Important Reciprocity Update

Date: Jun 24, 2019


SDCERS administers the pension plans for three plan sponsors - the City of San Diego, the San Diego Unified Port District, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Your ability to establish reciprocity depends on which plan sponsor you intend to work for, so please review this information carefully.

If you are currently working at a California government agency that participates in reciprocity, and you are considering employment with the Port or Airport, you can apply to establish reciprocity.

If you are currently working at a California government agency that participates in reciprocity, and you are considering employment with the City of San Diego, please note that only sworn police officers may join the City of San Diego’s pension plan. The City’s pension plan was closed on July 20, 2012, following the passage of City Proposition B, to all new hires except sworn police officers.

If you are not a sworn police officer, or enrolled in the Police Academy, you CANNOT establish reciprocity with the City of San Diego because there is no pension plan available for non-sworn officers to join.

Note that following the passage of Proposition B, the Court ordered the City to compensate affected union employees for violating certain labor laws. SDCERS is not a party to this lawsuit, and is not a decision maker regarding Proposition B. Once a decision is reached, SDCERS will be informed of any required course of action and perform any services needed to administer the plan. The outcome is currently unknown, and the information here is the most recent available to help you in making any decisions regarding reciprocity and future employment.

Reciprocity is an agreement among certain California public retirement systems, including SDCERS, which allows members to change jobs between “reciprocal” retirement systems in California and combine service credit in each system to meet vesting and eligibility requirements.

If you currently work for the City, Port or Airport and are considering employment with a public agency that has reciprocity with SDCERS (outgoing reciprocity), or if you are thinking of coming to SDCERS from a reciprocal agency (incoming reciprocity), there are specific criteria you must meet to establish reciprocity with SDCERS.

  • Ensure the other system participates in California’s reciprocity agreement. 
  • Your termination date and next employment start date must be within 180 days.
  • Ensure that you do not overlap employment or service credit with SDCERS and a reciprocal agency. 
    • SDCERS will not allow reciprocity if you have not terminated employment with a SDCERS plan sponsor prior to your start date with the new employer or vice-versa.
    • Do not use vacation leave, causing an overlap of employment and start your next job.
  • You must submit a request to and be granted reciprocity by the agencies.

To submit a reciprocity request, log on to your secure Member Portal at
Once you have accessed your personal Member Portal account, select Reciprocity from the left menu, select the Reciprocal Agency Name and Reciprocity Direction from the drop down menus, and click the Submit button. You will receive a letter via US Mail stating whether your reciprocity has been approved or denied.

For more information, review the Reciprocity Fact Sheet.

Document Under Categories: News Articles, Reciprocity