§ 31.33  CREDITED SERVICE; BREAK IN SERVICE.
   (A)   Credited service.
      (1)   A member shall receive credited service for each year and completed months of service (a fraction of a month in excess of 15 days shall count as a full month) from the date he/she became an eligible employee to his/her date of termination, death or retirement, provided that such employment was continuous. Employment is continuous if service is not interrupted by a termination of employment or a non-paid approved leave of absence in excess of 90 days. Except as provided in division (E) of this § 31.33, in no event may a member receive credited service for any period longer than 90 days during which he/she was required to make member contributions and failed to do so.
      (2)   The accrual of credited service shall be limited to a maximum of 35 years for members who were first employed by the town on or after July 1, 1978. For members hired before July 1, 1978, the maximum retirement pension may exceed 35 years of credited service, provided however, that the member retires prior to June 30, 2008. A member with more than 35 years of credited service as of June 30, 2008 who continues to work shall not accrue additional years of credited service on and after such date.
      (3)   The credited service of a member who has been employed by the town as both a service employee and a guardian employee shall be considered separate and distinct periods of credited service for benefit accrual purposes, but shall be combined for vesting purposes.
      (4)   Guardian employees first employed after January 1, 1989 shall be credited with past service employee service, if applicable, but shall receive guardian employee credited service equal to one year of guardian employee credited service for each two years of service employee credited service, prorated proportionately as appropriate.
   (B)   Military service purchase prior to employment with the town.
      (1)   A member shall be allowed to purchase credited service for active military duty prior to employment with the town. A member may purchase a minimum of six months, up to a maximum of four years. A member must provide documentation of military service in the form of a D.D.214, and must have been honorably discharged.
      (2)   The cost to purchase such military service shall be calculated as follows:
         (a)   For members hired prior to April 1, 1992, the cost to purchase military service shall be equal to 5% of the compensation of the member on the effective date of employment, multiplied by the number of years and/or months in active military duty as specified on the member's D.D.214, plus 5% interest compounded annually from initial date of employment through March 31, 1992.
         (b)   For members hired on or after April 1, 1992, the cost to purchase military service shall be equal to 5% of the compensation of the member on the effective date of employment, multiplied by the number of years and/or months in active military duty as specified on the member's D.D.214, plus 5% interest compounded annually from initial date of employment through the date the member elects to purchase such service and begins repayment.
      (3)   Any new employee shall have a period of 36 months from the date of hire to buy back said military time, and can pay by voluntary payroll deduction on a post-tax basis, in an approved equal payment plan, or other arrangement agreed to by the Retirement Board.
   (C)   Non-work periods credited. Except as provided in this division (C), a member shall not receive credited service for periods of absence from employment with the town in excess of 90 days.
      (1)   Military service. The plan shall grant credited service and years of vesting service in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) for a member who was an eligible employee immediately prior to the commencement of military service as defined in USERRA, provided such member returns to employment with the town within the required period of time set forth in divisions (2)(a)l. through 4., below. Credited service shall only be granted if the member fulfills the requirements of division (C)(3). Effective January 1, 2007, if a member dies while performing qualified military service (as defined in Section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code), the member's beneficiaries are entitled to any additional benefits (other than benefit accruals related to the period of qualified military service) provided under the plan had the member resumed and then terminated employment with the town on account of death. Effective for plan years commencing after December 31, 2008, "compensation" for purposes of determining benefits and/or member contributions shall include "differential wage payments" as that term is defined in Section 414(u)(12) of the Internal Revenue Code that a member receives from the town while on active duty and performing services for the U.S. uniformed services.
      (2)   (a)   Under USERRA, the required period depends on the length of military service. In general, the required period is:
            1.   One day after a member's military service ends (if such service was less than 31 days);
            2.   Fourteen days after a member's military service ends (if such service was more than 30, but less than 181 days); and
            3.   Ninety days after a member's military service ends (if such service was more than 180 days).
            4.   If a member is hospitalized for or recovering from an illness or injury which was incurred or aggravated during military service, USERRA requires that such member register for re-employment with the town as soon as he/she has recovered. Except as otherwise provided by USERRA, this recovery period cannot exceed two years.
