March 30, 2021 - The State Employee Retirements System (SERS) has released the following statement regarding the back pay issue that some retirees have been enduring for several years:

"The pandemic has had a significant impact on operations at SERS.  In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Orders and a strong commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our employees, for more than a year, SERS employees have been rotating between working from home and working at the office.  Throughout the pandemic, the building’s capacity has been limited to between 20% and 50%, depending primarily on the severity of the local infection rate.  Consequently, we have focused on processing and paying new benefit claims and ensuring those receiving benefits continue to receive the monthly benefit on time.

Prior to the pandemic, the SERS Board of Trustees provided resources to allow several SERS retirees to be brought back to work contractually to assist in the processing of back wage adjustments.  The goal at the time was to complete all adjustments by the end of 2020.  With the onset of the pandemic, these retirees, who were demographically vulnerable to the virus were sent home.  They have not yet been back to the office.  These retirees were unable to effectively work remotely, so the entire workload of processing adjustments fell back to the full-time employees, who have made some progress under very difficult circumstances.

We have completed the adjustments resulting from the Quinn Administration wage freeze.  We are optimistic the adjustments related to the Rauner Administration back wages will occur more quickly, as the detailed agency payroll data provided to SERS is much better than the data provided for the Quinn wage freeze.  We are hoping to complete all adjustment by the end of 2021, and we will start providing progress updates after the launch of our new website later this spring."