What is phased retirement?
Phased retirement is a pilot program that was agreed to between the State System and APSCUF in order to address the needs of faculty members who wish to transition into full retirement while continuing to provide service to the State System.
How long can phased retirement span?
The program allows participants to reduce their work commitment over a period of up to three years at a reduced compensation level.
When is the next opportunity for me to begin phased retirement?
Eligible faculty members can begin a phased retirement arrangement in Fall 2022, provided they submit their proposed arrangement by 120 days prior to the start of the Fall 2022 semester (TBD), and it is approved by the University President or Designee.
Must a faculty member in the phased retirement program retire on the last day of the spring semester of their final academic year?
No, they can choose any retirement date as long as it is not past the first day of the first pay period of the following fall semester.
May a faculty member submit an application to participate in a phased retirement arrangement that commences in the Spring semester?
Per the terms of the phased retirement side letter, there is language that specifically addresses that a phased retirement arrangement may only begin in the fall semester.
What happens if a faculty member, who is participating in the phased retirement program, has their regular five year performance review scheduled to occur during the phased retirement time period?
The faculty member will be excused from the regular fifth year review.
How can I find out if I am eligible?
Participation in the program is limited to regular full-time faculty members.
Eligibility for participation in the program will be based upon meeting the majority-paid annuitant health care criteria under the APSCUF Collective Bargaining Agreement as follows:
A faculty member must meet the required years of service at the beginning of the phased retirement period established in the approved Arrangement.
A faculty member must meet the required age by the conclusion of the phased retirement period established in the approved Arrangement.
Example: Per the APSCUF Collective Bargaining Agreement, faculty members hired between fall semester 1997 to June 30, 2004 must have 15 years of service and be age 60 at the time of retirement to qualify for the majority-paid annuitant health care plan.
A faculty member, born on April 7, 1962 and hired fall of 1997 currently has over 15 years of service. This faculty member would like to start a phased retirement arrangement in Fall 2021, and plans to fully retire at the end of the spring semester in May 2023. Since at the beginning of Fall 2021, this faculty member has over 15 years of service, AND will be age 60 by the end of the phased retirement arrangement (May of 2023), this faculty member is eligible to complete a Proposed Arrangement that is scheduled to begin a 2-year phased retirement arrangement in Fall 2021.
Upon submission of your Phased Retirement Application – Proposed Arrangement, your University Human Resources Office will confirm that you meet the age and years of service requirements. Contact your campus HR office to schedule a meeting to review your eligibility.
I am a regular part-time faculty member, but am currently working full time. Can I participate in phased retirement?
No; only regular full time faculty who are tenured/tenure track can participate in phased retirement.
What is the process?
Please see the Phased Retirement Application - Proposed Arrangement for procedures.
When must my phased retirement arrangement be submitted?
In order to begin a phased retirement in the Fall of 2022, you must submit a Phased Retirement Application-Proposed Arrangement by 120 days prior to the start of the Fall 2022 semester (TBD). In subsequent years, the applicable dates for application submission will be communicated.
Can I rescind my phased retirement arrangement?
The Phased Retirement Application – Proposed Arrangement is not final or binding, however once the Final Approved Arrangement has been executed by the faculty member and the University President, it may not be rescinded.
What if extenuating circumstances prevent me from completing my phased retirement period?
You may choose to accelerate your retirement date, by providing 60 days' notice, prior to the start of any semester, to the University President or designee. However, if at the time of your accelerated retirement date, you do not meet the age requirement for majority-paid annuitant health coverage, you would NOT be eligible for majority-paid annuitant healthcare coverage in retirement.
Salary and Workload
How am I paid during phased retirement?
Your salary will be pro-rated based on your reduced phased retirement workload. For example, if you are approved to work 50% of the full-time workload during your phased retirement you would receive 50% of your full time salary.
Once the phased retirement period commences, a participating faculty member is generally ineligible for additional workload assignments during the academic year, beyond the workload provided in the approved Arrangement, except as authorized by the University President or designee, and agreed to by the faculty member.
