San Joaquin County Physicians Seek Retiree Benefits
More than 60 physicians employed by San Joaquin County last month filed suit against the county to receive the same retirement and disability benefits as other permanent county employees, the Stockton Record reports.
County employees become eligible for retirement benefits, including pensions and disability pay, after nine months of employment. The doctors that filed suit meet the tenure requirements, but the county classifies them as temporary employees. As such, county physicians are eligible for a 401(k) plan rather than the retirement benefits that permanent employees receive.
The union representing the doctors in the lawsuit proposes that the county contribute the funds that it contributes to the 401(k) plan to physicians' pensions. The change in procedure also would make physicians eligible for disability pay.
A spokesperson for the Union of American Physicians and Dentists said that the county's refusal to offer benefits impacts physician recruiting.
However, Ken Cohen, county health care services director, said that the county has not experienced recruiting problems.
The county has not responded officially to the lawsuit (Kane, Stockton Record, 11/29).