Critical Shortage Employment

Critical Shortage Employment is a legal provision that allows PSRS retirees to return to work for covered employers while continuing to receive PSRS service retirement benefits. The work may be part-time or full-time, and can be in a certificated or non-certificated position. To be employed under this provision, your employer must certify with PSRS that there is a critical shortage of qualified applicants for the position, and that they have met the necessary requirements to declare a critical shortage.

If you work after retirement for a covered employer that has declared a critical shortage, you can work for up to 48 months without losing your PSRS benefits. The 48 months of employment do not have to be consecutive – there can be breaks in the employment. However, you cannot work more than 48 months total under this provision throughout your retirement. You do not pay PSRS contributions or earn service while working under this provision.

If you work under this provision and also work in an additional position(s) that is not covered by the Critical Shortage as certified by your employer, the additional position(s) is subject to the separate working after retirement limit(s) that apply, based on whether that position requires a DESE-issued certificate.


Gary is retired and returns to work for a PSRS-covered school district as a physics teacher under Critical Shortage employment. In addition, he will coach volleyball.

Under the Critical Shortage provision, Gary is limited to working a maximum of 48 months as a physics teacher.

His additional duty as a coach is subject to an annual salary limit, since it is a non-certificated position and not part of his Critical Shortage employment.

An employer can hire a maximum of 1% of the school district's total certificated and non-certificated staff, or five individual certificated teachers, whichever is greater, to work under this provision. Employers cannot use the Critical Shortage provision to fill the position of superintendent.

In order to employ retirees under this provision, the employer must:

  • Not have offered early retirement incentives for either of the previous two school years
  • Post the vacancy or vacancies for at least one month
  • Solicit applications through the local newspaper, other media, or teacher education programs
  • Make a good faith effort to fill positions with non-retired employees
  • Determine that there is an insufficient number of eligible applicants for the advertised position(s)
  • Declare a shortage of certificated or non-certificated employees