Governor Parson signed LAGERS Public Safety Bill into law on July 10 meaning that many employers will soon have the option to cover EMS personnel, emergency telecommunicators, and jailors as Public Safety personnel with an age 55 normal retirement age.The language, which was passed during the 2019 legislative session, will provide another tool for employers to tailor a retirement benefit package to attract and retain the best and brightest first responders into public service in Missouri. While Police and Fire employees already have a normal retirement age of 55 in LAGERS, many other first responders and public safety officers – often those working right alongside their police and fire comrades -have historically been covered as General employees with a normal retirement age of 60. As several LAGERS members testified before state lawmakers during session - this will be a valuable option to provide further flexibility at the local level to help ensure all our hardworking working public safety employees can someday retire with dignity.
The option, which will go into effect on August 28, will be available for election to employers in or with service areas with any third class county in Missouri. (Check here to see which class county you are in.) As with all other benefit elections in the system, the election to cover employees as public safety personnel must be approved by the employer’s governing body, and the employer must first receive an actuarial cost analyst (supplemental valuation) of the benefit change, which is subject to a 45 day public disclosure period. Once elected, it is a permanent designation for all eligible public safety personnel at that employer.
LAGERS staff is completing the programming changes necessary to administer the new option and will be sharing more information with employers once the law goes into effect at the end of August.