Martwick measure secures Chicago firefighter retirement benefits

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Robert Martwick passed a measure to ensure Chicago firefighter pensions are compliant with federal law and have benefit parity with all firefighters across the state.

“When we passed the bill that consolidated the downstate firefighter pension systems into a single investment fund, we made corrections to the benefit structure to ensure compliance with federal law,” said Martwick (D-Chicago). “This measure extends those corrections and benefits to Chicago firefighters and is a significant step towards comprehensive Tier 2 pension reform.”

The measure creates an alternative formula for Tier 2 Chicago firefighters for calculating their final average salary. Currently, Tier 2 firefighters must use their final eight years of service in the calculation. Under this legislation, a Tier 2 firefighter may use their final four years of service if the average created is greater than the one calculated over eight years.

This change would begin to bring Chicago firefighters’ pensions up to par with benefits already available to all other firefighters in the state. Downstate firefighters received a similar update in 2019.

“This legislation gives our valued firefighters parity, ensures compliance with federal law and protects Chicago taxpayer from being hit with a bigger bill down the road,” Martwick said.

Senate Bill 1629 passed the Senate Thursday.