What type of retirement plan is Teachers' Fund for Retirement (TFFR)?
TFFR is a qualified defined benefit public pension plan covered under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). North Dakota Century Code Chapter 15-39.1 and Title 82 of the North
Dakota Administrative Code govern the retirement plan.
What types of salary are reportable to TFFR?
Reportable TFFR salary is a member's earnings in eligible employment for teaching, supervisory, administrative, and extracurricular
services during a school year reported as salary on the member's federal income tax withholding statements plus any salary reduction or salary deferral amounts under 26 U.S.C. 125, 132(f), 401(k),
403(b), 414(h), or 457.
Once a member is contracted to perform teaching, supervisory, administrative, or extracurricular services, additional pay earned by the member is considered a part of retirement salary, even if no
written agreement exists.
TFFR Salary does not include fringe benefits such as payments for unused sick leave, personal leave, vacation leave, housing allowances, transportation expenses, early retirement incentive pay,
severance pay, any payments conditioned on or made in anticipation of retirement or termination, medical insurance, workers' compensation benefits, disability insurance premiums or benefits,
bonuses, teacher aide pay, referee pay, bus driver pay, janitorial pay, or salary received by a member in lieu of previously employer-provided fringe benefits that are made on an
individual selection basis.
Our school is paying all staff a one time $1,000 payment in May due to a budget surplus. Is this payment reportable to TFFR?
No. TFFR defines "bonus" as an amount paid in addition to regular contract salary which does not increase the base rate of pay, is not expected to recur, or is not expected to be a permanent salary increase. Bonus payments are not eligible retirement salary. TFFR is not stating you cannot make this payment, you just cannot report it for retirement purposes. See definition of bonus.
Our school has negotiated a performance pay plan. Are these payments reportable to TFFR?
Yes, if the performance or merit pay is an amount paid pursuant to a written compensation plan which links pay to attainment of specific performance goals and duties. The compensation plan must be determined and documented, in writing, prior to the performance period. See definition of performance/merit pay.
If I have a teacher that leaves half way through the year, when do I report the last date worked and compensated hours?
If a member resigns, retires, or dies before the end of the school year, the member's total compensated hours and last date
worked must be reported on the monthly report following termination. Example : A member signs a contract for 182 days for 8 hours per day. The member terminates employment after 75 days
on December 15. The compensated hours and last date worked are reportable on the December report filed January 15.
I have a member that is contracted for 180 days for 8 hours per day. The member terminates employment after 75 days. How many compensated hours do I
Compensated hours is the total number of hours a member is employed and compensated for in a school year (not to exceed 700 hours).
To calculate total compensated hours you multiply total days worked during the fiscal year × hours worked each day, (8 hours × 75 days = 600 hours).
Can we hire a retired teacher and if so how do we report them?
Under the General Rule, a retired teacher cannot return to TFFR-covered employment until 30 calendar days elapse from
the member's retirement date. A retired teacher can then return to covered employment for a maximum annual hour limit and continue receiving a monthly retirement benefit. Exceptions to the general
rule allow retirees to return to TFFR covered employment and exceed the annual hour limitation. Under all re-employment options, employer and employee contributions are required on all retirement salary paid to the retiree. See the Return to Work brochure. When a retired
teacher is hired, the employer must notify TFFR by completing the Retired Member Employment Notification Form.
If the retired teacher works more than the maximum hours allowed and the monthly pension is suspended, a Member Action Form must then be completed.
Do you report substitute teachers to TFFR?
The general rule is that substitute teachers are not reportable to TFFR since they are not contracted teachers. The only time
a substitute teacher is reportable is if the teacher, including re-employed retirees, is under a contract (written agreement) to perform the substitute teaching services. Substitute teaching is also reportable if the teacher/re-employed retiree is already under a contract to perform teaching services, including time certain contracts and while under the contract, performs
substitute teaching duties (in-staff subbing). If the teacher/retiree performs noncontracted substitute teaching duties outside of the time certain contract, the substitute teaching compensation is not reportable.
Do I need to file an Employer Payment Plan every year?
No. An employer is only required to file a new Employer Payment Plan form when the employer wishes to change the model or amount
of contributions paid by the employer as a salary supplement, if the legislature makes a change to the member contribution rate, or if the TFFR Board makes a change to the models.