Retirement Program for Firefighters and Police in Los Angeles: Drastic Changes On the Horizon

By: JML Law | February 9, 2018.
Retirement Program for Firefighters and Police in Los Angeles: Drastic Changes On the Horizon

A retirement program for Los Angeles firefighters and police officers could see dramatic changes in the next months, as California is actively assessing the costs and consequences of its controversial retirement program that has been adopted and then dropped by many cities over the past years.

Los Angeles could introduce drastic changes to or nullify the controversial retirement program called Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). In recent years, the DROP has been dropped by many Californian cities because it is too costly, but it still persists in Los Angeles.

Our Los Angeles employment law attorney at JML Law has reviewed the ongoing controversy surrounding the DROP to say whether abandoning the program would or wouldn’t violate California employment laws.

Many seem to worry about the high cost of the program, arguing that the budget of Los Angeles could burst like a bubble no longer being able to afford expensive pension checks, but nobody seems to take the interests of the retired employees into account.

What’s the problem with Los Angeles’s retirement program

The major problem of the DROP, according to a recent report by the Los Angeles Times, is that the retirement program allows retired public employees to not only collect both a pension and a salary at the same time, but also provides them with generous disability leave and workers’ compensation benefits, which – in many cases – aren’t justified or fair.

Sure, collecting enormous paychecks while not working for months or years may seem like easy money, but let’s not forget that those retired firefighters and police officers, who retire when they reach the age of 50, have been putting their neck on the line for decades.

Dropping the DROP based on a questionable assumption that it’s costly because many public employees take advantage of the program’s flaws is plain wrong, our best employment law attorneys in Los Angeles argue.

After all, these people have been rescuing the lives of Los Angeles residents for decades, risking their own lives, and ensuring the safety of locals.

Retirement program under review in LA

The DROP is now under review in Los Angeles, as a string of cities have abandoned the retirement program over concerns that it was costing them a massive amount of money.

Overall, the DROP is a good retirement program. Bureaucracy and the city’s failure to properly implement the program and its failure to monitor the public employees receiving benefits under the program is the main problem here.

Critics of the program argue that a firefighter or police officer in Los Angeles can apply for the DROP, get paid double (salary + pension, which is 90% of the salary), and even spend years on the payroll while out for years on medical leave.

But what they don’t seem to realize is that being a firefighter or police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Many firefighters and police officers in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California never get to reach their pension-eligible age of 50, which is why the DROP exists.

It exists for a reason: to say “thank you” from all residents of the city which public employees served for decades and protected the lives of the locals.

Our Los Angeles employment law attorneys at JML Law warn employees who are reaching their retirement age that the city could adopt a new retirement program anytime soon, which is why you may want to consult an attorney to know your best options.

Speak to our attorneys today to find out more about your particular case. Call our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email to get a free consultation.

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