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Program Highlights to Help Balance Home, Work, and Life

Program Highlights to Help Balance Home, Work, and Life

Informational Resources

Pre-Retirement Planning

What to Know About Employees’ Retirement System Tier 6

Tier status is a major factor in determining your New York State & Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retirement benefits. Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members who joined NYSLRS on or after April 1, 2012, are in Tier 6. They have plenty of company. There were 205,020 ERS Tier 6 members as of March 31, 2018, making up one-third of ERS membership.

ERS Tier 6 members contribute to the Retirement System based on their earnings, but the amount of their pensions will be determined by years of service and final average salary, not by the amount of their contributions.

ERS Tier 6 Membership Milestones

ERS Tier 6 members need ten years of service credit to become vested. Once vested, they’re eligible for a lifetime pension benefit as early as age 55, but if they retire before the full retirement age of 63, their benefit will be reduced. Tier 6 correction officers, however, can retire with 25 years of service, regardless of age, without penalty.

The Final Average Salary (FAS) Calculation

An ERS Tier 6 member’s final average salary is the average of their earnings in the five highest-paid consecutive years of employment. Earnings in any year included in the period cannot exceed the average earnings of the previous four years by more than 10 percent.

Tier 6 Service Retirement Benefit

Generally, if an ERS Tier 6 member retires with less than 20 years, the benefit is 1.66 percent of their final average salary for each year of service. If a member retires with exactly 20 years of service, the benefit is 1.75 percent of their final average salary for each year of service (35 percent of the member’s final average salary).

If a member retires with more than 20 years of service, they receive 35 percent for the first 20 years, plus 2 percent for each additional year. For example, a member with 35 years of service can retire at 63 with a pension worth 65 percent of their final average salary.

For information on Tiers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 go to:

Information source: New York Retirement News, the Official Blog of the New York State & Local Retirement System, December 2019 issue

For Pre-Retirement Planning information, go to: Pre-Retirement Planning.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 

Effective Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Another year has ended and many of us strive for change with a new set of New Year’s resolutions. Many previous resolutions were probably broken in weeks, days, or even hours. So, how do you make this positive change more successful this time? Here are some helpful tips to make your resolutions work for you.

  1. Keep your resolutions simple and realistic. You don’t have to overhaul your entire lifestyle. The best approach is to focus on one or two areas of your life that mean most to you. Pick a goal that is achievable (e.g., lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with my children).   
  2. Have a plan to achieve your goals. What’s the plan to reach your goal? It’s important to have a plan that leads to your overall success (e.g., walking 30 minutes, five days a week, lose one to two pounds per week by avoiding desserts and second portions). Assess your progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  3. Receive support. Let the people around you know about your resolutions to create more accountability and gain support when you need it. Let them know of ways they can help to achieve your goal (e.g., send me encouraging text messages, don’t offer me desserts or second portions).
  4. Don’t give up! You will fall short at times, but the most the important thing is to continue with your plan of self-improvement despite a bump in the road. When it happens, you will need to draw on your inner strength and focus on your recent success and avoid self-criticism. 

For assistance with information, assessment or referrals about your New Year’s resolutions or other issues, contact your agency EAP coordinator. To find your EAP coordinator, consult the agency coordinator listing or call 1-800-822-0244. 


Network Child Care Centers

Exercise Ideas to Keep Your Kids Active This Winter

We’re all aware that regular physical activity is important and has many health benefits. But even some very active kids have a difficult time keeping the exercise going during the winter months. It’s cold, it’s dark earlier, and the couch is so inviting.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children and adolescents ages 6-17 receive 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. This should include aerobic activity as well as age-appropriate muscle and bone strengthening activities like push-ups, jumping rope, and running.

Nearly 80% of adolescents aren’t getting enough aerobic exercise to meet these guidelines. And during the winter months, adolescents are a lot less active than they are in the summer months. Helping kids meet these guidelines can help promote a healthy weight and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Here are some ideas to help them beat the winter exercise blues:

Go Outside

Just because it’s cold outside does not mean you have to stay inside! The key is to bundle up. Dress in layers, wear boots instead of gym shoes, thicker, warmer socks, a hat at all times, and mittens or gloves. Moving around outside and getting your heart rate up will help keep you warm as well. Encourage your kids to walk the dog, go to the park, shoot basketball, or play outside with friends.

Try Another Indoor Location

Especially in the winter months, getting out of the house can help prevent cabin fever. Try choosing a location that also incorporates physical activity like a bowling alley, local gym, indoor basketball court, roller rink, or an indoor pool.

Check Out a New Indoor Class

If you’re looking to get your kids involved in something fun and consistent, enroll them in a class. It’s a great way to try something new, be active, and meet new people. Trying new things is a great way to figure out what they might like. There are many classes throughout the communities that are inexpensive and easy to do.

Try an Exercise Video

If you have trouble getting to a class or don’t like group activities, have your kids try a kid-friendly exercise video. If you’re looking for an actual exercise video, check out the selection at the library before you buy them. 

Workout While Gaming

If your kids love video games, why not incorporate some physical activity at the same time? Although it’s probably not as beneficial as outdoor play, the latest gaming systems offer some great, family-friendly options to get everybody moving. And it can be done from the warmth of your living room.

Do More Everyday Activities

Everyday activities can count as exercise too, so long as your kids are getting their heart rates up, like walking the dog, getting the mail, or going to the park. Incorporating these activities into your kids’ daily routines will help them develop a healthy lifestyle that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Parents should encourage an hour a day, but these activities can be accumulated throughout the day not necessarily all at once.

Limit Screen Time

It’s worth noting that children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen, which includes TV, video games, computers, and iPads. This is likely one of the reasons why kids today just aren’t getting enough physical activity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit their kids’ screen time to two hours or less a day. By doing this, kids are much more likely to be active.

In order for kids to find exercise fun, they need lots of variety. And when they find exercise fun, they’re much more likely to stick with it over an extended period of time. Avoid the boredom factor by offering as many different options for activity as possible. Plus, trying new physical activities together as a family will not only benefit your kids’ health, but can help fight the winter exercise blues too. So, get up, get moving, and stay active this winter!

Information Source: Cincinnati Children at:

For information on the Network Child Care Centers, go to: Network Child Care Centers.

Welcome to the Family Packet

Work-Life Services offers a Welcome to the Family Packet. Raising a child is an exciting and challenging experience. Today’s families often face unique circumstances trying to balance their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The Welcome to the Family Packet will outline these benefit programs as well as provide informative resources to support you through the rewarding experience of raising a child. We invite you to request a Welcome to the Family Packet for yourself or a family member who has recently welcomed a child into their family. Email your request along with your name and home mailing address to: [email protected].

For more information on the Network Child Care Centers, go to: Network Child Care Centers.

Elder Care Resources

Are you caring for an elderly family member or close friend?

Today’s families face unique circumstances trying to balance the responsibilities of caring for an elderly loved one while managing other demands. Work-Life Services now offers Caring for Your Elderly Loved One, an educational resource packet for employees who are caring for an elderly person. The packet includes a comprehensive guide to resources for older New Yorkers as well as information about memory loss, legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease, older drivers, Medicare, long-distance caregiving, advanced care planning, end of life decisions, and much more. 

To request a Caring for Your Elderly Loved One educational resource packet, click on the email link under Contact Us on the left side of the Work-Life Services homepage or email [email protected] to request the educational resource packet. You will need to provide your name and home mailing address.