Chapter 41.18 RCW

FIREFIGHTERS' RELIEF AND PENSIONS1955 ACT

Sections

41.18.010Definitions.
41.18.015Pension boards in fire districts createdMembersTermsVacanciesOfficersQuorum.
41.18.020Powers and duties of board.
41.18.030Contributions by firefighters.
41.18.040Retirement for serviceWidow's or widower's pensionPayments to children.
41.18.042Actuarially reduced retirement allowanceSpousal benefit.
41.18.045Pension benefits for widows or widowers of unretired, eligible firefightersRetroactive.
41.18.050Disablement in line of dutyRetirement.
41.18.060Disablement in line of dutyInactive periodAllowanceMedical, hospital, nursing care.
41.18.080Payment upon disablement not in line of duty.
41.18.090Examination of disability pensionersRestoration to active duty.
41.18.100Payment on death in line of duty or while retired on account of service-connected disability.
41.18.102Applicability of RCW 41.18.040 and 41.18.100.
41.18.104Annual increase in benefits payable on retirement for service or disabilityAppeals.
41.18.130Payment on separationWith less than twenty-five years service or less than fifty years of ageOption to be classified as vested firefighter.
41.18.140Funeral expenses.
41.18.150Credit for military service.
41.18.160Certain firefighters may elect to be covered under other law.
41.18.165Credit for membership in private organization acquired by municipality.
41.18.170Application of chapter.
41.18.180Firefighter contributor under prior law may obtain benefits of chapterRefunds.
41.18.190Transfer of membership authorized.
41.18.200Minimum pension.
41.18.210Transfer of credit from city employees' retirement system to firefighters' pension system.
41.18.900ConstructionChapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships2009 c 521.

NOTES:

Prior acts relating to firefighters' relief and pensions: 1935 c 39; 1929 c 86; 1919 c 196; 1909 c 50 were repealed by 1947 c 91 § 12 (codified as RCW 41.16.230).
Firefighters' relief and pensions1947 act: Chapter 41.16 RCW.
Volunteer firefighters' relief and pensions: Chapter 41.24 RCW.


Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, unless clearly indicated otherwise by the context, words and phrases shall have the meaning hereinafter ascribed.
(1) "Basic salary" means the basic monthly salary, including longevity pay, attached to the rank held by the retired firefighter at the date of his or her retirement, without regard to extra compensation which such firefighter may have received for special duties assignments not acquired through civil service examination: PROVIDED, That such basic salary shall not be deemed to exceed the salary of a battalion chief.
(2) "Beneficiary" shall mean any person or persons designated by a firefighter in a writing filed with the board, and who shall be entitled to receive any benefits of a deceased firefighter under this chapter.
(3) "Board" shall mean the municipal firefighters' pension board.
(4) "Child" or "children" means a firefighter's child or children under the age of eighteen years, unmarried, and in the legal custody of such firefighter at the time of his death or her death.
(5) "Contributions" shall mean and include all sums deducted from the salary of firefighters and paid into the fund as hereinafter provided.
(6) "Disability" shall mean and include injuries or sickness sustained by a firefighter.
(7) "Earned interest" means and includes all annual increments to the firefighters' pension fund from income earned by investment of the fund. The earned interest payable to any firefighter when he or she leaves the service and accepts his or her contributions, shall be that portion of the total earned income of the fund which is directly attributable to each individual firefighter's contributions. Earnings of the fund for the preceding year attributable to individual contributions shall be allocated to individual firefighters' accounts as of January 1st of each year.
(8) "Fire department" shall mean the regularly organized, full time, paid, and employed force of firefighters of the municipality.
(9) "Firefighter" means any person hereafter regularly or temporarily, or as a substitute newly employed and paid as a member of a fire department, who has passed a civil service examination for firefighters and who is actively employed as a firefighter or, if provided by the municipality by appropriate local legislation, as a fire dispatcher: PROVIDED, Nothing in chapter 209, Laws of 1969 ex. sess. shall impair or permit the impairment of any vested pension rights of persons who are employed as fire dispatchers at the time chapter 209, Laws of 1969 ex. sess. takes effect; and any person heretofore regularly or temporarily, or as a substitute, employed and paid as a member of a fire department, and who has contributed under and been covered by the provisions of chapter 41.16 RCW as now or hereafter amended and who has come under the provisions of this chapter in accordance with RCW 41.18.170 and who is actively engaged as a firefighter or as a member of the fire department as a firefighter or fire dispatcher.
(10) "Fund" shall have the same meaning as in RCW 41.16.010 as now or hereafter amended. Such fund shall be created in the manner and be subject to the provisions specified in chapter 41.16 RCW as now or hereafter amended.
(11) "Municipality" shall mean every city, town and fire protection district having a regularly organized full time, paid, fire department employing firefighters.
(12) "Performance of duty" shall mean the performance of work or labor regularly required of firefighters and shall include services of an emergency nature normally rendered while off regular duty.
(13) "Retired firefighter" means and includes a person employed as a firefighter and retired under the provisions of this chapter.
(14) "Widow or widower" means the surviving spouse of a firefighter and shall include the surviving wife, husband, or state registered domestic partner of a firefighter, retired on account of length of service, who was lawfully married to, or in a state registered domestic partnership with, him or to her for a period of five years prior to the time of his or her retirement; and the surviving wife, husband, or state registered domestic partner of a firefighter, retired on account of disability, who was lawfully married to, or in a state registered domestic partnership with, him or her at and prior to the time he or she sustained the injury or contracted the illness resulting in his or her disability. The word shall not mean the divorced wife or husband or former state registered domestic partner of an active or retired firefighter.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: The definitions in this section have been alphabetized pursuant to RCW 1.08.015(2)(k).
Effective dates2009 c 521 §§ 5-8, 79, 87-103, 107, 151, 165, 166, 173-175, and 190-192: See note following RCW 2.10.900.
IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.
Severability1961 c 255: "If any clause, part or section of this act shall be adjudged in violation of the constitution, or for any reason invalid, such judgment shall not affect nor invalidate the remainder of the act, nor any clause, part or section thereof, but such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the clause, part or section directly involved in the controversy in which judgment was rendered, and the balance of the act shall remain in full force and effect." [ 1961 c 255 § 13.]



Pension boards in fire districts createdMembersTermsVacanciesOfficersQuorum.

There is hereby created in each fire protection district which qualifies under this chapter, a firefighters' pension board to consist of the following five members, the chairperson of the fire commissioners for said district who shall be chairperson of the board, the county auditor, county treasurer, and in addition, two regularly employed or retired firefighters elected by secret ballot of the employed and retired firefighters. Retired members who are subject to the jurisdiction of the pension board have both the right to elect and the right to be elected under this section. The first members to be elected by the firefighters shall be elected annually for a two-year term. The two firefighter elected members shall, in turn, select a third eligible member who shall serve in the event of an absence of one of the regularly elected members. In case a vacancy occurs in the membership of the firefighter or retired members, the members shall in the same manner elect a successor to serve the unexpired term. The board may select and appoint a secretary who may, but need not be a member of the board. In case of absence or inability of the chairperson to act, the board may select a chairperson pro tempore who shall during such absence or inability perform the duties and exercise the powers of the chairperson. A majority of the members of said board shall constitute a quorum and have power to transact business.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Powers and duties of board.

The board, in addition to such general and special powers as are vested in it by the provisions of chapter 41.16 RCW, which powers the board shall have with respect to this chapter shall have power to:
(1) Generally supervise and control the administration of this chapter;
(2) Pass upon and allow or disallow applications for pensions or other benefits provided by this chapter;
(3) Provide for payment from the firefighters' pension fund of necessary expenses of maintenance and administration required by the provisions of this chapter;
(4) Make rules and regulations not inconsistent with this chapter for the purpose of carrying out and effecting the same;
(5) Require the physicians appointed under the provisions of chapter 41.16 RCW, to examine and report to the board upon all applications for relief and pensions under this chapter; and
(6) Perform such acts, receive such compensation and enjoy such immunity as provided in RCW 41.16.040.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Contributions by firefighters.

