TITLE VI
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

CHAPTER 100-A
NEW HAMPSHIRE RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Section 100-A:1

    100-A:1 Definitions. –
The following words and phrases as used in this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, shall have the following meanings:
I. "Retirement system" shall mean the New Hampshire Retirement System as defined in RSA 100-A:2.
II. "Board of trustees" or "board" shall mean the board provided for in RSA 100-A:14.
III. "State" shall mean the state of New Hampshire.
IV. "Employer" shall mean (a) the state or any department, commission, institution, or agency of the state government by which an employee is paid through the office of the state treasurer with respect to their employees, (b) the state, the local school district, or other employers of teachers eligible for membership in the system with respect to the teachers in their employ, (c) any police department or police force of the state, or of any county, city, town, village, or precinct in the state with respect to the permanent policemen in their employ, (d) any fire department of the state, or of any county, city, town, village, or precinct in the state with respect to the permanent firemen in their employ, (e) any political subdivision that has elected to participate under RSA 100-A:20, and (f) the community college system of New Hampshire; provided, however, that in no instance shall any employer contribute or participate in the retirement system unless by a reasonable determination of the board of trustees such employer qualifies as a governmental entity, political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality eligible to participate in the retirement system as a governmental plan within the meaning of section 414(d) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. When 2 or more employers share or merge payroll functions, each employer shall continue to be considered a separate employer for the purposes of RSA 100-A.
V. "Employee" shall mean any regular classified, nonclassified, or unclassified officer or employee of the state or any department, commission, institution or agency of the state government by which an employee is paid through the office of the state treasurer, or employees of the general court who work on a full-time basis and are eligible for other state benefits, but whose salary is calculated on a per diem basis, or any employee of the retirement system, or any full-time employee of the community college system of New Hampshire, or of any of the groups authorized to participate under this chapter but excluding any person who is a teacher, permanent policeman, or permanent fireman as defined in this section, or who is a member or attache of the general court or member of the executive council.
VI. "Teacher" shall mean any regular or special teacher, principal, supervisor or administrator, librarian or other member of the teaching or professional staff engaged in the service of the public elementary and secondary schools located within the state and supported by and under the control of the state, the local school district, or other employers of teachers eligible for membership in the system. For teachers who job share, teacher shall mean 2 individuals who share one position. For purposes of membership as a teacher under this chapter, proof of appropriate certification by the department of education or appropriate professional licensure shall be maintained by the employer and available to the retirement system.
VII. "Permanent policeman," for the purposes of membership in group II and other provisions of this chapter, shall mean any person, whether elected or appointed, who is regularly employed on a full-time basis by the state in a job certified by the director of personnel as conforming to the requirements of this paragraph, or by any of its political subdivisions in a job certified by the governing body of the political subdivision as conforming to the requirements of this paragraph, which job shall be in one of the following categories:
(a) A police officer, conservation officer of the fish and game department, or inspector of the state liquor commission who:
(1) Is responsible for the prevention, detection or prosecution of crime and the enforcement of the laws of the state and of its political subdivisions;
(2) Has full general arrest powers;
(3) As a job requirement is fully certified as a police officer by the New Hampshire police standards and training council; and
(4) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a police officer that may be established by the certifying authority.
(b) Correctional line personnel employed in the department of corrections who:
(1) Work within a correctional facility in close and immediate contact with prisoners on a daily basis and have responsibility for security;
(2) As a job requirement are fully certified as correctional personnel by the commissioner of corrections after successful completion of a course of training approved by the police standards and training council; and
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as correctional personnel that may be established by the certifying authority.
(c) Correctional line personnel employed in a county correctional facility who:
(1) Work within a correctional facility in close and immediate contact with prisoners on a daily basis and have responsibility for security;
(2) As a job requirement are fully certified as correctional personnel by the New Hampshire Association of Counties after successful completion of a course of training approved by the police standards and training council;
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as correctional personnel that may be established by the certifying authority; and
(4) Are employed by a county which has elected to transfer correctional line personnel from group I to group II under RSA 100-A:20, III.
(d) A state corrections officer who:
(1) Is responsible for the physical custody and security of inmates at a state correctional facility;
(2) Is authorized by law to use force to prevent escapes from such facility;
(3) As a job requirement is fully certified as a corrections officer by the New Hampshire police standards and training council; and
(4) As a job requirement shall meet all the physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a corrections officer that may be established by the certifying authority.
