COMMENTARY: Why California pension promises should be kept

The upcoming CA Supreme Court case involving Cal Fire pension benefits raises important retirement and legal issues. With regard to retirement, the first question is whether the right to purchase nonqualified service credit is a vested benefit. If the benefit is determined to be vested, the second question is whether the court will overturn the California Rule. The California Rule is very clear: Once a retirement benefit is vested, it cannot be taken away.

Simply put, a promise made should be a promise kept. When an employee is promised a retirement benefit, that benefit cannot be eliminated or impaired midcareer.

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