(1) The membership of the retirement system shall be composed of all persons who are or were employed by the State of Nebraska and who maintain an account balance with the retirement system.
(2) The following employees of the State of Nebraska are authorized to participate in the retirement system: (a) All permanent full-time employees shall begin participation in the retirement system upon employment; and (b) all permanent part-time employees who have attained the age of eighteen years may exercise the option to begin participation in the retirement system within the first thirty days of employment. An employee who exercises the option to begin participation in the retirement system pursuant to this section shall remain in the retirement system until his or her termination of employment or retirement, regardless of any change of status as a permanent or temporary employee.
(3) On and after July 1, 2010, no employee shall be authorized to participate in the retirement system provided for in the State Employees Retirement Act unless the employee (a) is a United States citizen or (b) is a qualified alien under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., as such act existed on January 1, 2009, and is lawfully present in the United States.
(4) For purposes of this section, (a) permanent full-time employees includes employees of the Legislature or Legislative Council who work one-half or more of the regularly scheduled hours during each pay period of the legislative session and (b) permanent part-time employees includes employees of the Legislature or Legislative Council who work less than one-half of the regularly scheduled hours during each pay period of the legislative session.
(5)(a) Within the first one hundred eighty days of employment, a full-time employee may apply to the board for vesting credit for years of participation in another Nebraska governmental plan, as defined by section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. During the years of participation in the other Nebraska governmental plan, the employee must have been a full-time employee, as defined in the Nebraska governmental plan in which the credit was earned. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the assessment and granting of vesting credit.
(b) If the contributory retirement plan or contract let pursuant to section 48-609, as such section existed prior to January 1, 2018, is terminated, employees of the Department of Labor who are active participants in such contributory retirement plan or contract on the date of termination of such plan or contract shall be granted vesting credit for their years of participation in such plan or contract.
(6) Any employee who qualifies for membership in the retirement system pursuant to this section may not be disqualified for membership in the retirement system solely because such employee also maintains separate employment which qualifies the employee for membership in another public retirement system, nor may membership in this retirement system disqualify such an employee from membership in another public employment system solely by reason of separate employment which qualifies such employee for membership in this retirement system.
(7) State agencies shall ensure that employees authorized to participate in the retirement system pursuant to this section shall enroll and make required contributions to the retirement system immediately upon becoming an employee. Information necessary to determine membership in the retirement system shall be provided by the employer.