         (b)   A member who enters the Armed Forces of the United States for a period of not more than five years (consecutive or individual years), is separated from active duty under conditions other than a dishonorable discharge, and returns to or is available for work within the period specified in division (2)(a)l. through 4. above shall be granted not to exceed one year of credited service or years of vesting service in any one calendar year, up to a maximum of five years of credited service or years of vesting service, for such active duty in the Armed Forces.
      (3)   A member returning from military service who meets the requirements of division (C)(1) and (2) shall have the right to make up his/her member contributions and thereby receive credited service equal to his/her period of military service, to a maximum of five years of credited service. Such member must notify the Retirement Board upon re-employment of his/her desire to repay his/her member contributions. Such contributions shall be made either in a lump sum payment or on a pre-tax basis over a period equal to the lesser of three times his/her military service or five years. The amount of member contributions owed to the plan shall be equal to a percentage of the member's earnings (determined in accordance with the member's contribution rate in effect at the time the member entered military service) for the preceding 12-month period prior to his/her military service, multiplied by the number of years and months of military service, to a maximum of five years; plus compounded interest at the rate of 5% annually.
      (4)   To the extent required by USERRA, a member must inform the town in writing before entering military service in order to be eligible for years of vesting service as described above.
   (D)   Break in service.
      (1)   If a member has a break in service before attaining vested status, it has the effect of canceling the member's standing under this plan; that is, the forfeiture of his/her participation, his/her previously accrued years of vesting service and years of credited service. However, a break in service may be temporary, subject to repair by a return to employment with the town.
      (2)   A break in service is repairable, in the sense that its effects are eliminated if, before incurring a permanent break in service, the member subsequently returns to employment with the town. Previously earned vesting service and credited service shall be restored, provided previously refunded contributions are returned in accordance with division (D)(4). However, nothing in this division (D)(2) shall change the effect of a permanent break in service.
      (3)   Permanent break in service. A break in service for a period longer than the member's years of credited service will result in a permanent break in service and the cancellation of credited service and vesting service. A break in service will be considered a permanent break in service and all previously accrued years of vesting service and years of credited service will be canceled if the member does not return to employment with the town as of the last day of the plan year in which the number of one-year breaks in service equals or exceeds the number of previously earned credited service or years of vesting service, whichever is greater.
      (4)   Effect of a permanent break in service. If a member who has not achieved vested status has a permanent break in service:
         (a)   Previous years of credited service and vesting service are canceled; and
         (b)   Participation is canceled and new participation is subject to the provisions of § 31.32(A).
      (5)   A member who returns to employment with the town before incurring a permanent break in service may have previous credited service and vesting service restored upon returning his/her accumulated contributions plus interest within 60 days of his/her re-employment, in accordance with the provisions of § 31.34(E). If such member fails to return his/her accumulated contributions, the member shall be considered a new member for all purposes of the plan and forfeit previously earned credited service and vesting service with the town.
      (6)   In no event shall a member who is inducted into the armed services of the United States incur a break in service if the member returns to employment with the town in accordance with the provisions of division (C)(2) of this section.
      (7)   In no event shall a member who is on an approved leave of absence incur a break in service, unless such member does not return to employment on the date specified by the Retirement Board.
      (8)   If a member is laid off and is called back to active service within two years, no permanent break in service shall occur, subject to the return of contributions in accordance with division (D)(4) of this section.
   (E)   Service as town clerk. Subject to the conditions hereafter set forth, the plan shall grant credited service and years of vesting service for service as town clerk for a member who was an eligible employee immediately prior to the commencement of service as town clerk. Such grant of credited service and years of vesting service for any active continuous service as town clerk shall be conditioned upon the member informing the town in writing within 60 days of becoming town clerk (or within 60 days of the effective date of this amendment, if later) of his/her desire to receive credited service and vesting service credit during his/her service as town clerk and his/her election to make contributions on a regular periodic basis during the term of his/her service as town clerk calculated upon such member's compensation during his/her service as town clerk. If, when such election is made, there are periods of service as town clerk for which contributions were not made because the election was not available for such earlier period(s), then the contributions attributable to such prior period of time, together with accumulated interest at the rate of 5% per annum, shall be made in a lump sum payment at the time of the election or over a period of the lesser of (i) three years or (ii) the period of such service during which contributions were not made.
(Ord. 435, passed 3-12-01; Am. Ord. 551, passed 6-5-07; Am. Ord. 666, passed 12-7-15; Am. Ord. 692, passed 11-20-17)