Every firefighter to whom this chapter applies shall contribute to the firefighters' pension fund a sum equal to six percent of his or her basic salary which shall be deducted therefrom and placed in the fund.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Retirement for serviceWidow's or widower's pensionPayments to children.

Whenever any firefighter, *at the time of taking effect of this act or thereafter, shall have been appointed under civil service rules and have served for a period of twenty-five years or more as a member in any capacity of the regularly constituted fire department of any city, town or fire protection district which may be subject to the provisions of this chapter, and shall have attained the age of fifty years, he or she shall be eligible for retirement and shall be retired by the board upon his or her written request. Upon his or her retirement such firefighter shall be paid a monthly pension which shall be equal to fifty percent of the basic salary now or hereafter attached to the same rank and status held by the said firefighter at the date of his or her retirement: PROVIDED, That a firefighter hereafter retiring who has served as a member for more than twenty-five years, shall have his or her pension payable under this section increased by two percent of the basic salary per year for each full year of such additional service to a maximum of five additional years.
Upon the death of any such retired firefighter, his or her pension shall be paid to his widow or her widower, at the same monthly rate that the retired firefighter would have received had he or she lived, if such widow or widower was his wife or her husband for a period of five years prior to the time of his or her retirement. If there be no widow or widower, then such monthly payments shall be distributed to and divided among his or her children, share and share alike, until they reach the age of eighteen or are married, whichever occurs first.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: The phrase "at the time of taking effect of this act or thereafter" first appears in the 1961 amendment, which became effective at midnight June 7, 1961 (see preface, 1961 session laws). The basic act, 1955 c 382, became effective at midnight June 8, 1955 (see preface, 1955 session laws).
IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.
Applicability1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.18.102.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Actuarially reduced retirement allowanceSpousal benefit.

(1) Any retired firefighter married to a spouse ineligible for survivor benefits under RCW 41.18.040, 41.18.080, and 41.18.100 may choose an actuarially equivalent benefit adopted by the board that pays the retired firefighter a reduced retirement allowance, and upon death such portion of the retired firefighter's reduced retirement allowance as designated by the retired firefighter shall be continued throughout the life of the spouse.
(2) A retired firefighter who married a spouse ineligible for survivor benefits under RCW 41.18.040, 41.18.080, and 41.18.100 prior to July 26, 2009, has one year after July 26, 2009, to designate their spouse as a survivor beneficiary.
(3) The benefit provided to a child survivor beneficiary under RCW 41.18.040, 41.18.080, and 41.18.100 shall not be affected or reduced by the retired firefighter's selection of the actuarially reduced spousal survivor benefit provided by this section, and shall be equivalent to the amount payable as if the choice under subsection (1) of this section was not made.
(4)(a) Any retired firefighter who chose to receive a reduced retirement allowance under subsection (1) of this section is entitled to receive a retirement allowance adjusted in accordance with (b) of this subsection if:
(i) The retiree's survivor spouse designated in subsection (1) of this section predeceases the retiree; and
(ii) The retiree provides to the board proper proof of the designated beneficiary's death.
(b) The retirement allowance payable to the retiree from the beginning of the month following the date of the beneficiary's death shall be the current monthly amount payable as if the selection under subsection (1) of this section was not made.



Pension benefits for widows or widowers of unretired, eligible firefightersRetroactive.

Upon the death of a firefighter who is eligible to retire under RCW 41.18.040 as now or hereafter amended, but who has not retired, a pension shall be paid to his widow or her widower at the same monthly rate that he or she was eligible to receive at the time of his or her death, if such widow or widower was his wife or her husband for a period of five years prior to his or her death. If there be no widow or widower, then such monthly payments shall be distributed to and divided among his or her children, share and share alike, until they reach the age of eighteen or are married, whichever comes first.
This section shall apply retroactively for the benefit of all widows or widowers and survivors of firefighters who died after January 1, 1967, if such firefighters were otherwise eligible to retire on the date of death.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Disablement in line of dutyRetirement.

