How Full-Time and Part-Time Service Credit Works

Service credit plays a vital part in your pension calculation and your eligibility for other NYSLRS benefits. As a NYSLRS member, you earn service credit by working for an employer who participates in the Retirement System. Your paid public employment is creditable. You would not, however, earn credit for any period when you are not receiving a salary, such as an unpaid leave of absence. You would earn credit for both full-time and part-time employment, but if you work part-time, the service you earn is pro-rated.

Earning Service Credit When You Work Full Time

When you work on a full-time, continuous basis throughout your career, we’ll calculate your total service credit from your date of employment up until the date you leave paid employment. Most full-time workers earn a year of service credit for working 260 workdays a year. For a full-time, 12-month employee, 260 workdays equal a full year. (If you work in an educational setting, you can read about earning service credit in our blog post, How School Employees Earn NYSLRS Service Credit.)

Earning Service Credit When You Work Part Time

Your service credit is prorated if you work part time. Part-time employment is credited as the lesser of:

the number of days worked ÷ 260 days

or

your reported annual salary ÷ (the State’s hourly minimum wage × 2,000)

You can think of it like this: let’s say you work 130 days in a year. If a year’s worth of service credit is earned for working 260 days full time, you’d earn half a year (0.5) of service credit for your part-time work.

How Part-Time Service Credit Works

Check Your Service Credit in Retirement Online

Retirement Online is the fastest way to check your current total estimated service credit. Once you sign in, go to the ‘My Account Summary’ section of your Account Homepage and look under “Account Information.”

You can also use Retirement Online to request credit for public employment from before you joined NYSLRS. If you’re eligible to purchase previous service credit, it’s a good idea to file your request as early in your career as possible because:

  • Records we need to verify your service will be more readily available.
  • If there is a cost, it will be less expensive than if you wait to purchase credit before retirement.
  • Your retirement benefit will be processed more quickly if your service credit request has been reviewed or processed prior to retirement.

For more information, please read our publication Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6. You may also wish to refer to your specific retirement plan booklet, available on our Publications page.

84 thoughts on “How Full-Time and Part-Time Service Credit Works

  1. Anonymous

    If I worked for a school that only has one part that is part of the NYSLRS and some employees at that school receive NYS benefits and some do not(I did not) I was considered private side. However, as part of my job I continuously helped students out of that part of the college throughout my time there. I am now moving to a SUNY school with NYSLRS benefits am I able to request past credit for service if I was working with those students even though I didn’t receive the direct benefits?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS members can receive service credit for employment before they became a NYSLRS member if it was public employment.

      To find out if you are able to purchase service from your previous employment, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.In the meantime, please visit our Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6 webpage to learn more requesting past service.

      Reply
  2. Brian

    I worked as a substitute teacher in NYS between 1987 and 1991. In 2017, I started working for NYS and have my 414h retirement as a Tier 6. Is there a way to go back to a Tier 4 from my work as a part time substitute teacher. I understand I would need to buy back my time?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you had joined a New York public retirement system during your time as a substitute teacher, you may be eligible to reinstatement your previous membership. You can check with the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System or the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System to see if you had a prior membership.

      If you didn’t join one of the public retirement systems during that time, however, it’s still possible to get credit for your prior service. Please read our Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6 webpage for more information, including how to purchase service credit or reinstate a previous membership.

      If you still have questions, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  3. Suzanne K McBride

    We are civilian first responder employees who work a full time rotating schedule 5 on 2 off 5 on 3 off for a County law enforcement agency bringing us to 248 to 252 days worked per year. Up until May of this year we were required to work 6 extra days per year with no additional wage compensation paid for these days. Due to legal issues involving FLSA as of May these days have been removed, will this negatively impact our service credit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      For account-specific questions about service credit, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  4. Darrell Fazio

    How accurate is the “Total Estimated Service” found on the homepage? I was a contributing TCI, only eligible to work from April through December, and the start dates varied.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  5. Kelly Smith

    I have filled out tier reinstatement and buying back service credit paperwork two years ago and have heard nothing. This was for part-time employment between 2003 and 2009. I have since learned that where I worked while in high school was a county-owned facility. Do I have to fill out the service credit buy back on that as a separate request or will that information be found while doing the one that is two years old? Also, how much longer will it take to get the results from the requests I put in in July 2020? I have called and sent secured emails but have not gotten anything back. Thank you.

    Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          For questions about your NYSLRS benefits, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

          Reply
    1. Lauren

      Why does it take these people so long? It is a simple calculation that can be done with a click of a button.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        For questions about your NYSLRS benefits, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
      2. Stacy Stein

        I supplied them with all of my information for service credit in 2019 and waited two years for to be declined. Then I called the facilities I had been employed at in 1983 & 86, they tell me that they were never contacted by NYSLSR. They kindly gave me copies of my old pay stubs by email done in less than 5 mins. Now because they declined me in 2021.I refiled immediately and supplied all proof needed (I did the work for them in 5 minutes) all that and still waiting 8/22. They do not give you any updates while you wait which is very disappointing.

