RPLG Partner Ryan McGinley-Stempel and Of Counsel Steve Cikes spoke on vested pension rights at the County Counsels’ Association of California Spring 2022 Employment Law Study Section Meeting on February 24-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey.

At this conference, county attorneys learn about recent developments in employment law and best practices and actionable strategies to improve service to their communities.

Ryan and Steve’s presentation, “Public Pensions in California: No More Pension Spiking and Limitations of the California Rule,” covered the history and limits on the California Rule, which governs public employee pensions and historically prevented public agencies from eliminating benefits that existed when employees were hired without offering comparable new benefits. Building on their combined expertise in representing and advising public agencies and non-profit organizations on labor, employment and government law, Ryan and Steve discussed the historical background and development of the California Rule, as well as the contours of its limitations. They also shared information about the Legislature’s enactment of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”) and how two recent California Supreme Court decisions evaluating challenges to provisions in PEPRA sought to curb pension abuses provided much-needed guidance on determining what types of benefits are vested and the circumstances under which vested benefits may be modified without comparable new benefits.

“The Supreme Court has given practitioners a lot to chew on with its recent decisions in Cal Fire and Alameda Deputy Sheriff’s Association,” said Ryan, a partner in RPLG’s Government and Litigation Practice Groups. “It was a pleasure to contextualize and distill these new legal developments in support of this very important discussion among legal experts and county attorneys.”

The County Counsels’ Association of California is comprised of attorneys who provide legal advice and representation to their respective counties throughout California. The association provides a strong, unified voice for public lawyers and promotes cooperation through its communication system and membership.

RPLG practices throughout California, advising and advocating for public agencies, nonprofit entities, individuals and private entities in need of effective, responsive and creative legal solutions.