Increases taxpayer's burden by 20% for Oregon State Hospital employees to support PERS and give added benefits. Periodically, the number add to the police classification grows and is up to 16,000 P&F employees who have yet to retire (7.4% of total PERS employees).
Employees classified as P&F under PERS statutes can retire at an earlier age and have a 20% higher benefit factor used in calculating their retirement benefits. This bill reclassifies employees of the Oregon State Hospital as “police officers” under PERS statutes over a four year period. PERS is in an emergency deficit and this bill will add to the burden of taxpayer bailout. The hospital employees are compensated for the amount of risk of their job, so adding higher benefit factors will double compensate them at taxpayers expense.
In the first phase, the P&F benefits will apply to those prohibited from striking under ORS 243.726 or employed as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. The second phase adds physicians licensed under ORS chapter 677 or employees who are required to be in areas populated by patients to perform the primary functions of their job. The final phase adds in all employees of the hospital.
Allowing doctors and nurses to retire early will drain the general pool of doctors and nurses, which are already in short demand.