(e) Full-time marine patrol officers employed in the department of safety who have all the powers of a peace officer under RSA 270:12-a.
(f) A probation-parole officer employed full time in the division of field services of the department of corrections pursuant to RSA 504-A who:
(1) Has close and immediate contact with felons on a regular basis;
(2) Has an assigned caseload;
(3) Is responsible for the prevention, detention, or prosecution of crime and the enforcement of the laws of the state, the orders of the court, and the conditions imposed on probationers and parolees by the court;
(4) Has full arrest powers of all probationers and parolees as provided in RSA 504-A;
(5) Has the power to search the residence of a probationer or parolee;
(6) Has close contact with felons prior to sentencing when preparing a pre-sentence investigation that includes a disposition recommendation for the court, and supervision when placed on probation or parole. Investigation and supervision may be conducted in the person's residence, in state or county correctional facilities, in drug centers, or elsewhere;
(7) Has responsibility to return to the courts or to the parole board those felons who violate conditions of probation or parole;
(8) Has responsibility for the intrastate and interstate transportation of fugitive felons;
(9) Is aware that all parolees have served time in prison, and that many probationers have served time in state or county correctional facilities or are on a suspended commitment sentence;
(10) As a job requirement, is fully certified as a probation-parole officer by the police standards and training council after successful completion of a training program, including the use of weapons, approved by the council; and
(11) As a job requirement, meets all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a probation-parole officer that may be established by the certifying authority.
(g) A police officer of the state office complex police force who:
(1) Has the responsibilities granted by the commissioner of safety under RSA 21-P:4, XI;
(2) Has full general arrest powers;
(3) As a job requirement is fully certified as a full-time police officer by the New Hampshire police standards and training council; and
(4) As a job requirement meets all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a full-time police officer as established by the police standards and training council.
(h) The bureau chief for emergency preparedness and response with the department of health and human services, division of health public services who:
(1) Has the authority and responsibility to engage in the prevention and control of public health incidents or emergencies;
(2) As a job requirement is fully certified as an emergency preparedness official qualified to administer emergency planning, response and recovery activities in the event of natural disasters, public health crises or similar incidents; and
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as an emergency preparedness official that may be established by the certifying authority.
VII-a. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph VII of this section, "permanent policeman" for purposes of membership in group II shall not include any of the following:
(a) Any dispatcher, mechanic, electrician, laboratory or clerical worker, technical expert, or other person employed in a police department or correctional facility who does not meet all the requirements of paragraph VII; provided, however, that performance of such functions by any person who as a job requirement does meet all the requirements of paragraph VII shall not disqualify the person from membership in group II;
(b) Any bingo or lucky 7 inspector, any juvenile probation and parole officer, or any person employed in the bureau of trails of the department of natural and cultural resources; or
(c) Any other person whose normal duties entail only indirect, occasional, or short-term exposure, or no exposure, to the hazards of police or correctional work.
VII-b. "Job requirement" as used in paragraphs VII and VII-a of this section shall mean a requirement that must be met as a condition for employment in a particular job, either from the date of hire or within a specified time interval not to exceed 2 years after the date of hire.
VII-c, VII-d. [Repealed.]
VIII. "Permanent fireman," for the purposes of membership in group II and other provisions of this chapter, shall mean any person, whether elected or appointed, who is regularly employed on a full-time basis by the state in a job certified by the director of personnel as conforming to the requirements of this paragraph, or by any of its political subdivisions in a job certified by the governing body of the political subdivision as conforming to the requirements of this paragraph, which job shall be in one of the following categories
(a) A firefighter who:
(1) Has the authority and responsibility to engage in the prevention, control, or extinguishment of fires, and who performs activities that are required for and directly concerned with the prevention, control, or extinguishment of fires, including incidental non-firefighting functions;
(2) As a job requirement is fully certified as a firefighter by the New Hampshire fire standards and training commission; and
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a firefighter that may be established by the certifying authority.
(b) A forest ranger of the division of forests and lands who:
(1) Has the responsibility to engage in the prevention, control, or extinguishment of forest fires and activities related to the fighting of forest fires;
(2) As a job requirement is fully certified as a forest ranger qualified to fight forest fires by the New Hampshire fire standards and training commission, or by the director of the division of forests and lands; and
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as a forest ranger that may be established by the certifying authority.
