Phased Retirement Plan for Faculty
UPPS No. 04.04.51
Issue No. 6
Effective Date: 4/10/2013
Next Review Date: 10/01/2017 (E2Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Texas State endorses a plan for tenured faculty members with many years of service who would like to phase into retirement: i. e., retire, yet maintain a reduced academic activity. This plan permits a faculty member to relinquish tenure in return for a commitment from the university to continue employment in partial status for a specified period.
- A phased retirement plan is an option for transitioning active faculty members to retired status through a contractual agreement that requires the faculty member to meet certain milestones during the contractual period, such as a reduction in percentage of full-time status or effort or enrollment in retiree group insurance, prior to termination of employment. At the end of the contractual period, the faculty member is considered retired.
On January 19, 1983, the commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provided Texas university presidents with guidelines for developing university policies for voluntary modification of employment. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board previously endorsed these voluntary guidelines on October 28, 1982.
These guidelines were the inspiration for Texas State’s Voluntary Modification of Employment (VME) Program, which was in place from the early 1980’s until 1996. Effective September 1, 1996, this Phased Retirement Plan superseded that VME policy.
This policy allows the university to employ a faculty member on a part-time basis following retirement when such employment will benefit both the faculty member and the university by mutual agreement between the faculty member and the dean of the affected college. Approval to participate in a phased retirement agreement must be endorsed by the department chair or school director, dean and provost. Even though the faculty member seeking phased retirement status has voluntarily moved from tenured to untenured status, the university will only dismiss the faculty member for good cause as specified in Chapter V, Section 4.5, of the Rules and Regulations, Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, or under the special circumstances for faculty employment termination described in Chapter V, Section 4.6, of the Rules and Regulations.
All full-time tenured faculty members are eligible to participate in the program when they meet one of the following requirements for service retirement:
Age sixty-five with ten years of service credit, or
Age and years of service credit totaling eighty with at least ten years of service credit. Service credit may be earned through the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or any combination thereof.
TRS Eligibility - TRS eligibility for full formula benefits or for reduced annuity benefits is determined by TRS guidelines. TRS regulations require a one full calendar-month break in service between the date of retirement and any resumption of state employment. Therefore, participation in the phased retirement program typically begins in a fall semester, following at least a one-month break in service. Failure to observe such a break could result in the loss of monthly retirement annuity payments. In addition to the one-month calendar break in service, TRS retirees who retired after January 1, 2011 may only work under the following conditions without forfeiting their TRS monthly annuity:
half-time (50% FTE) or less
more than half-time after a twelve consecutive month break in service.
ORP Eligibility - Because ORP is not a defined benefit plan like TRS, the rules are less clear and there is more room for institutional flexibility. ORP regulations require a one full calendar-month break in service between the date of retirement and any resumption of state employment.
Notification of Intent to Participate
Participation is on a strictly voluntary basis at the request of individual faculty members. A faculty member wishing to participate in this program should notify the department chair or school director in writing not less than six months prior to the beginning of the academic year in which participation will begin to allow time for the phased retirement agreement negotiation, replacement recruitment, and class schedule modification.
The retiring faculty member and the department chair or school director, with the advice of the personnel committee, will negotiate an agreement which will establish expectations for the modified service, subject to approval by the college dean and provost and VPAA. However, nothing in this agreement shall include a departmental commitment to offer specific courses at particular times in selected semesters. Well in advance of each semester, the department chair will consult with faculty on phased retirement regarding their teaching preference for each semester. However, the chair will make the final determination on teaching assignments based on the department’s needs. The phased retirement agreement is for a one- to three-year period, as agreed. The parties may agree to additional employment on a year-to-year basis, but such renewals do not extend the phased retirement agreement.
Benefits Relinquished by the Faculty Member
A participating faculty member will relinquish his or her status as a full-time faculty member, including tenure rights held, no later than the member’s date of retirement under TRS or ORP or the end of the academic year in which notification of one’s election to participate in this plan is given, whichever is earlier. The faculty member will not relinquish his or her right to participate in discussions of all departmental matters considered by the voting faculty.
Excluding TRS or ORP membership (except as required by law), participation entitles the faculty member to all the amenities that the university affords its full-time faculty. Faculty members may opt to participate in group insurance plans at levels provided for other retired employees, or they may opt to participate in group insurance plans at levels provided other active employees. The faculty member should consult with Human Resources to determine which plan is more advantageous depending on the faculty member’s individual teaching appointment.
Compensation and Workload
Each faculty member participating in this program shall receive a salary established at a rate commensurate with the workload agreed to by the faculty member and the university. The salary and associated workload is limited to not more than one-half of the salary earned during the year immediately prior to beginning participation in this program. During this time period a program participant shall receive any merit and performance raises under the provisions provided to comparable continuing full-time faculty members. The participant’s workload (number of classes and, as appropriate, research and service) during this period shall conform to the salary paid and the FTE assigned.
Program participants appointed for nine months may elect to receive their salary in either nine or twelve equal installments.
A participant in this program may elect to modify his or her status to full retirement at any time by simply notifying the department chair, in writing, of this intent not fewer than ninety days prior to the beginning of the academic year when this change in status is to become effective.
Departmental Budgeted FTE
The affected department will retain the salary negotiated for the faculty member on phased retirement. The provost will recapture the remaining salary balance. The provost may provide the department additional replacement salary funds during the phased retirement period. Upon full retirement, the Office of the Provost will recapture the salary. The department may seek authorization from the provost to search for a replacement during the final year of the phased retirement period.
Conditional Reinstatement Privilege
If there are changes to or interpretations of state or federal law that prohibit the purpose or provisions of this agreement, the university will reinstate the participant to the rank, salary, and tenure status held on the date he or she chose to participate in this program. In the event of reinstatement, the participant may not belong to TRS or ORP, except as provided by law. All laws and rules governing employment after retirement, including those providing for forfeiture of benefits received for the period during which the participant returned to full-time status will apply to any reinstated TRS or ORP participant.
Impact of Physical or Mental Disability
The participant and the university agree that, should the participant become permanently physically or mentally disabled during an academic year, the university president shall, after the participant exhausts all accumulated leave including sick leave pool, authorize extended sick leave for the remainder of the contracted period. The university’s obligation is terminated at the end of the contracted period in which the disability occurs.
Impact of This Policy on Group Benefits Program (GBP) and TRS or ORP Rules
The laws and rules governing eligibility to draw retirement benefits from TRS or an ORP contract and eligibility for membership in GBP, TRS or ORP govern a participant’s eligibility and not this policy.
REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS
Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
Position Date Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs October 1 E2Y Chair, Faculty Senate October 1 E2Y
This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; senior reviewer of this UPPS