Are there any restrictions on how reduced workload is distributed during the academic year?
An approved phased retirement arrangement must meet the following guidelines:
Must provide for a reduced workload at any increment between 50% and 99% of full time, except that during the final year of phasing, the reduced workload may be between 25% and 99% of full time.
The workload may be front-loaded in the academic year, but not be back loaded. For example, a faculty member with a reduced workload of 50% may teach four undergraduate classes in the fall semester, and no classes in the spring. However, the faculty member could not have a schedule where they teach no classes in the fall, and four undergraduate courses in the spring.
If my approved phased retirement arrangement provides that my academic year workload of 50% of full-time is to be “front-loaded", in that I will teach four undergraduate classes in the fall semester, and no classes in the spring semester, how will my actual pay be distributed?
You will receive 50% of your full-time salary, evenly distributed over the 20 or 26 pay schedule, in accordance with your pay schedule election in effect at the beginning of the fall semester.
If a graduate level teaching faculty member whose normal academic year workload is 18 credits decides to take the phased retirement, how will this be addressed in a phased retirement arrangement?
Faculty members that participate in the phased retirement program will have their salary prorated based upon their workload (percentage FTE) that they list in the Phased Retirement Application, if their Arrangement is approved. Workload assignments will occur within existing processes where the Department Chair will make a recommendation to the Dean/Appropriate Manager. As an example, a faculty member that teaches in an all graduate department indicates they want to go from 100% to 50% in year 1 of their arrangement, that faculty member may be assigned a 3 credit graduate course and a 3 credit undergraduate alternative workload assignment for each semester, or they may be assigned two 3 credit graduate courses for each semester. This faculty member's base annual salary paid in year 1 would be 50% of the base annual pay rate.
What if a pro-rated salary does not provide me with enough income? Can I draw funds from my retirement plans during my phased retirement arrangement?
Faculty members who are enrolled in the State System's Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) participants will be permitted to withdraw monies from their ARP account during their phased retirement arrangement, effective with the first day of the academic year in which the Phased Retirement Arrangement commences (e.g. August 28, 2021 for Phased Retirement Arrangements commencing in the 2021/22 academic year, and August 27, 2022 for Phased Retirement Arrangements commencing in the 2022/23 academic year). The withdrawals may be in the form of a lump sum or used to purchase an annuity that will pay out in installments. A minimum amount of $25,000 must remain in the ARP account while the faculty member is participating in the program.
By law, faculty members who are enrolled in the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) or the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) will not be permitted to withdraw monies or commence pension distribution during the phased retirement arrangement.
Faculty members enrolled in the 403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) who are over age 59 ½ are permitted to withdraw monies from their TSA account at any time during their phased retirement arrangement.
Faculty members enrolled in the 457 Deferred Compensation plan will not be permitted to withdraw monies from their Deferred Compensation account during their phased retirement arrangement.
May a faculty member who is participating in the phased retirement program teach summer and/or winter session?
There is nothing within the terms of the phased retirement program side letter that would preclude this. University management has the right to assign summer and/or winter session to phased retirement participants.
Can a faculty member who is currently on sabbatical, and planning to return full time for Fall 2022, be considered for a three year phased retirement plan starting Fall 2022? It is proposed that the requirement to serve the full-time post-sabbatical year be done over two years.
Per the terms of the phased retirement side letter, phased retirement participants are ineligible for sabbaticals during the phased retirement arrangement, after the phased retirement arrangement, and for the calendar year immediately preceding the phased retirement arrangement. This faculty member would be required to work a full-time workload for academic year 2022/23, and would be eligible to enter into a phased retirement arrangement effective with the Fall 2023 semester.
If I am participating in a Phased Retirement arrangement, can I still be assigned a “workload equivalent"(WKE) or “alternative work assignment" (AWA)?
Yes, WKEs and AWAs may be assigned to faculty members who are participating in the Phased Retirement program, as approved by the administration through the normal University process.