(c) The bureau chief for emergency preparedness and response with the department of health and human services, division of health public services who:
(1) Has the authority and responsibility to engage in the prevention and control of public health incidents or emergencies;
(2) As a job requirement is fully certified as an emergency preparedness official qualified to administer emergency planning, response and recovery activities in the event of natural disasters, public health crises or similar incidents; and
(3) As a job requirement shall meet all physical, mental, educational, and other qualifications for continuing certification as an emergency preparedness official that may be established by the certifying authority.
VIII-a. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph VIII of this section, "permanent fireman" for purposes of membership in group II shall not include any of the following:
(a) Any dispatcher, mechanic, electrician, laboratory or clerical worker, technical expert, or other person employed in a fire department or by the division of forests and lands who does not meet all the requirements of paragraph VIII; provided, however, that performance of such functions by any person who as a job requirement does meet all the requirements of paragraph VIII shall not disqualify the person from membership in group II; or
(b) Any other person whose normal duties entail only indirect, occasional, or short-term exposure, or no exposure, to the hazards of firefighting.
VIII-b. "Job requirement" as used in paragraphs VIII and VIII-a of this section shall mean a requirement that must be met as a condition for employment in a particular job, either from the date of hire or within a specified time interval not to exceed 2 years after the date of hire.
VIII-c. [Repealed.]
IX. "Call fireman" shall mean a fireman not regularly employed by a fire department, but answering for duty only to fire alarms.
X. "Member" shall mean any person included in the membership of the retirement system, as provided in RSA 100-A:3.
(a) "Group I members" shall mean employees and teachers.
(b) "Group II members" shall mean permanent policemen and permanent firemen.
XI. "Beneficiary" shall mean any person receiving a retirement allowance or other benefit as provided herein.
XII. "Widow" shall mean also widowers.
XIII. "Service" shall mean service as an employee, a teacher, a permanent policeman or a permanent fireman which is paid for by an employer.
XIV. "Membership service" shall mean service rendered while a member of the retirement system.
XV. "Prior service" shall mean service rendered prior to the date of membership in the retirement system for which credit was given under the terms of one or more of the predecessor systems, and as set forth under this chapter.
XVI. "Creditable service" shall mean prior service plus membership service, as provided in RSA 100-A:4.
XVII. "Earnable compensation" shall mean:
(a) For members who have attained vested status prior to January 1, 2012 the full base rate of compensation paid, as determined by the employer, plus any overtime pay, holiday and vacation pay, sick pay, longevity or severance pay, cost of living bonus, annual attendance stipend or bonus, additional pay for extracurricular and instructional activities for full-time teachers and full-time employees who are employed in paraprofessional or support position, additional pay for instructional activities of full-time faculty of the community college system, and any military differential pay, plus the fair market value of non-cash compensation paid to, or on behalf of, the member for meals or living quarters if subject to federal income tax, but excluding other compensation except cash incentives paid by an employer to encourage members to retire, supplemental pay paid by the employer while the member is receiving workers' compensation, and teacher development pay that is not part of the contracted annual salary. Compensation for extra and special duty, as reported by the employer, shall be included but limited during the highest 3 years of creditable service as provided in paragraph XVIII. However, earnable compensation in the final 12 months of creditable service prior to termination of employment shall be limited to 1-1/2 times the higher of the earnable compensation in the 12-month period preceding the final 12 months or the highest compensation year as determined for the purpose of calculating average final compensation, but excluding the final 12 months. Any compensation received in the final 12 months of employment in excess of such limit shall not be subject to member or employer contributions to the retirement system and shall not be considered in the computation of average final compensation. Provided that, the annual compensation limit for members of governmental defined benefit pension plans under section 401(a)(17) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall apply to earnable compensation for all employees, teachers, permanent firemen, and permanent policemen who first become eligible for membership in the system on or after July 1, 1996. Earnable compensation shall not include compensation in any form paid later than 120 days after the member's termination of employment from a retirement eligible position, with the limited exceptions of disability related severance pay paid to a member or retiree no later than 120 days after a decision by the board of trustees granting the member or retiree disability retirement benefits pursuant to RSA 100-A:6 and of severance pay which a member was entitled to be paid within 120 days after termination but which, without the consent of the member and not through any fault of the member, was paid more than 120 days after the member's termination. The member shall have the burden of proving to the board of trustees that any severance payment paid later than 120 days after the member's termination of employment is earnable compensation and meets the requirements of an asserted exception to the 120-day post-termination payment requirement.