        Reply
    2. Debra Fisher

      I am in the same boat, I applied in May 2021, the paperwork was never sent to the employer until two months later and now my wait time has been extended two months longer.. NOT FAIR!!! I have reached out numerous times with no response..

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        We’d like to help resolve your issue. Your message is important to us and we have sent you a private message in response.

        Reply
  6. ts NYC

    Five months ago i started the purchase service credit and made partial payment for some of the previous employment with remaining balance set as payroll deductions. Recently i accepted an offer from NYC public agency and will be switching to NYCERS pension system. Would like to know if my purchase credit will be transferred as well when I transfer to NYCERS because i have not yet received the purchased service credit because i need min of 2 years active service for NYSLRS. Can anyone help me address the transfer question? I called numerous times and my call is always disconnected. Thank you

    Reply
  7. Jessica Wilkins

    I submitted my request and forms to purchase service credit on 8/7/2018 and have not gotten complete, accurate information. I have called, emailed, sent documentation as requested and continue to be strung along with no answers. I am told that it will be sent to the Arrears Department and I will be contacted within two weeks with an outcome. This has happened 8 times. For the life of me I cannot understand why I cannot get this information from NYSLRS. They have my maiden name, married name, ss #, date of birth in addition to the forms and paperwork they want completed. If I owed anything to the State you can bet that there would not be the same extension of time, lackadaisical timelines, unprofessionalism. The lack of accountability is REMARKABLE!

    Reply
    1. J

      This happened to me, and then I saw that I could apply for reinstatement online. I did so, and it only took a few weeks for a response. Maybe try there.

      Reply
    2. Cynthia Hill

      Same seems to be happening with me. Very frustrating! I worked for many years part-time, but always worked extra hours, which should count toward my service credit. I’ve asked for an accounting, but can’t get a firm answer as to what is being found. They found a period of time the state failed to deduct from my paycheck to pay into my retirement, which did earn me some extra service credit, but then closed the case without looking for the extra hours. I just keep submitting service credit requests. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Maria D Lacagnina

    Hello, I work 10 years ago part time and was a tier 4, then I left and came back and became a tier 6. I am buying back those years i was part time to 4 years full time . Would I be able to become tier 4 again once I buy those years back. Thankyou

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can apply for tier reinstatement in Retirement Online. Click the “Reinstate a Previous Membership” button in the ‘My Account Summary’ to get started. You can also visit our website to find more information about reinstating your membership to an earlier tier.

      If you have questions, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  9. Matt P

    I see that Tier 6 can get vested in 5 years now. However, I have worked part-time over my accumulated years. How do I estimate my pension? I have 4 years of salary posted, but less than that estimated as a pension.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      You can sign in to your Retirement Online account to view your current total estimated service credit. Over the next few months we will be updating members’ accounts to reflect any changes in vesting status.

      For assistance estimating your pension benefit, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  10. t s NYC

    Is NYSLRS service credit purchase possible for previous NYS employment if the employee was a member of a Voluntary Defined Contribution Plan TIAA?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      For help with your question, you should contact our customer service representatives. Please email them using our secure email form http://www.emailnyslrs.com. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  11. Larry

    I have worked part time for the last 15 years in a school district. I recently got full time how does effect my pension?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Your NYSLRS pension will be based on your service credit and final average earnings. While you were a part-time employee, your service credit was prorated. As a full-time employee, you will earn one year of service credit for each year of employment.

      You may wish to read our How School Employees Earn NYSLRS Service Credit blog post.

      For account-specific questions, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. Filling out the secure form allows them to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  12. S.P

    I work part time for two school based jobs. I receive .5 service credit from one job and .6 from the other because I work summers. Can I accrue 1.1 years of service? or does it automatically just go to 1.0 for that year?

    Reply
  13. CB

    Hello, How can I get a recalculation of my service credit BEFORE I retire?