Every firefighter who shall become disabled as a result of the performance of duty may be retired at the expiration of six months from the date of his or her disability, upon his or her written request filed with his or her retirement board. The board may, upon such request being filed, consult such medical advice as it sees fit, and may have the applicant examined by such physicians as it deems desirable. If from the reports of such physicians the board finds the applicant capable of performing his or her duties in the fire department, the board may refuse to recommend his or her retirement. If, after the expiration of six months from the date of his or her disability, the board deems it for the good of the fire department or the pension fund it may recommend the retirement of a firefighter disabled as a result of the performance of duty without any request for the same by him or her, and after having been given by the board a thirty days' written notice of such recommendation he or she shall be retired.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Disablement in line of dutyInactive periodAllowanceMedical, hospital, nursing care.

Whenever the retirement board, pursuant to examination by the board's physician and such other evidence as it may require, shall find a firefighter has been disabled while in the performance of his or her duties it shall declare the firefighter inactive. For a period of six months from the time of the disability the firefighter shall draw from the pension fund a disability allowance equal to his or her basic monthly salary and, in addition, shall be provided with medical, hospital and nursing care as long as the disability exists. The board may, at its discretion, elect to reimburse the firefighter who is disabled for premiums the firefighter has paid for medical insurance that supplements medicare, including premiums the firefighter has paid for medicare part B coverage. If the board finds at the expiration of six months that the firefighter is unable to return to and perform his or her duties, the firefighter shall be retired at a monthly sum equal to fifty percent of the amount of his or her basic salary at any time thereafter attached to the rank which he or she held at the date of retirement: PROVIDED, That where, at the time of retirement hereafter for disability under this section, the firefighter has served honorably for a period of more than twenty-five years as a member, in any capacity of the regularly constituted fire department of a municipality, the firefighter shall have his or her pension payable under this section increased by two percent of his or her basic salary per year for each full year of additional service to a maximum of five additional years.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Payment upon disablement not in line of duty.

Any firefighter who has completed his or her probationary period and has been permanently appointed, and sustains a disability not in the performance of his or her duty which renders him or her unable to continue his or her service, may request to be retired by filing a written request with his or her retirement board within sixty days from the date of his or her disability. The board may, upon such request being filed, consult such medical advice as it deems fit and proper. If the board finds the firefighter capable of performing his or her duties, it may refuse to recommend retirement and order the firefighter back to duty. If no request for retirement has been received after the expiration of sixty days from the date of his or her disability, the board may recommend retirement of the firefighter. The board shall give the firefighter a thirty-day written notice of its recommendation, and he or she shall be retired upon expiration of said notice. Upon retirement he or she shall receive a pension equal to fifty percent of his or her basic salary. For a period of ninety days following such disability the firefighter shall receive an allowance from the fund equal to his or her basic salary. He or she shall during said ninety days be provided with such medical, hospital, and nursing care as the board deems proper. No funds shall be expended for such disability if the board determines that the firefighter was gainfully employed or engaged for compensation in other than fire department duty when the disability occurred, or if such disability was the result of dissipation or abuse. Whenever any firefighter shall die as a result of a disability sustained not in the line of duty, his widow or her widower shall receive a monthly pension equal to one-third of his or her basic salary; if such widow or widower has dependent upon her or him for support a child or children of such deceased firefighter, he or she shall receive an additional pension as follows: One child, one-eighth of the deceased's basic salary; two children, one-seventh; three or more children, one-sixth. If there be no widow or widower, monthly payments equal to one-third of the deceased firefighter's basic salary shall be made to his or her child or children. The widow or widower may elect at any time in writing to receive a cash settlement, and if the board after hearing finds it financially beneficial to the pension fund, he or she may receive the sum of five thousand dollars cash in lieu of all future monthly pension payments, and other benefits, including benefits to any child and/or children.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.



Examination of disability pensionersRestoration to active duty.

