California public employees can’t ‘spike’ pensions by working extra hours, top court rules

California
In this Oct. 27, 2011, file photo, Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart showing some of his proposals to rollback public employee pension benefits during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

In this Oct. 27, 2011, file photo, Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart showing some of his proposals to rollback public employee pension benefits during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The California Supreme Court says public employees can’t pad their pensions by working extra hours and cashing out unused vacation and sick leave just before retiring.  

The court ruled unanimously Thursday that so-called pension spiking is not protected under state law that holds that retirement benefits, once promised, cannot be touched.

The high court said a 2013 law designed to keep certain benefits from padding employees’ pensions was intended to close loopholes and prevent pension abuse.

Michael Colantuono is an attorney for the League of California Cities and says the ruling is a big win for local government trying to control escalating pension costs. 

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