Full-time employees of an SDRS participating employer are required to participate in the South Dakota Retirement System. The definition of a full-time employee is any employee who is considered full-time by the participating unit and is customarily employed by the participating unit for 20 hours or more a week and at least six months a year, regardless of classification of employment as seasonal, temporary, leased, contract, or any other designation.
The following employees are required to participate in SDRS, provided they meet the full-time employee criteria:
- Probationary positions
- Employees working for more than one participating employer
- Federal- and state-financed positions
- Retired members
- County and city hospital employees
- Police officers and firefighters
- Elected/appointed officials may choose to participate (For additional information: Elected Officials brochure)
The following employees are excluded from participating in SDRS:
- All elective officers except justices and judges, unless such person elects and is otherwise qualified to become a member of the system
- All Department of Labor employees hired before July 1, 1980, and elected to remain in the former plan (Department of Labor Pension Plan and its membership were merged into SDRS effective July 1, 2020)
- Members of the governing body of any participating county, municipality, or other political subdivision
- All personnel employed by the City of Sioux Falls before July 1, 2013
- Independent contractors
- Professional consultants
- Emergency workers hired to perform services following an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster
- Patients and inmates
- Work-relief programs
- Athletic officials
Special School-Related Situations
Teachers: a teacher is any person who has a valid teacher's certificate issued by the state of South Dakota and who is employed by a public school district on a full-time basis. Certified teachers performing classified jobs, such as teacher's aides, must participate in SDRS if they meet the full-time employment standard, even if the school district does not cover classified employees.
Substitute Teachers: a substitute teacher who does not meet the full-time employment standard, even if certified, is not eligible to participate in SDRS.
Tutors: teachers who work as tutors and are paid directly by the student or student's parent are not considered school employees. Teachers employed by a school district to instruct homebound students must participate in SDRS if they meet the full-time employment standard.
Classified Employees: if a school district has chosen to cover its classified employees, all full-time employees in the following positions must participate in SDRS:
- Teacher's aides and paraprofessionals
- Non-certified professionals
- Bus drivers
- Cafeteria employees
- Security guards employed by the school
- Crossing guards employed by the school