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Critical Shortage Waiver — 2021 Update

Governor Baker announced on 5/17/2021 that the State of Emergency will conclude on 6/15/2021.

Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 waived the M.G.L. c. 32, § 91 earnings and hours restrictions for superannuation public retirees working in the public sector. Chapter 53 was applicable in calendar year 2020 during the period of the Governor's State of Emergency, which began on March 10, 2020.

With the signing of the FY 2021 budget into law on December 11, 2020 as Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2020, the exemptions on earnings and hours restrictions for superannuation public retirees working in the public sector was extended to calendar year 2021, pursuant to Section 68 of this Act. As it had worked for 2020, the exemptions are in place for the duration of the Governor's State of Emergency, or the end of Calendar Year 2021, whichever occurs first.

Beginning on 6/16/2021, a retiree's earnings and hours are no longer exempt. On 6/16/2021, the retiree's earnings and hours will begin at zero. Between 6/16/2021 – 12/31/2021, the educator cannot work more than 960 hours and the amount that he/she can earn is equal to the difference between the annual amount currently being paid for the position from which they retired, and his/her annual pension.

If the retiree is going to exceed 960 hours and/or their earnings limit between 7/1/2021 – 12/31/2021 then a Critical Shortage Waiver will be necessary. Given that the retiree's earning and hours were at zero as of 6/16/2021, it is possible that a minor modification to the work schedule may keep the retiree under the 960 hours and/or earnings by 12/31/2021. Also, in many cases, a waiver may not be needed until November or December.

For a 7/1/2021 – 12/31/2021 Critical Shortage Waiver to be granted, the district must demonstrate that a good faith effort was made to hire appropriately licensed personnel who are not retired. Our office will be looking for the traditional documentation such as a rationale for the waiver and two job postings. As a reminder, a retiree's hours and earnings will be at zero on January 1, 2022 which in many cases might mean that a waiver is not necessary for the remainder of the second half of the school year.

Last Updated: May 21, 2021

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