Benefits Summary


All regular Water Authority employees are members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).  Employees are enrolled in one of the following retirement formulas based on date of hire. 

Membership Category* Hire Date Retirement Formula Final Compensation Period
Classic Hired on or before Dec. 31, 2012

2.5% @ 55

Highest Single Year
New Member Hired on or after Jan. 1, 2013

2% @ 62

3 Years Average

*Membership Category - CalPERS will identify each new member as either a "Classic" or a "New Member" of the system based on the prior work history of the individual.

Classic:  New employees who are current members of CalPERS or an agency with CalPERS’ reciprocity, or who have less than a six month break in service between employment in a CalPERS (or reciprocal) agency and employment with the Water Authority will be enrolled in the 2.5% @ 55 benefit formula and contribute 8% of salary to CalPERS. The following is a summary of the CalPERS contract provisions for "Classic" members:

a.    Final Compensation Period: 1 Year.

b.    Employer-Paid Member Contribution (EPMC): The Water Authority pays 7% of the employee's share of retirement contributions to CalPERS and the value of the 7% member contribution is reported to CalPERS as additional compensation. 

c.    Military Service Credit as Public Service.

d.    Annual Cost-of-Living Allowance (Maximum 3 percent).

e.    Pre-Retirement Option 2W Death Benefit.

New Members: As defined by the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), "New Members" are employees who have never been a member of any California public retirement system before January 1, 2013, or moved between public retirement systems lacking reciprocity, or moved between employers in the same public retirement system with more than 6 months of break in service. New Members are enrolled in the 2% @ 62 benefit formula and contribute 6.5% of salary to CalPERS. The following is a summary of the CalPERS contract provisions for "New Members":

a.    Final Compensation Period:  3 Year Average.

b.    Military Service Credit as Public Service.

c.    Annual Cost-of-Living Allowance (Maximum 3 percent).

d.    Pre-Retirement Option 2W Death Benefit.

e.    Compensation Limit for purposes of calculating retirement - $117,020* (2015)

*Because the Water Authority coordinates with Social Security, New Members have a cap on the compensation used to calculate the CalPERS retirement benefit equal to the Social Security wage base, or $117,020 in 2015.  The actual compensation cap depends on the year of retirement and is adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.  This is not a limit on the amount of annual salary an employee may earn - it is simply an upper limit for purposes of applying the retirement formula.

Social Security / Medicare:

Employees are covered under the provisions of Federal Social Security (OASDI) and Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI).  The total employee contribution is 7.65% of salary.

Health Coverage

The Water Authority maintains two alternate employee health plans inclusive of dental and vision; one identified as the “basic plan” and one identified as the “premium plan.” Currently, the basic plan is the Kaiser HMO plan and the premium plan is the Aetna Healthcare plan. All medical plans feature a chiropractic benefit.  Employees pay the monthly premiums for the “premium” plan for costs that exceed the “basic” medical plan family coverage (which is paid 100%).

Employees who waive Water Authority medical, dental, vision and chiropractic benefits receive $84 per month ($1,008 per year), deposited into a Flexible Spending Account. Coverage is effective on the first of the month following date of hire.

Dental Insurance

Included in the health plans listed above, the Water Authority provides dental coverage through Delta Dental for employee and all eligible dependents. Coverage is effective on the first of the month following date of hire.

Vision Insurance

Included in the health plans listed above, the Water Authority provides vision coverage through VSP for the employee and all eligible dependents. Coverage is effective on the first of the month following date of hire.

Life and Accident Insurance

Employer provides Group Life and Accident insurance as follows: Employee $50,000, Dependent Spouse $5,000, and Dependent child $2,000. Additional coverage for Confidential, Senior Management and Executive staff. Coverage is effective on date of hire.

Long-Term Disability

Employer provides long-term disability insurance equal to 66 2/3% of monthly pay subject to a maximum schedule amount of $7,400 per month. Benefits begin on the 61st day of absence due to illness or injury.

Deferred Compensation

The Water Authority’s Deferred Compensation Plan is provided by TIAA-CREF.

Flexible Spending Account

Employees may contribute pre tax earnings into a flexible spending account for both health and dependent care expenses.


The Water Authority provides 12 days (96 hours) of paid vacation leave per year, escalating with time of service after four years.

Sick Leave

The Water Authority provides 12 days (96 hours) of paid sick leave.


The Water Authority observes 13 holidays each year, including two floating holidays.

Tuition Reimbursement

Employer may reimburse 100% of the actual cost paid for tuition up to a maximum of $3,000; $3,001 - $4,500, 50% employer paid.

Alternative Work Week

Work schedules are developed on a departmental basis to assure that appropriate staff is available to perform needed work. The most common schedules are:

Kearny Mesa: 9/80 Schedule; Offices closed every other Friday.
Escondido Office: Field Staff work 4/10 Schedule; Every Friday off

Wellness Center

Use of on-site fitness facility at no cost. Opportunity to participate in a Wellness Program by attending Water Authority sponsored, on-site wellness training and screening sessions.

Employee Assistance Program

Confidential third party personal counseling, financial and legal advice, and more. Available to employees and their dependents.

Employees' Association

Employees have the option to join the Employees' Association. Events and reduced ticket prices offered to employees through this association include the annual picnic, wellness classes, holiday party, sporting events, movie tickets, and much more.