(b)(1) For members who have not attained vested status prior to January 1, 2012, the full base rate of compensation paid, as determined by the employer, plus compensation over base pay. Compensation over base pay shall include as applicable, subject to subparagraphs (2), (3), and (4), any overtime pay, cost of living bonus, annual attendance stipend or bonus, annual longevity pay, additional pay for extracurricular and instructional activities for full-time teachers and full-time employees who are employed in paraprofessional or support position, additional pay for instructional activities of full-time faculty of the community college system, compensation for extra and special duty, and any military differential pay, plus the fair market value of non-cash compensation paid to, or on behalf of, the member for meals or living quarters if subject to federal income tax, but excluding other compensation except supplemental pay paid by the employer while the member is receiving workers' compensation and teacher development pay that is not part of the contracted annual salary.
(2) Compensation over base pay shall be limited during the highest 5 years of creditable service as provided in paragraph XVIII.
(3) Earnable compensation shall not include compensation for extra and special duty for members who commence service on and after July 1, 2011.
(4) Earnable compensation shall not include incentives to encourage members to retire, severance pay or end-of-career additional longevity payments, and pay for unused sick or vacation time. Earnable compensation in the final 12 months of creditable service prior to termination of employment shall be limited to 11/2 times the higher of the earnable compensation in the 12-month period preceding the final 12 months or the highest compensation year as determined for the purpose of calculating average final compensation, but excluding the final 12 months. Any compensation received in the final 12 months of employment in excess of such limit shall not be subject to member or employer contributions to the retirement system and shall not be considered in the computation of average final compensation. Provided that, the annual compensation limit for members of governmental defined benefit pension plans under section 401(a)(17) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall apply to earnable compensation for all employees, teachers, permanent firemen, and permanent policemen who first become eligible for membership in the system on or after July 1, 1996. Earnable compensation shall not include compensation in any form paid later than 120 days after the member's termination of employment from a retirement eligible position.
XVIII. "Average final compensation" shall mean:
(a) For members who have attained vested status prior to January 1, 2012, the average annual earnable compensation of a member during his or her highest 3 years of creditable service, or during all of the years in his or her creditable service if less than 3 years. For purposes of this calculation, the inclusion of the average annual compensation for extra and special duty in the 3 years shall not exceed the average annual amount of compensation for extra and special duty paid to the member over the member's last 7 years of creditable service on or after July 1, 2009, as reported by the employer in accordance with RSA 100-A:16, VI, or over all of the years in his or her creditable service on or after July 1, 2009 if less than 7 years.
(b) For members who commenced service on or after July 1, 2011 or who have not attained vested status prior to January 1, 2012, the average annual earnable compensation of a member during his or her highest 5 years of creditable service, or during all of the years in his or her creditable service if less than 5 years. For purposes of inclusion in this calculation, the average percentage of compensation paid in excess of the full base rate of compensation in the highest 5 years shall not exceed the average percentage of compensation paid in excess of the full base rate of compensation over all the member's years of service on or after January 1, 2012, but excluding the highest 5 years.
XIX. "Accumulated contributions" shall mean the sum of all the amounts deducted from the compensation of a member, any additional contributions, any contributions for purchases under this chapter, together with any amount transferred to the account of the member established pursuant to this system from the respective account of said member under one or more of the predecessor systems, with interest thereon, as provided in RSA 100-A:16, II(g).
XX. "Member annuity" shall mean annual payments for life derived from the accumulated contributions of the member.
XXI. "State annuity" shall mean annual payments for life derived from contributions by an employer.
XXII. "Retirement allowance" shall mean the sum of the member annuity and the state annuity. All retirement allowances shall be payable in equal monthly installments which shall cease with the last monthly payment prior to death, unless otherwise specifically provided for herein; provided, however, that if the retirement allowance is less than $10 per month, it may be paid, at the discretion of the board of trustees, in quarterly or semiannual installments due at the midpoint of such period, or in a lump sum of equivalent actuarial value.
XXIII. "Retirement" shall mean withdrawal from active service with a retirement allowance granted under the provisions hereof.
XXIV. "Regular interest" shall mean interest at such rate or rates compounded annually as may be set from time to time by the board of trustees in accordance with RSA 100-A:14, VIII.