Benefits and Leave
What happens with my benefits while in phased retirement?
Refer to Phased Retirement - Benefits for details on how your benefits are impacted during the phased retirement period.
Will I continue to earn paid sick and personal leave during my phased retirement?
Faculty members participating in a phased retirement arrangement will accrue sick and personal leave on a pro-rated basis in accordance with their reduced workload.
Participating faculty members who utilize sick leave will be charged one-half (1/2) day of sick leave on days when he/she is scheduled to teach one (1) class and a full day of sick leave for absences when two (2) or more classes are scheduled to be taught.
I am eligible to be paid out for a portion of my unused sick days at retirement. Will participating in phased retirement impact this payout?
While the amount of sick leave you accrue during a phased retirement arrangement will be pro-rated in accordance with your reduced schedule, the payout amount that you receive upon retirement will be calculated the same as if you were working full time through your date of retirement. For example, a faculty member participating in phased retirement works a reduced schedule of 50% for three years. On the date of retirement, the faculty member meets the age and years of service criteria to receive a payout of a portion of unused sick days. This faculty member has a balance of 2287.5 hours of paid sick leave. Per the APSCUF collective bargaining agreement, this faculty member will receive the maximum payout amount of 50 days. The amount of the payout will be based on 375 hours of sick leave (50 days X 7.5 hours).
What if I need to take time off work for the serious health condition of a family member or myself?
You will have the same leave entitlements as a full time faculty member.
How will a phased retirement arrangement impact my SERS/PSERS/ARP retirement income?
For SERS/PSERS participants, employer contributions, employee contributions and service credit are based upon the reduced compensation and reduced work hours during the phased retirement arrangement. SERS/PSERS participants should contact their SERS/PSERS representative to review how the reduction in hours and pay may affect their retirement benefit and their final average salary, used in determining their monthly pension amount.
Unlike SERS and PSERS, an ARP participant's retirement benefit is not based on a calculation that considers service and salary, but instead is dependent upon the accumulation of contributions and the performance of the ARP investments. Employee contributions (5% of earnings) and employer contributions (9.29% of earnings) will be based upon the reduced compensation paid.
Will my phased retirement affect my eligibility for tuition waiver?
Faculty members participating in a phased retirement arrangement will continue to be considered full-time for purposes of the tuition waiver benefit.
I will be a Phased Retirement participant, and I am a member of the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) with TIAA and/or Fidelity. I am thinking about withdrawing some of my ARP monies upon entry into the Phased Retirement program (as I am permitted to do under the terms of the plan) and moving those monies to another account. Is this allowable?
Upon commencement of a Phased Retirement arrangement, ARP participants may withdraw monies from their ARP account. A minimum of $25,000 must remain in the ARP plan. Participants may do whatever they choose with the withdrawn monies, however, we strongly encourage the participant to consult a tax advisor, as, depending upon the age of the participant and other factors, there may be tax consequences of the withdrawal.How do I make a withdrawal from my ARP account?
To make a withdrawal from your ARP account, start by calling your ARP (Fidelity or TIAA) customer service toll free number and follow these directions:
- ARP participants enrolled with Fidelity:
- Contact Fidelity customer service 1-800-343-0860
- Inform customer service you are in the Phased Retirement Program
- Customer service will assist in completing the withdrawal request form online
- Sign the in-service withdrawal request and mail to the address listed on the form
- ARP participants enrolled with TIAA:
- Contact TIAA customer service 1-800-842-2252
- Inform customer service you are in the Phased Retirement Program
- Complete an in-service withdrawal form provided by customer service
- TIAA customer service or your TIAA representative will be able to assist with completion of the form
- Fax or mail the completed in-service withdrawal form to TIAA (number listed on form)
How long does it take to receive my ARP monies once I submit the completed paperwork?
Once the ARP vendor has confirmed with the State System that you are a participant in the Phased Retirement Program, distribution of your withdrawal can occur within 3-5 business days.