    I have e mailed 3 times and had two phone consultations to try and determine if my service credit was correct so that I could retire ( tier 4, over 55, need 30 yrs service credit) and each time was told my service credit in my account was correct. I was projected to have 30.19 at retirement- all 5 of those contacts, plus two mailed estimates, told me this, and all turned out to be wrong. When I applied to retire a new estimate was sent, stating my projected service credit at retirement was now 30.07. I was told it’s just an “estimate” and nothing is guaranteed. In fact, service credit is recalculated AFTER retirement, and if those previous estimates were wrong and used to determine when to retire, it’s not nyslrs fault. Furthermore, if brought to a hearing and evidence produced that the employee based retirement on the fact that e mails, consultations, and estimates stated service credit was correct, when in fact they wasn’t , it is not sufficient proof of any wrongdoing by nyslrs. Based on that information, I withdrew my retirement application as I could not get any guarantee that my service credit was correct and I did not want to risk being short. I am not in any way blaming the nyslrs employees, who are just doing their jobs. I am asking that nyslrs find a way to help their members get an accurate way to tally service credit before they retire. There has got to be a better way! And if not, nyslrs needs to inform members that they should plan to work at least several months over the service credit calculation in their account, just to be safe.

    That being said, back to my question- is there a way to request an in-depth service calculation ( not an estimate) before applying to retire?

    Thank you very much for any help.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      We apologize for the trouble you are having with your service credit. Your message is important to us and we have sent you a private message in response.

      Reply
      1. CB

        Thank you so much! They called me and were very helpful. The service rep was able to go into my account and pull up timeframes I questioned. The service rep explained in detail how the credit was calculated and assured me my credit looks accurate. I am still going to work a few more months to ‘pad’ my time, but I feel a lot better now about my service credit. Thanks again!

        Reply
  14. Steven osborne

    I am on a long term authorized sick leave and am currently on 1/2 pay due to exhausting my accruals.. do I still accumulate service time while on half pay ?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, if you are being paid by your employer, you receive service credit.

      For account-specific information about your service credit, we recommend that you email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  15. Kurt Meichtry

    I worked previously for NYS for a total of approximately 12 weeks in 2003-2004 with NYS Test Distribution Unit. I then returned to State employment in 2010 and have been working full time with NYS Insurance Fund since then. I submitted form RS-5042 (Request to Purchase Service Credit) on 2/6/19 but haven’t received a response yet (apparently response time is 18 months due to backlog). Two questions:
    1) Will I be able to move my retirement tier from tier 5 to tier 4 based on my earlier 2003 start of state employment?
    2) I’m assuming the buy back will only allow me to add the 12 weeks I worked to my service time? Or will I be able to add the entirety of time from 2003 – 2010 to my service time (assuming I pay for the entirety of this period)?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your tier is based on the date you joined NYSLRS. You would only be able to change your tier if you joined NYSLRS in 2003. You can only purchase previous service for time you worked.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Please provide details, including your approximate dates of employment, about your previous service. One of our representatives can review your account and answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      For general information about creditable previous service, you can read our publication Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        The NYSLRS Social Media team does not have access to your retirement account information.
        Please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Please provide details, including your approximate dates of employment, about your previous service. One of our representatives can review your account and answer your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        For general information about creditable previous service, you can read our publication Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6.

        Reply
    2. Judith Israeli

      Was there ever an answer to the question RE: buying back time with the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        To request credit for public employment from before you joined NYSLRS, sign in to your Retirement Online account. Go to the ‘My Account Summary’ section of your Retirement Online Account Homepage, click the “Manage My Service Credit” button and follow the directions.

        If you don’t already have an account, go to the Sign In page and click the “Sign Up” link under the Customer Sign In button. If you need help with Retirement Online, please call our customer service representatives at 1-866-805-0990 (or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, NY area), press 2 and follow the prompts.

        You can also complete and submit a Request to Purchase Service Credit (Including any Military Service) (RS5042).

        If you still have questions about applying for service credit, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives can review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
  16. Jeffrey Pratt

    Does previous part time work add up to raise my tier of employment? For example I need 6 years to hit tier 2, and I have worked part time for 10 years. Would I qualify for tier 2 after 1 year of full time employment?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The amount of service credit you earn while working for a public employer does not determine your tier. When you joined the Retirement System, you were assigned to a tier based on your date of membership. For instance, members of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) are in Tier 2 if their date of membership is between July 1, 1973 through July 26, 1976.

      For account-specific information about your tier and total service credit, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  17. Bryan

    I work a full time and a part time job. I contribute to the NYSLRS retirement system in both. I am looking for information on how that service is credited? When I receive my statement all I see is that I am credited a full year of service, however I work way over the allotted hours for one year credit.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      NYSLRS members can’t receive credit for more than one year of service per year.

      However, if you receive salary from two employers during your final average salary (FAS) period, both salaries will be used in calculating your FAS, resulting in a higher FAS. (Final average salary is the average of your highest consecutive years of earnings, and we use it to calculate your pension amount.)

      If you have questions about your particular situation, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          Your retirement benefit is based on your years of service credit and your final average salary (FAS). As a part-time employee, your service credit is pro-rated. For example, if you work half the hours that a full-time employee works, you will earn six months service credit for each year you work.

