72-1444. Refund to firefighter terminating employment - Repayment on reemployment - Conversion of contributions - Purchase of service credits.
(1) If the employment of a paid firefighter, irrespective of date of hire, as defined in this chapter, is terminated for any reason prior to the completion of twenty (20) years of service, and he cannot qualify for benefits under any other provision of this chapter, he shall be entitled to receive at the time of said termination one hundred percent (100%) of his accumulated contributions. If such firefighter is subsequently reemployed as a paid firefighter with duties which involve or are incidental to firefighting, he may reinstate his previous credited service by repaying to the retirement fund the full amount of his accumulated contributions provided such repayment includes payment of interest as determined by the board.
(2) In lieu of withdrawing his accumulated contributions as provided in subsection (1) of this section, a paid firefighter may elect to convert his accumulated contributions to an equivalent benefit entitlement under the provisions of chapter 13, title 59, Idaho Code, as if such contributions had been made by the firefighter at the contribution rate of a paid firefighter under the provisions of chapter 13, title 59, Idaho Code; this conversion will normally result in a higher "years of service" factor than the firefighter actually served under the provisions of chapter 14, title 72, Idaho Code. It is legislative intent that this is precisely the effect to be achieved.
(3) No paid firefighter may elect to proceed under the provisions of subsection (2) until he has been personally interviewed and advised by the director of the public employee retirement system, or his designee, on the choices available. The firefighter may be accompanied during such interview by any person of his choice.
(4) Paid firefighters who did not participate as a member of the system between January 1, 1978, and December 31, 1981, because of termination from employment due to reductions in work force may purchase service credits for all or part of that period. The cost of such service credit shall be the full actuarial cost as determined by the board and shall be paid in full prior to the effective date of retirement. The employer may elect, but is not required, to participate in purchasing service credit under this section. In no event shall the retirement system be liable for payment of any such costs. Terminations from employment due to a reduction in work force are limited to terminations that resulted from the elimination of a position due to budgetary constraints.
[(72-1444) I.C., sec. 72-1429Q, as added by 1963, ch. 125, sec. 20, p. 358; am. 1972, ch. 43, sec. 1, p. 66; am. 1980, ch. 50, sec. 29, p. 94; 1990, am. and redesignated, ch. 231, sec. 94, p. 656; am. 1991, ch. 26, sec. 2, p. 50; am. 2000, ch. 322, sec. 1, p. 1089.]