Retired public sector employees still returning to work, not ful - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Retired public sector employees still returning to work, not full time

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MADISON (WKOW) -- More than 3,000 retired public sector workers returned to work for a public employer last year, while drawing pensions from their old jobs, according to a report by Gannett Wisconsin Media.

Data from the state Department of Employee Trust Funds puts the exact number at 3,025 who went back to work in 2013. Nearly 60 percent of the retirees who returned to work retired from jobs in school districts. Most went back to work for the University of Wisconsin System or the state of Wisconsin.

Former public employees going back to work while collecting their pension has been a hot topic since word broke in 2011 that the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay prepared a contract to re-hire a vice chancellor days before he officially announced his resignation.

Employers maintain hiring WRS retirees provides them with experienced workers who work cheaper because they no longer pay into the pension system. Critics counter that re-hiring retirees allows them to simultaneously draw a pension and a salary, amounting to inappropriate double-dipping.

The two-year state budget Gov. Scott Walker signed in June includes requirements that WRS retirees who return to work for a public employer stop collecting a pension and resume paying into the system if the job is two-thirds time or more. That means they can work about 27 hours a week while still collecting a pension from their former job.

The state began tracking retiree rehires after the budget went into effect in July, and an employee Trust Funds spokesman said no WRS retirees halted their pension to return to work full-time between July and Jan. 31 of this year.
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