The board shall require all firefighters receiving disability pensions to be examined every six months: PROVIDED, That no such examinations shall be required if upon certification by physicians the board shall formally enter upon its records a finding of fact that the disability is and will continue to be of such a nature that return to active duty can never reasonably be expected. All examinations shall be made by physicians duly appointed by the board. If a firefighter shall willfully fail to present himself or herself for examination, within thirty days after being ordered so to do, he or she shall forfeit all rights under this chapter. If such firefighter, upon examination as aforesaid, shall be found fit for service, he or she shall be restored to duty in the same rank held at the time of his or her retirement, or if unable to perform the duties of said rank then, at his or her request, in such other like or lesser rank as may be or become open and available, the duties of which he or she is then able to perform. The board shall thereupon so notify the firefighter and shall require him or her to resume his or her duties as a member of the fire department. If, upon being so notified, such member shall willfully fail to report for employment within ten days, he or she shall forfeit all rights to any benefit under this chapter.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Payment on death in line of duty or while retired on account of service-connected disability.

In the event a firefighter is killed in the performance of duty, or in the event a firefighter retired on account of service-connected disability shall die from any cause, his widow or her widower shall receive a monthly pension under one of the following applicable provisions: (1) If a firefighter is killed in the line of duty his widow or her widower shall receive a monthly pension equal to fifty percent of his or her basic salary at the time of his or her death; (2) if a firefighter who has retired on account of a service-connected disability dies, his widow or her widower shall receive a monthly pension equal to the amount of the monthly pension such retired firefighter was receiving at the time of his or her death. If she or he at any time so elects in writing and the board after hearing finds it to be financially beneficial to the pension fund, he or she may receive in lieu of all future monthly pension and other benefits, including benefits to child or children, the sum of five thousand dollars in cash. If there be no widow or widower at the time of such firefighter's death or upon the widow's or widower's death the monthly pension benefits provided for under this section shall be paid to and divided among his or her child or children share and share alike, until they reach the age of eighteen or are married, whichever occurs first. A pension payable under the provisions of this section shall not be less than that specified under RCW 41.18.200.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Construction1975 1st ex.s. c 178: See RCW 41.16.921.
Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Applicability of RCW 41.18.040 and 41.18.100.

The provisions of RCW 41.18.040 and 41.18.100 shall be applicable to all firefighters employed prior to March 1, 1970, but shall not apply to any former firefighter who has terminated his or her employment prior to July 1, 1969.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Annual increase in benefits payable on retirement for service or disabilityAppeals.

The amount of all benefits payable under the provisions of RCW 41.18.040, 41.18.080, 41.18.100 and 41.18.200 as now or hereafter amended, shall be increased annually as hereafter in this section provided. The local pension board shall meet subsequent to March 31st but prior to June 30th of each year for the purpose of adjusting benefit allowances payable pursuant to the aforementioned sections. The local board shall determine the increase in the consumer price index between January 1st and December 31st of the previous year and increase in dollar amount the benefits payable subsequent to July 1st of the year in which said board makes such determination by a dollar amount proportionate to the increase in the consumer price index: PROVIDED, That regardless of the change in the consumer price index, such increase shall be at least two percent each year such adjustment is made.
Each year effective with the July payment all benefits specified herein, shall be increased as authorized by this section. This benefit increase shall be paid monthly as part of the regular pension payment and shall be cumulative. The increased benefits authorized by this section shall not affect any benefit payable under the provisions of chapter 41.18 RCW in which the benefit payment is attached to a current salary of the rank held at time of retirement. A beneficiary of benefit increases provided for pursuant to this section is hereby authorized to appeal a decision on such increases or the failure of the local pension board to order such increased benefits or the amount of such benefits to the Washington law enforcement officers' and firefighters' system retirement board provided for in *RCW 41.26.050.
For the purpose of this section the term
"Consumer price index" shall mean, for any calendar year, the consumer price index for the Seattle, Washington area as compiled by the bureau of labor statistics of the United States department of labor.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: RCW 41.26.050 was repealed by 1982 c 163 § 23. Powers, duties, and functions of the Washington law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement board were transferred to the director of retirement systems by RCW 41.26.051, which has been decodified. See Table of Disposition of Former RCW Sections.
Construction1975 1st ex.s. c 178: See RCW 41.16.921.
Construction1970 ex.s. c 37: "This 1970 amendatory act shall be null and void and of no further force and effect if the 1970 extraordinary session of the Legislature does not pass legislation authorizing cities and counties to levy additional taxes or appropriate at least ten million dollars for distribution to cities and towns for the remainder of the 1969-71 fiscal biennium." [ 1970 ex.s. c 37 § 4.]
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Payment on separationWith less than twenty-five years service or less than fifty years of ageOption to be classified as vested firefighter.

