(a) Any reference in this code to the "additional retirement plan" relating to state higher education employees, means the "higher education retirement plan" provided in this section. Any state higher education employee participating in a retirement plan upon the effective date of this section continues to participate in that plan and may not elect to participate in any other state retirement plan. Any retirement plan continues to be governed by the provisions of law applicable on the effective date of this section.
(b) The commission, on behalf of the council, governing boards and itself, shall contract for a retirement plan for their employees, to be known as the "Higher Education Retirement Plan". The commission, council and governing boards shall make periodic deductions from the salary payments due employees in the amount they are required to contribute to the Higher Education Retirement Plan, which deductions shall be six percent.
(c) The commission, council and governing boards may contract for supplemental retirement plans for any or all of their employees to supplement the benefits employees otherwise receive. The commission, council and governing boards may make additional periodic deductions from the salary payments due the employees in the amount they are required to contribute for the supplemental retirement plan.
(d) An organization, by way of additional compensation to their employees, shall pay an amount, which, at a minimum, equals the contributions of the employees into the higher education retirement plan from funds appropriated to the commission, council or governing board for personal services.
(e) As part of an overall compensation plan, the commission, council or a governing board, each at its sole discretion, may increase its contributions to any employee retirement plan to an amount that exceeds the contributions of employees.
(f) Each participating employee has a full and immediate vested interest in the retirement and death benefits accrued from all the moneys paid into the Higher Education Retirement Plan or a supplemental retirement plan for his or her benefit. Upon proper requisition of a governing board, the commission or council, the Auditor periodically shall issue a warrant, payable as specified in the requisition, for the total contributions so withheld from the salaries of all participating employees and for the matching funds of the commission, council or governing board.
(g) Any person whose employment commences on or after July 1, 1991, and who is eligible to participate in the Higher Education Retirement Plan, shall participate in that plan and is not eligible to participate in any other state retirement system: Provided, That the foregoing provision does not apply to a person designated as a 21st Century Learner Fellow pursuant to section eleven, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code. The additional retirement plan contracted for by the governing boards prior to July 1, 1991, remains in effect unless changed by the commission. Nothing in this section considers employees of the council or governing boards as employees of the commission, nor is the commission responsible or liable for retirement benefits contracted by, or on behalf of, the council or governing boards.