Rules Change July 1 for Hiring Retirees in Certain School Positions

May 2023
A scroll with writing on it and quill pen next to text which reads return to work changes.

New legislation reduces the break-in-service requirements from 12 months to six months for retirees returning to work full-time in certain positions while continuing to draw their monthly retirement benefits. Those jobs include critical shortage education positions and school security officers.

Critical Shortage Changes

The Virginia Department of Education designates critical shortage positions for public schools every year. Eligible retirees can return to work full-time as teachers, bus drivers or other administrative/instruction personnel.

Legislators this year added a new specialized student support critical shortage position, which includes school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, such as speech-language pathologists, as determined by the Department of Education.

One big change: Employers must report critical shortage employees to VRS and submit employer contributions for these positions. In the coming months, the VRS Employer Relations team will provide additional information about enrolling and reporting critical shortage positions and retiree school security officers.

Other Return-to-Work Rules Still Apply

Remember, for K-12 critical shortage positions, a retiree must also:

  • Be retired from a VRS-covered position. Members of the State Police Officers’ Retirement System, the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System and the Judicial Retirement System are not eligible.
  • Not have retired with a reduced VRS benefit under an early retirement incentive program (ERIP).
  • Not have retired under the Transitional Benefits Program or the Workforce Transition Act with an enhanced monthly VRS benefit.
  • Not be on VRS disability retirement.
  • Not have a prearranged commitment, either verbal or written, with the school division before the employee’s retirement date.

The new critical shortage provisions will remain in effect until July 1, 2028, as the state continues looking for ways to address a shortage of teachers and other school personnel.

VRS Will Study More Options for Hiring Retirees

Related legislation also requires VRS to study options that would allow retired instructional or administrative employees, specialized student support position employees, school bus drivers or school security officers with at least 25 years of service to return to work earlier than six months after retirement while continuing to receive a retirement benefit.

Additionally, VRS and the Department of Criminal Justice services are required to review and analyze options for allowing law enforcement officers to return to work full-time after retirement while continuing to receive retirement benefits.

Get a Recap of the 2023 General Assembly Session

Read the full 2023 Legislative Summary for details other legislation impacting VRS benefits, including a $250 million allocation to reduce unfunded liabilities in the state pension and OPEB plans.