Your highest five consecutive years of salary are used to determine your retirement benefit. For most employees, the highest five consecutive years of salary will be the last 60 months (or five years) of employment. However, this isn't always the case. For example, you may decide to work fewer hours as you near retirement, or maybe you had several years where you earned overtime, which will generate a higher average monthly salary

Average monthly salary is based on gross salary. Contributions to your Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan (MNDCP), Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP), Social Security, etc. do not lower your high-five average monthly salary.

Sick & vacation leave pay

  • Sick and vacation leave you use before you end your employment is included in your high-five average salary.

  • Retirement deductions are not taken on unused sick or vacation leave paid in a lump sum after you end employment; therefore, unused leave payoffs are not included in your high-five average salary.

How we calculate high-five average monthly salary

When calculating your high-five average monthly salary, we use the highest 60-month period (5 years x 12 months = 60 months) rather than a calendar or fiscal year salary. For example, your high-five average salary could start on March 1, and run through February five years later.

Your employer reports your salary along with your retirement deduction each pay period to MSRS. This allows us to accurately calculate your high-five average salary.  

Example of the average monthly salary calculation


The assumptions





The calculation

$220,000  (total average monthly salary)
     รท 60 months
  $   3,666.66   ( average monthly salary)