XXV. "Actuarial equivalent" shall mean a benefit of equal value when computed at regular interest upon the basis of the mortality tables last adopted by the board of trustees.
XXVI, XXVII. [Repealed.]
XXVIII. "Predecessor system" shall mean, where applicable, the Employees' Retirement System of the State of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Teachers' Retirement System, the New Hampshire Policemen's Retirement System, and the New Hampshire Permanent Firemen's Retirement System, any one of them, or any combination thereof.
XXIX. "Actuary" shall mean (a) a member of the American Academy of Actuaries or (b) an individual who has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the state insurance commissioner that he has the educational background necessary for the practice of actuarial science and has had at least 7 years of actuarial experience.
XXX. "Terminal funding" shall mean providing the full present value of the total liability for benefit improvement.
XXXI. "Spousal acknowledgment" means a written recognition, signed by a member's spouse, of the benefit payment plan selected by the member under the provisions of RSA 100-A:5, RSA 100-A:6, RSA 100-A:10, or RSA 100-A:19-a-19-h that is filed with the retirement system on a form prescribed by the board of trustees at the time of retirement and when the member elects a change in benefit payment as allowed under RSA 100-A:13.
XXXII. "Extra or special duty" means member work activities or details for which the employer bills or charges another entity, in whole or in part, for the work activities or details provided.
XXXIII. "Qualified military service" means any service in the uniformed services as defined in 38 U.S.C. chapter 43, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), by any member if such member is entitled to reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act with respect to such service.
XXXIV. "Part-time" for purposes of employment of a retired member of the New Hampshire retirement system but excepting per diem court security officers and court bailiffs, means employment by one or more participating employers of the retired member which shall not exceed 1,352 hours in a calendar year, except as provided in RSA 100-A:7-b. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no retired member shall be employed on a part-time basis by any participating employer for a period of 28 days from the member's effective date of retirement.
XXXV. "Active member" means a member who is employed by a retirement system participating employer and who is both receiving earnable compensation and earning service credit for which the retirement system receives payment of full employer and member contributions under RSA 100-A:16.
XXXVI. "Inactive member" means a member who has been absent from service for reasons other than retirement or death for more than 180 days without requesting a return of his or her accumulated contributions.
XXXVII. "Normal retirement age" means:
(a) For a group I member, age 60 if the member commenced service before July 1, 2011; otherwise, age 65.
(b)(1) For a group II member who is in vested status before January 1, 2012, the later of the date that the member has both attained age 45 and completed 20 years of creditable service;
(2) For a group II member who commenced service on or after July 1, 2011, the later of the date that the member has both attained age 52.5 and completed 25 years of creditable service;
(3) For a group II member who commenced service prior to July 1, 2011, and who has not attained vested status prior to January 1, 2012, as provided in the transition provisions in RSA 100-A:5, II(d); or
(4) For any group II member in service, age 60 regardless of the number of years of creditable service.

Source. 1967, 134:1; 405:1, 2. 1969, 354:2. 1971, 511:1. 1972, 37:2. 1973, 134:1; 275:1. 1975, 453:1; 461:2; 489:1. 1977, 573:2; 588:49; 599:3. 1981, 536:3-7. 1986, 95:1. 1987, 292:11; 335:1-3. 1988, 161:1-3, 11, I-III. 1990, 162:5; 249:6. 1991, 313:1; 358:1. 1993, 53:2; 331:8. 1994, 334:1. 1995, 269:5, I, II; 270:1. 1996, 13:6; 187:1. 1997, 274:1. 2000, 120:1; 294:7. 2001, 158:5; 275:6. 2004, 257:48. 2006, 51:1; 120:2-4. 2007, 268:1; 361:36. 2008, 300:1. 2009, 144:51; 324:1. 2010, 199:6. 2011, 224:161, 163, 178; 248:2. 2012, 166:1, eff. June 7, 2012; 194:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2012; 194:4, 5, eff. June 11, 2012; 261:1, eff. July 1, 2012. 2014, 183:1-3, eff. July 1, 2014. 2017, 156:14, I, eff. July 1, 2017. 2018, 234:4, 5, eff. July 1, 2019; 293:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019. 2019, 214:2, eff. Sept. 10, 2019. 2021, 122:6, 67, eff. Sept. 7, 2021.