Any firefighter who shall have served for a period of less than twenty-five years, or who shall be less than fifty years of age, and shall resign, or be dismissed from the fire department for a reason other than conviction for a felony, shall be paid the amount of his or her contributions to the fund plus earned interest: PROVIDED, That in the case of any firefighter who has completed twenty years of service, such firefighter, upon termination for any cause except for a conviction of a felony, shall have the option of electing, in lieu of recovery of his or her contributions as herein provided, to be classified as a vested firefighter in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) Written notice of such election shall be filed with the board within thirty days after the effective date of such firefighter's termination;
(2) During the period between the date of his or her termination and the date upon which he or she becomes a retired firefighter as hereinafter provided, such vested firefighter and his or her spouse or dependent children shall be entitled to all benefits available under chapter 41.18 RCW to a retired firefighter and his or her spouse or dependent children with the exception of the service retirement allowance as herein provided for: PROVIDED, That any claim for medical coverage under RCW 41.18.060 shall be attributable to service connected illness or injury;
(3) Any firefighter electing to become a vested firefighter shall be entitled at such time as he or she otherwise would have completed twenty-five years of service had he or she not terminated, to receive a service retirement allowance computed on the following basis: Two percent of the amount of salary attached to the position held by the vested firefighter for the year preceding the date of his or her termination, for each year of service rendered prior to the date of his or her termination.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.



Funeral expenses.

The board shall pay from the firefighters' pension fund upon the death of any active or retired firefighter the sum of five hundred dollars, to assist in defraying the funeral expenses of such firefighter.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Credit for military service.

Every person who was a member of the fire department at the time he or she entered and served in the armed forces of the United States in time of war, whether as a draftee, or inductee, and who shall have been discharged from such armed forces under conditions other than dishonorable, shall have added and accredited to his or her period of employment as a firefighter his or her period of war or peacetime service in the armed forces: PROVIDED, That such added and accredited service shall not as to any individual exceed five years.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Certain firefighters may elect to be covered under other law.

Every firefighter as defined in this chapter heretofore employed as a member of a fire department, whether or not as a prior firefighter as defined in chapter 41.16 RCW, who desires to make the contributions and avail himself or herself of the pension and other benefits of said chapter 41.16 RCW, can do so by handing to and leaving with the firefighters' pension board of his or her municipality a written notice of such intention within sixty days of the effective date of this chapter, or if he or she was on disability retirement under chapter 41.16 RCW, at the effective date of this chapter and has been recalled to active duty by the retirement board, shall give such notice within sixty days of his or her return to active duty, and not otherwise.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: Effective date of chapter 41.18 RCW is midnight June 8, 1955; see preface 1955 session laws.
IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Credit for membership in private organization acquired by municipality.

