Phased Retirement Program
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I surrender my tenure or right to my continuous appointment as part of my participation in the program?
Yes. In consideration for the benefits received through the program, the release signed on the last day of employment releases the University from all future claims, including tenure rights and rights to a continuous appointment.
- After my last day of employment, may I take another position at the University?
Once retired, you may not return to work for a minimum of 6 months. After that time, you can return to work in a non-benefits-eligible appointment, or as an independent contractor, if eligible, pending approval by the academic unit in which the work is carried out. A non-benefits eligible appointment is defined as a temporary, non-tenured appointment with scheduled hours of 19.5 hours per week or less. These appointments are not eligible for University benefits of any kind.
- May I combine participation in this program with any of the other exit programs sponsored by the University?
No, the Phased Retirement Program is not available to any individual who participates in another University of Minnesota exit program, voluntary or involuntary, to which the University contributes or has contributed monies (including the Academic Disability Program and the Terminal Agreement Program).
- Who determines my last day of employment and my leave without salary during the Phased Retirement?
You, your unit administrator, dean or other appropriate senior leader and the Director, Employee Benefits(Office of Human Resources) mutually agree upon the last day of employment and your leave without salary.
- My tenured appointment is less than 100%. How does that impact the leave without salary requirements detailed in the policy statement?
If a tenured faculty member holds a 100% appointment, the leave without salary portion of the phased retirement must be a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 75% time. If the tenured faculty member's appointment is less than 100%, the leave without salary portion is pro-rated based on the reduced percentage. For example, a faculty member holding a 75% appointment who enters into a phased retirement agreement must have a leave without salary portion of no less than 18.75% (25% x 75%) and no more than 56.25% (75% x 75%).
- If I am participating in the Phased Retirement Program, am I permitted to pick up additional work at the University of Minnesota during my leave without salary?
No, your work effort and leave without salary percentages are specified in your Phased Retirement Agreement and may be modified only by mutual consent of all parties, regardless of the funding source of the additional work (O&M or sponsored). Any amendment to the original agreement must comply with the policy, must be in writing, must be signed by the parties, and is not effective until signed by the Director, Employee Benefits (Office of Human Resources).
- If I am participating in the Phased Retirement Program, may I still take advantage of my ability to perform outside consulting?
Yes, subject to the Board of Regent Policy on Conflict of Interest. Your maximum number of consulting days permissible under the program will be prorated based on your actual work effort and appointment term. For example, if you have a 12-month, 'A' appointment, you would normally be entitled to a maximum of 49 consulting days annually. If, on phased retirement, your work effort were lowered to 50%, you would be entitled to a maximum of 24.5 days of consulting, subject to the other program provisions.
- Is it possible to alter or defer the phased retirement period?
If approved by the faculty member, the unit and central administration, the phased retirement agreement may be modified to increase or decrease the percentage of leave within the agreement period or change the phased retirement end date. The phased retirement end date, however, may not be extended past the 5th year anniversary of the initial date of the agreement.
Reversing a phased retirement agreement to full time status is not permitted.
- What is the proper procedure for submitting a modification to a phased retirement agreement?
To modify an existing phased retirement agreement, the unit should obtain a copy of the original agreement, write in the changes (e.g., date changes, percentage changes) and have each person who originally signed the agreement place their initials by the changes. The unit should then forward the revised agreement to the Director, Employee Benefits (Office of Human Resources) for final approval.
- Would it be possible to alter the agreement to a half time, no benefits arrangement for an extended period (meaning that I would not have to retire but would lose the benefits offered by the phased retirement package)?
No, the phased retirement agreement specifies a maximum period of 5 years and must be for continuous years. The suggested arrangement would, in effect, cancel the phased retirement, which may only be done with mutual agreement between the faculty member, the unit and central administration, and may require repayment of amounts previously paid according to the Phased Retirement Program.
- May I take a leave without pay for a year in the midst of the agreement and thus extend the arrangement for another year?
No, the leave must be for continuous years.
- May I apply for a sabbatical or a single semester leave while on a phased retirement agreement?
No, a faculty member is not eligible for a sabbatical or single semester leave after the last day of regular appointment.
- May I have as many as three (or more) different percentage-leave-of-absences on a phased retirement agreement?
Yes, subject to the mutual agreement requirement between the faculty member, the unit, and central administration.
- Are there any circumstances under which central would consider a phased retirement period of longer than five years?
No. Current policy limits the term of the phased retirement agreement to a maximum of 5 years.
- Under what circumstances may the phased retirement be modified?
Once the phased retirement is agreed upon and signed by all parties, it may only be modified by mutual agreement between the faculty member, the unit, and central administration.
- Is it possible for a faculty member who is on a phased retirement agreement to accept another position outside the University for the percentage of time they are on leave?
Yes, this is permissible. The outside position could be in addition to any consulting permitted by University policy. It should be remembered, however, that the intent of the policy is to permit a faculty member to ease into retirement, rather than accepting an additional outside position.
- If the additional 'outside' position provides benefits, does it negate benefits provided by the University, prior to the last day of employment?
No, benefits continue to be provided according to the terms of the policy.
- During a phased retirement, is vacation accrual pro-rated based on the percentage of appointment?
Yes. For example, if a faculty member holds a 12-month, 'A' appointment and would otherwise accrue 22 days of vacation annually, a faculty member with a 75% work effort would then accrue 16.5 days of vacation annually.
- When the percentage of work effort is reduced to less than 67 percent, will vacation leave time continue to be accrued at the corresponding rate? IF vacation leave time will no longer accrue, what happens to any vacation balance that remains?
When the percentage of work effort falls below 67 percent time, vacation leave time will no longer accrue. Individuals on phased retirement agreements have a maximum of twelve months from this point to use any vacation they have accrued but not used as of the time their work effort dropped below 67 percent time. If, during those twelve months, their phased retirement ends and they retire, any balance remaining will be paid as of the last day of employment. If they do not retire during those twelve months and do not use their vacation, they will lose it, as no vacation balances will be carried longer than twelve months.
- Must the phased retirement agreement specifically state the work effort percentage, or can it be completed using a range (for example, 50 percent to 60 percent)?
The work effort, as with the end date of the phased retirement agreement, must be specifically stated in the agreement. This provision permits the department to better plan succession needs.
- When a Regents Professor (job code 9410) enters into a phased retirement agreement, is the title of the Regents Professor retained without a reduction in the stipend?
Yes. The Regents Professor title and full stipend is held until the last day of employment.
- If I have already signed a Phased Retirement Agreement and it is fully-executed, will my benefits change if the policy changes?
Assuming you are eligible and everything was signed properly, you will receive the benefits that are detailed in the agreement you, and the University, signed. You are not permitted to elect a new set of benefits, as the Health Care Saving Plan cannot be elected.
- Who bears the cost of the program and why?
The costs of Phased Retirement Program are borne by the college/unit/department, depending upon how the budget of the individual area is established. Given our decentralized budget process, the financial benefits of a reduced staff are seen at the local level, so the financial costs of this type of program are also borne at that level. Because these programs are not entitlements, but are negotiated programs, they must meet the needs of both the college/unit/department and the faculty member. If both parties do not agree, then the program is not granted. Thus, the college/unit/department has the ability to budget costs more easily through the annual budget process.