On Wednesday, CalPERS held a webinar, “CalPERS & COVID-19: Preparedness & Resiliency for Our Employer Partners” with over 500 employer partners in attendance. The webinar was led by several members of the CalPERS executive team and included a discussion on the resiliency of the fund and the preparedness of the agency to face the current economic downturn in the wake of Covid-19. Access to the slide deck is available, and a recording of the webinar will soon be available on the CalPERS YouTube channel.

CalPERS provided an overview of the COVID-19 impacts on investments and also discussed the potential impact on employer contributions, options for employers facing the ability to make contributions, and workforce guidelines. Executives underscored that while they expect continued volatility in the markets, they will react by continuing with a long-term strategy rather than reacting emotionally to the uncertainty of the moment.

CalPERS understands income has sharply declined for many employers due to the crisis, and yet for the future health of the fund it is important that employer contributions continue. CalPERS will address short term financing and cash flow issues, on a case-by-case basis, with employers who reach out for assistance. While employer overall obligations will not be reduced, there may be relief available in the immediate, with a long term plan to get payments back on track. Additional guidance included topics such as the handling of new paid sick leave for employees, retired annuitants and employer reporting requirements during the shelter at home orders.

Check out the CalPERS response to COVID-19 for contact information, answers to frequently asked questions, and COVID-19 impacts on reportability. CalPERS expects to release a circular letter early next week to clarify the reportability of items in the federal package.