Every person who was a member of a firefighting organization operated by a private enterprise, which firefighting organization shall be hereafter acquired before September 1, 1959, by a municipality as its fire department as a matter of public convenience or necessity, where it is in the public interest to retain the trained personnel of such firefighting organization, shall have added and accredited to his or her period of employment as a firefighter his or her period of service with said private enterprise, except that this shall apply only to those persons who are in the service of such firefighting organization at the time of its acquisition by the municipality and who remain in the service of that municipality until this chapter shall become applicable to such persons.
No such person shall have added and accredited to his or her period of employment as a firefighter his or her period of service with said private enterprise unless he, she, or a third party shall pay to the municipality his or her contribution for the period of such service with the private enterprise at the rate provided in RCW 41.18.030, or, if he or she shall be entitled to any private pension or retirement benefits as a result of such service with the private enterprise, unless he or she agrees at the time of his or her employment by the municipality to accept a reduction in the payment of any benefits payable under this chapter that are based in whole or in part on such added and accredited service by the amount of those private pension or retirement benefits received. For the purposes of RCW 41.18.030, the date of entry of service shall be deemed the date of entry into service with the private enterprise, which service is accredited by this section, and the amount of contributions for the period of accredited service shall be based on the wages or salary of such person during that added and accredited period of service with the private enterprise.
The city may receive payments for these purposes from a third party and shall make from such payments contributions with respect to such prior service as may be necessary to enable the fund to assume its obligations.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Application of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter governing contributions, pensions, and benefits shall have exclusive application (1) to firefighters as defined in this chapter hereafter becoming members of a fire department, (2) to firefighters as defined in this chapter heretofore employed in a department who have not otherwise elected as provided for in RCW 41.18.160, and (3) to firefighters on disability retirement under chapter 41.16 RCW, at the effective date of this chapter, who thereafter shall have been returned to active duty by the retirement board, and who have not otherwise elected as provided for in RCW 41.18.160 within sixty days after return to active duty.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Firefighter contributor under prior law may obtain benefits of chapterRefunds.

Any firefighter who has made contributions under any prior act may elect to avail himself or herself of the benefits provided by this chapter or under such prior act by filing written notice with the board within sixty days from June 7, 1961: PROVIDED, That any firefighter who has received refunds by reason of selecting the benefits of prior acts shall return the amount of such refunds as a condition to coverage under chapter 255, Laws of 1961.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



Transfer of membership authorized.

Any firefighter as defined in RCW 41.18.010 who has prior to July 1, 1969 been employed as a member of a fire department and who desires to make contributions and avail himself or herself of the pension and other benefits of chapter 41.18 RCW as now law or hereafter amended, may transfer his or her membership from any other pension fund, except the Washington law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system, to the pension fund provided in chapter 41.18 RCW: PROVIDED, That such firefighter transmits written notice of his or her intent to transfer to the pension board of his or her municipality prior to September 1, 1969.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.
Effective dateSeverabilityConstruction1969 ex.s. c 209: See RCW 41.26.3901, 41.26.3902, and 41.26.3903.
Law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system: Chapter 41.26 RCW.



Minimum pension.

All retirees and survivors receiving a pension under the provisions of this chapter shall from and after April 25, 1973 receive a minimum pension of three hundred dollars per month.



Transfer of credit from city employees' retirement system to firefighters' pension system.

Any former employee of a department of a city of the first class, who (1) was a member of the employees' retirement system of such city, and (2) is now employed within the fire department of such city, may transfer his or her former membership credit from the city employees' retirement system to the firefighter's pension system created by chapters 41.16 and 41.18 RCW by filing a written request with the board of administration and the municipal firefighters' pension board, respectively.
Upon the receipt of such request, the transfer of membership to the city's firefighter's pension system shall be made, together with a transfer of all accumulated contributions credited to such member. The board of administration shall transmit to the municipal firefighters' pension board a record of service credited to such member which shall be computed and credited to such member as a part of his or her period of employment in the city's firefighter's pension system. For the purpose of the transfer contemplated by this section, those affected individuals who have formerly withdrawn funds from the city employees' retirement system shall be allowed to restore contributions withdrawn from that retirement system directly to the firefighter's pension system and receive credit in the firefighter's pension system for their former membership service in the prior system.
Any employee so transferring shall have all the rights, benefits, and privileges that he or she would have been entitled to had he or she been a member of the city's firefighter's pension system from the beginning of his or her employment with the city.
No person so transferring shall thereafter be entitled to any other public pension, except that provided by chapter 41.26 RCW or social security, which is based upon such service with the city.
The right of any employee to file a written request for transfer of membership as set forth in this section shall expire December 31, 1974.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2007 c 218: See note following RCW 1.08.130.



ConstructionChapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships2009 c 521.

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement chapter 521, Laws of 2009, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships.

NOTES:

Effective dates2009 c 521 §§ 5-8, 79, 87-103, 107, 151, 165, 166, 173-175, and 190-192: See note following RCW 2.10.900.