What is the Cobb County Government Employee’s Pension Plan?
The County maintains a single-employer, contributory, defined benefit pension plan. The authority for the Plan, benefits, vesting and contributions is established by the Board of Commissioners.
When was the Cobb County Government Employee’s Pension Plan created?
The original plan was established January 1, 1971. Over the years, there have been numerous amendments to the Plan approved by the Board of Commissioners. The current enhanced plan, which provided a “Rule of 80”, was adopted April 1, 1998.
Who oversees the Plan?
The Board of Commissioners appoints a five member Board of Trustees to manage the assets of the Plan. The Board of Trustees also provides an annual report to the BOC and County Manager based on the annual actuarial report and advises them accordingly.
The Board of Trustees uses both equity and fixed investment money managers and monitors their performance. Changes are made as they become appropriate.
What are the requirements to join the Plan?
All full-time employees who were employed on April 1, 1998, when the plan was enhanced, were given the opportunity to choose to either:
Remain in the prior, non-contributory plan, or
Join the enhanced, contributory plan
All full-time employees employed after April 1, 1998 and before January 1, 2010 were automatically enrolled in the enhanced contributory Plan.
Note: Certain full-time employees who are covered under a State pension plan are not eligible to participate in the Cobb County Plan.
Do employees make a contribution to the Plan?
Yes. An employee's pre-tax contribution is a percentage of the employee's gross pay. Employee contributions will increase over a 13 year period from 5% in 2009 to 8.75% in 2023.
Does the County make a contribution to the Plan?
Yes. The County's contribution is a percentage of the employee's gross pay. County contributions will increase from 11.25% in 2009 to 13.5% in 2015.
When is an employee vested in the Plan?
Employees hired or rehired prior to January 1, 2009 are vested with seven (7) years of full-time service.
Employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 will become vested after ten (10) years of full-time service.
What happens to the employee’s contribution if they leave the County before vesting?
If an employee leaves the County before they are vested, they will not lose their contribution. Instead, their contribution will be returned to them along with an approved amount of annually compounded interest. The employee may have these funds paid directly to them or choose a direct rollover into an approved Individual Retirement Account.
How is the annual retirement benefit calculated in the Enhanced Plan?
The annual retirement benefit calculation formula uses the Final Average Earnings (defined as the average of the highest five (5) consecutive years, within the ten (10) years prior to the employee’s termination of employment) times a multiplier of 2.5% times the number of years and months of credited service.
Note: Prior service which has been restored to the employee may be calculated at a different percentage rate.
Example: Final Average Earnings = $45,000 X 2.5% = $1,125 X 30 years of service = $33,750 Annual Benefit.
Is overtime pay used in determining Final Average Earnings?
Yes. Overtime pay, if any, is included in an employee’s Final Average Earnings. Employee contributions to the Plan are calculated on regular pay and overtime pay.
Does military service count toward the “Rule of 80”?
Yes. Although military service prior to employment is not considered “credited service” in the Enhanced Plan, and is not used in the retirement benefit calculation formula; it does count as service to the County and is used in calculating the “Rule of 80” date.