currently participating in the retirement system contemplating a business transaction that may result in such entity no longer qualifying, in whole or in part, under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code may notify the board in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, but no later than one hundred eighty days before the transaction is to occur.

(ii) The board when timely notified shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, obtain from its contracted actuary the cost of any actuarial study necessary to determine the potential funding obligation. The board shall notify the entity of such cost.

(iii) If such entity pays the board's contracted actuary pursuant to subdivision (4)(c)(vi) of this section for any actuarial study necessary to determine the potential funding obligation, the board shall, as soon as reasonably practicable following its receipt of the actuarial study, (A) determine whether the entity's contemplated business transaction will cause the entity to no longer qualify under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, (B) determine whether the contemplated business transaction constitutes a plan termination by the entity, (C) determine the potential funding obligation, (D) determine the administrative costs that will be incurred by the board or the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems in connection with the entity's removal from the retirement system, and (E) notify the entity of such determinations.

(iv) Failure to timely notify the board pursuant to subdivision (4)(b)(i) of this section may result in the entity being treated as though the board made a decision pursuant to subdivision (4)(a) of this section.

(c) If the board makes a determination pursuant to subdivision (4)(a) of this section, or if the entity engages in the contemplated business transaction reviewed under subdivision (4)(b) of this section that results in the entity no longer qualifying under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code:

(i) The board shall notify the entity that it no longer qualifies under section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code within ten business days after the determination;

(ii) The affected plan members shall be immediately considered fully vested;

(iii) The affected plan members shall become inactive within ninety days after the board's determination;

(iv) The entity shall pay to the County Employees Retirement Fund an amount equal to any funding obligation;

(v) The entity shall pay to the County Employees Cash Balance Retirement Expense Fund an amount equal to any administrative costs incurred by the board or the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems in connection with the entity's removal from the retirement system; and

(vi) The entity shall pay directly to the board's contracted actuary an amount equal to the cost of any actuarial study necessary to aid the board in determining the amount of such funding obligation, if not previously paid.

(d) For purposes of this subsection:

(i) Business transaction means a merger; consolidation; sale of assets, equipment, or facilities; termination of a division, department, section, or subgroup of the entity; or any other business transaction that results in termination of some or all of the entity's workforce; and

(ii) Funding obligation means the financial liability of the retirement system to provide benefits for the affected plan members incurred by the retirement system due to the entity's business transaction calculated using the methodology and assumptions recommended by the board's contracted actuary and approved by the board. The methodology and assumptions used must be structured in a way that ensures the entity is financially liable for all the costs of the entity's business transaction, and the retirement system is not financially liable for any of the cost of the entity's business transaction.

(e) The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this subsection including, but not limited to, the methods of notifying the board of pending business transactions, the acceptable methods of payment, and the timing of such payment.

(5) Within the first one hundred eighty days of employment, a full-time employee may apply to the board for vesting credit for years of participation in another Nebraska governmental plan, as defined by section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. During the years of participation in the other Nebraska governmental plan, the employee must have been a full-time employee, as defined in the Nebraska governmental plan in which the credit was earned. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the assessment and granting of vesting credit.

(6) Any employee who qualifies for membership in the retirement system pursuant to this section may not be disqualified from membership in the retirement system solely because such employee also maintains separate employment which qualifies the employee for membership in another public retirement system, nor may membership in this retirement system disqualify such an employee from membership in another public retirement system solely by reason of separate employment which qualifies such employee for membership in this retirement system.

(7) A full-time or part-time employee of a city, village, or township who becomes a county employee pursuant to a merger of services shall receive vesting credit for his or her years of participation in a Nebraska governmental plan, as defined by section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, of the city, village, or township.

(8) A full-time or part-time employee of a city, village, fire protection district, or township who becomes a municipal county employee shall receive credit for his or her years of employment with the city, village, fire protection district, or township for purposes of the vesting provisions of this section.

(9) A full-time or part-time employee of the state who becomes a county employee pursuant to transfer of assessment function to a county shall not be deemed to have experienced a termination of employment and shall receive vesting credit for his or her years of participation in the State Employees Retirement System of the State of Nebraska.

(10) Counties shall ensure that employees authorized to participate in the retirement system pursuant to this section shall enroll and make required contributions to the retirement system immediately upon becoming an employee. Information necessary to determine membership in the retirement system shall be provided by the employer.

Source:Laws 1965, c. 94, § 6, p. 405; Laws 1975, LB 32, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 216, § 3; Laws 1985, LB 349, § 1; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 3; Laws 1995, LB 501, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 2; Laws 1997, LB 250, § 5; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 2; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 24; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 2; Laws 2001, LB 142, § 33; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 2; Laws 2002, LB 687, § 5; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 3; Laws 2006, LB 366, § 3; Laws 2008, LB1147, § 1; Laws 2009, LB188, § 1; Laws 2010, LB950, § 1; Laws 2011, LB509, § 4; Laws 2013, LB263, § 3; Laws 2015, LB261, § 3; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 4.
Operative Date: July 19, 2018

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