welcome to the arkansas public employees retirement system
Joining the Arkansas Public Employee Retirement System (APERS) is a significant step for any organization. To help employers decide if it is the right choice for them, APERS has put together the following overview of the system. Click on any of the headlines below for more information on its topic.
APERS was created in 1957 by Act 177 of the 61st General Assembly of Arkansas (§ 24-4-103 et seq.). Its original purpose was to provide retirement benefits for state employees. Through the years, the system has been expanded to allow other types of public employers, including county and municipal agencies and boards, state colleges and universities, public schools (for non-teaching employees), and other governmental entities to join the system and offer their employees its many advantages. The system currently has more than 750 participating public employers.
APERS offers a "defined benefit plan," using contribution options qualified under U.S. Internal Revenue Code § 401(a). The plan provides retirement and disability benefits to members and death benefits to survivors. Member benefits are determined by a formula that considers a members’ compensation and service credit. At retirement, vested members begin receiving a lifetime monthly annuity.
The overall organization and policies of APERS are governed by laws enacted by the General Assembly; however, the law authorizes a nine-member Board of Trustees (board) to make decisions on matters not specifically covered by retirement law. The board meets quarterly to review and discuss issues, and they employ an Executive Director (director) for the daily administration of the system.
APERS' organizational structure comprises the following sections: Administrative Services, Executive Offices, Human Resources, Information Services, Information Systems, Investments, Member Records, Member Services, and Retiree Services.
Employers and employees share the cost of funding retirement benefits. Each pay period, both contribute a percentage of the employees' eligible earnings to the system.
Employer Cost: Each year actuaries value the system and recommend an employer contribution rate to the board, which then reviews the recommended rate for approval. The employer contribution rate effective July 1, 2012 is 14.24%; the rate effective July 1, 2013 will be 14.88%.
Employee Cost: Act 2084 of 2005 required all employees first hired on or after July 1, 2005 to participate under contributory provisions and contribute 5% of their pre-tax earnings to the system. Employee contributions are withheld before federal and state income taxes are calculated but after Social Security and Medicare taxes are calculated.
Most public entities are eligible to join APERS. Arkansas Code § 24-4-101 specifies the criteria for membership, and our Eligibility page lists those permitted by statute to become "participating public employers" in the system. If your qualified organization is considering joining APERS, you must first submit an Employer Enrollment Request so we can determine if you meet the criteria.
Member Records Manager