The University's Phased Retirement Program is a voluntary internal retirement program provided to tenured faculty members and academic professionals with continuous appointment who:
- have an appointment of at least 75 percent on a nine-month or greater basis; and
- will be at least 55 years of age on their last day of regular employment.
The Phased Retirement Program is designed to facilitate change within units by providing compensation in return for tenure or continuous appointment resignation.
Faculty and academic professionals who participate in this program must reduce their work effort over a period of between one to five years. Department leaders have discretion to offer the Program for a period of less than five years based departmental need.
Based on an annual 100 percent appointment, the leave without salary during the phased retirement must be for at least 25 percent and not more than 75 percent time. Faculty and academic professionals may request a phased retirement and receive approval from the unit administrator, dean or other appropriate senior leader and the Office of Human Resources.
Termination of Employment
The individual must terminate employment and surrender tenure or rights to continuous appointment no earlier than one year and no later than five years after the last day of regular appointment. The last day of employment must be specified in writing and must be mutually agreed upon by the faculty member or continuous academic professional, the unit administrator, dean or other appropriate senior leader and the Senior Director Total Compensation (Office of Human Resources). The individual may not negotiate future University employment prior to termination and may not be rehired at the University for a minimum of 6 months following the last day of employment. Any University employment following the last day of employment is limited to 19.5 hours per week (non-benefits-eligible).
- Benefits Offered through the Phased Retirement Program:
- Medical and Dental Benefits
The University's contributions to the University-sponsored medical and dental insurance plans continue during the phased retirement period, provided that these plans continue to be offered to regular benefits-eligible individuals of the University. The University's contribution will be based on the individual’s work location and permanent residence. In addition, for those individuals who have coverage at the end of the phased retirement period, the University will deposit a lump sum amount to the State of Minnesota's Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP). This lump sum will be calculated as of January 1 of each calendar year and will be based upon the subsidy of two adults for 24 months in the Twin Cities base medical and dental plans. If an individual fulfills the terms of the program, retires and signs the release, but dies prior to the deposit to the HCSP, a taxable cash payment equal (in gross) to the amount of the HCSP lump sum will be made to the individual’s spouse, or if none, to the employee's estate. If the individual has waived participation in the HSCP under the terms of the plan, no lump sum will be paid and no further benefits will be due post-employment.
- Faculty Retirement Plan Contributions
The University's contributions to the Faculty Retirement Plan continue during phased retirement, regardless of the percentage of leave without salary in effect at any time during the phased retirement. Contributions to the individual's Faculty Retirement Plan account will be based on the individual's unreduced salary, subject to contribution limits imposed by law. Faculty Retirement Plan contributions will cease as of the last day of employment.
- Other Retirement Plan Benefits
All contributions to University-sponsored retirement plans will cease as of the last day of employment. After the last day of employment, the individual will have such access to retirement plan accounts as provided by the various plan documents and investment contracts.
- Life Insurance
The University's contribution to life insurance coverage continues under this program, regardless of the percentage of leave without salary in effect at any time during the phased retirement. Life insurance coverage will continue during the phased retirement period, based on unreduced salary, subject to the terms of the group insurance policy.
- Academic Disability Program
The University's contributions to the Academic Disability Program continue under the program, regardless of the percentage of leave without salary in effect at any time during the phased retirement. In the event of certification of disability, payments may not exceed the level of the phased retirement actual salary. Coordination of benefits between the Academic Disability Program and the Phased Retirement Program is detailed under BENEFITS Section C.4. Integration of Academic Disability Program Benefits and Phased Retirement, below. Contributions to the Academic Disability Program end on the last day of employment.
Individuals will accrue vacation if on a 12-month appointment of 67 percent or greater. Individuals are encouraged to use accrued vacation prior to reducing their appointment below 67 percent. Payment for unused vacation days accrued with the 12 months immediately preceding the last day of employment will be made shortly after that date, provided that proper documentation is supplied. Individuals will lose accumulated vacation if not used within 12 months of the date on which it was accrued.
- Medical and Dental Benefits
- Benefit Cessation
All benefits not continued at the individual's expense under the UPlan Retiree Group or under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), will cease on the individual's last day of employment.
- Relation to Other Benefits Programs
- Retiree Medical and Dental Coverage
If eligible, participants in the medical or dental program may continue medical and/or dental coverage in force at the time of retirement as retirees, subject to the terms of the program in which they participate (either UPlan or federal). Participants have 30 days from their retirement date to decide whether or not to continue coverage. Individuals may choose another medical or dental plan in the 60 days immediately preceding the effective date of retirement. Additional information on UPlan retiree coverage may be found at Benefits for Retirees section of the Office of Human Resources website.
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
If eligible, individuals may elect to continue certain benefit coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months following the last day of employment under the Phased Retirement Program. In addition to medical and dental coverage, COBRA coverage is available following the last day of employment for life insurance benefits.
- Other Programs
The Phased Retirement Program is not available to any individual who participates in another University exit program, voluntary or involuntary, to which the University contributes or has contributed monies (including the Academic Disability Program).
- Integration of Academic Disability Program Benefits and Phased Retirement Benefits
If a faculty member or continuous academic professional becomes totally disabled on or before their last day of regular appointment prior to the beginning of their phased retirement, the phased retirement agreement is void. In this situation, only disability benefits apply, under the terms and conditions of the faculty member's regular appointment.
If a faculty member or continuous academic professional becomes totally disabled at any time during the term of the phased agreement, the agreement will end on the original ending date. After the last day of employment, the faculty member or continuous academic professional will have no further employment claims on the University and will surrender all tenure rights.
If the faculty member or continuous academic professional continues to be totally disabled past the end date of the phased retirement agreement, the continuing disability benefit will be based upon their last actual salary amount until the end of the normal disability benefit period.
During the term of the phased agreement, the faculty member or continuous academic professional will receive Faculty Retirement Plan contributions based on their full, unreduced base salary. For the period of time during which such faculty member or continuous academic professional is totally disabled, the retirement plan waiver in the disability plan will fund those contributions.
A faculty member's or continuous academic professional's health insurance subsidy will follow the provisions of the phased agreement, regardless of disability status. Health insurance subsidy is limited to the term of the phased retirement agreement. The HCSP deposit will be made upon termination of employment and surrender of tenure rights.
- Retiree Medical and Dental Coverage
This policy does not pertain to those individuals on the Duluth Campus represented by Unit 9 UEA (University Education Association).
Reason for Policy
This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Faculty and Staff Retirement. The Phased Retirement Program is offered by the University to eligible tenured faculty and to continuous academic professionals in an effort to support the facilitation of change within the collegiate and administrative units.