Montana Administrative Register Notice 2-43-449 No. 3   02/10/2011    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 2.43.2105 pertaining to basic period of service








TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On March 25, 2011, the Public Employees' Retirement Board (PER Board) proposes to amend the above-stated rule.


2. The PER Board will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the PER Board no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 11, 2011, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Dena Helman, Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration, 100 North Park Avenue, Suite 200, P.O. Box 200131, Helena, Montana 59620; telephone (406) 444-2578; fax (406) 444-5428; TDD (406) 444-1421; or e-mail dhelman@mt.gov.


3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:


2.43.2105 BASIC PERIOD OF SERVICE  (1) remains the same.

            (2) Except as provided in (3), service Service credit of less than 160 hours in a calendar month constitutes part-time service.

            (3) If the regularly established work schedule of a full-time employee who works at least 2,080 nonovertime hours in a fiscal year results in their employer reporting the employee to the Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration as working less than 160 hours in any month or months during that fiscal year, the employee shall receive one year of service credit.

      (3)(4)  remains the same.


AUTH: 19-2-403, MCA

IMP: 19-2-701, 19-3-904, 19-5-502, 19-6-502, 19-7-503, 19-8-603, 19-9-804, 19-13-704, MCA


REASON: Before implementing its online web-based reporting system, all employers covered by the Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration (MPERA)-administered retirement systems reported their retirement system member employees, their salaries, and their retirement system contributions to MPERA on a monthly basis. Monthly reports generally resulted in all full-time employees being reported as having worked at least 160 hours each month.


With implementation of online web-based reporting, employers are now required to report the same information no later than five working days after each regularly recurring payday. Since many employers pay on a weekly or biweekly basis, this process occasionally results in a full-time employee being reported as having worked less than 160 hours in a month, but then substantially more than 160 hours in an adjacent month. These reporting requirements can result and have resulted in a loss of service credit for certain members. 


Affected members are generally shift-workers such as Montana Air National Guard firefighters, peace officers, or nurses employed by a state institution. The PER Board has received communication from both management and union representatives asking us to solve this problem for these workers. The proposed amendments ensure that full-time members receive a year of service credit for full-time work even if their schedule occasionally results in working less than 160 hours in one month.


The approach reflected in the proposed rule is the fairest and simplest way to address the concerns raised by management and union representatives to the PER Board.


4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to Roxanne M. Minnehan, Executive Director, Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration, 100 North Park Avenue, Suite 200, P.O. Box 200131, Helena, Montana 59620; telephone (406) 444-5459; fax (406) 444-5428; or e-mail rminnehan@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., March 11, 2011.


5. If persons who are directly affected by the proposed amendment wish to express their data, views, or arguments orally or in writing at a public hearing, they must make written request for a hearing and submit this request along with any written comments to Dena Helman at the above address no later than 5:00 p.m., March 11, 2011.


6. If the PER Board receives requests for a public hearing on the proposed action from either 10 percent or 25, whichever is less, of the persons directly affected by the proposed amendment; from the appropriate administrative rule review committee of the Legislature; from a governmental subdivision or agency; or from an association having not less than 25 members who will be directly affected, a hearing will be held at a later date. Notice of the hearing will be published in the Montana Administrative Register.  Ten percent of those directly affected has been determined to be 3,255 persons based on approximately 32,559 defined benefit retirement plan members as of December 2010.


7. The PER Board maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 4 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the board.


8. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register. The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of this notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered. In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.


9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.



/s/ Melanie A. Symons                                 /s/ John Nielsen                               

Melanie A. Symons                                       John Nielsen

Chief Legal Counsel and                             President

Rule Reviewer                                               Public Employees' Retirement Board


/s/ Michael P. Manion                                             

Michael P. Manion, Chief Legal Counsel

and Rule Reviewer

Department of Administration


Certified to the Secretary of State January 31, 2011.



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