          Your latest Member Annual Statement shows how much service you earned in the past fiscal year and your total service credit, and it should show projected benefit amounts for several hypothetical retirement dates. These projections are based on service and salary information we have on file for you.

          Most Tier 1-4 members can use our Benefit Projector Calculator to estimate their retirement benefit. The calculator allows you to enter different retirement dates and service credit totals to compare potential benefits.

          Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you are not vested, you may end your membership and request a refund of your contributions by filing a Withdrawal Application (RS5014), available on our website. You must be off the payroll at least 15 days before submitting the application. You can receive the refund directly or roll your contributions over to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan.

      If you do not withdraw your contributions, they will continue to earn 5 percent interest for seven years. After seven years, if you are still off the public payroll, your membership will automatically end and your contributions will be deposited into a non-interest-bearing account. Your contributions will not be automatically refunded.

      Reply
  18. Karen Greek

    What if you dont remember dates you would like to receive service credit for at another job?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You can email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). Provide details you remember about the job, including employer’s name, location, your title and approximate dates of employment. One of our representatives will review your account and respond. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  19. Meng Dang

    I have bought back my prior credits. However, it still didn’t show on my ABS. I bought the credits back 10/2016. It is already 02/2019. When will the prior credits show and count towards my total credits?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      To get the account-specific information you need, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  20. Patti Lloyd

    How many hours constitutes a “day?” For example, when I worked part time, my shifts were generally 3 or 4 hours.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The number of hours in a standard work day is established by your employer. Generally, it’s between six and eight hours.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      A NYSLRS member may request credit for past service if they: 

      • Worked for a participating employer before joining NYSLRS;
      • Worked for a public employer that later participated in NYSLRS;
      • Received an honorable discharge from active military duty; or
      • Had a previous membership in NYSLRS or another New York State public retirement system.

      Usually, service with the federal government is not creditable, but there can be exceptions.

      For information about your particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form (see link below). One of our representatives will review your questions and respond. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      http://www.emailnyslrs.com/

      Reply
  21. Jeanne M Martinez

    I worked 1986 and 1987 through NYS SYEP, does this time count for my retirement? And would buying it back effect my tier?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally members can only reinstate to an earlier tier of membership if they joined the retirement system while that tier was open. However, you may be able to purchase credit for your time with SYEP. You can find details on our Service Credit for Tiers 2 Through 6 page.

      For information about your specific circumstances, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account to address your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  22. debbie Miller

    After i retire, I am going to be working part time for the same municipality.. Can i use the new part time that i work in the years to come to be added to my retirement after i retire?

    Reply
  23. Jeff dillon

    Is part time service credit calculated to the day exactly or does it round to the month, or half year, or year, etc.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Your service credit is prorated if you work part-time. Generally, we take your total days worked as reported by your employer and divide it by the number of workdays in a year (usually 260) to calculate your years of service.

      We report the total amount of service credit you earn each year in your Member Annual Statement (MAS). The most recent statement went out this past summer.

      For information about your specific situation, or if you need to request a reprint of your MAS, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and get back to you. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      Generally, you can receive service credit for working for more than one employer at a time. However, NYSLRS members can’t receive credit for more than one year of service per year.

      If you have questions about your particular situation, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We’re sorry; 1099-R tax forms cannot be viewed online or downloaded. They will be mailed by January 31.

      Reply
  24. kirsten ewing

    Is their a program that offers an employee who was part time for a period to buy back credit for full time service?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Early age penalties are generally based on your age, not how much service credit you have.

      If you are a Tier 3 or 4 member who is trying to reach 30 years of service to retire before age 62, you cannot use your sick leave credit to qualify for the better retirement calculation.

      You may wish to email our customer service representatives using our secure email form at http://www.emailNYSLRS.com. You tell them when you are thinking of retiring and ask if there will be a penalty and they can review your account to answer your questions. Please allow 5 – 7 business days for a response.

      Reply
  25. Laurianne K Curley

    I would like to receive my annual statement, as I have moved from New York.

    **Comment edited by NYSLRS to remove personal information**

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      The Member Annual Statement mailing begins this month. Most members can expect to receive their statements by mid-July. Your statement will be mailed to the address we had on file for you as of March 31, 2016. If you moved after March 31 and have not yet notified us of your new address, please fill out and send us a Change of Address (RS5512) form so we can keep your file up-to-date.

      Reply
      1. julie delaney

        Can you tell me how much it is to buy back time. I submitted the paperwork Nov 2017 and have not received information on this

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS

          We’re sorry; the NYSLRS social media team doesn’t have access to your account information. To check the status of your request to purchase service credit, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and get back to you. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

          Reply

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