Human Resources

Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement for Tenured and Clinician Track Faculty

Effective January 1, 2008, the University introduced a Phased Retirement Program for tenured and clinician track faculty members who meet the eligibility requirements.

Forms

Tenured Faculty

To assist tenured faculty members in making an orderly transition to retirement, the University offers a Phased Retirement Program (“Program”) which includes a choice of two phased retirement plans. The mutual goal of these plans is to offer tenured faculty members the opportunity to take advantage of a period of reduced service during which the faculty member may begin withdrawing from departmental administrative obligations while continuing to teach, perform clinical responsibilities, and/or conduct research on a reduced schedule, and, as appropriate, to promote an orderly conclusion to graduate thesis supervisory duties.

Scope

Eligibility
This Program is available to all tenured faculty members who are at least fifty-five (55) years of age and, whose age in combination with years of full-time service with Washington University is equal to at least seventy-five (75).

Caveats
Any arrangement under this program must be in writing and signed by the faculty member, the Department Chair, Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources before the terms become binding. A phased retirement agreement may be changed only by mutual consent of all parties. Once the phased retirement agreement is signed by all parties, it will supersede the terms, conditions and rights of employment outlined in any other agreement to the extent such terms, conditions and rights of employment are inconsistent with the terms of the phased retirement agreement. Any amendment to the original agreement must comply with the phased retirement program policy, must be in writing, must be signed by the parties, and is not effective until signed by the Dean (or designee) and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Annually, the Chancellor will be provided a report that will summarize the participation level in the Phased Retirement Program and, to the extent possible, anticipated new participation for the coming academic year.

Workload agreements must be included in the basic and enhanced phased retirement plan agreements, approved by the Department Chair and the Dean and signed by the faculty member. These agreements are to be based upon a workload of fifty percent (50%) time, and will outline with as much particularity as possible the specific responsibilities the faculty member will perform related to teaching, clinical, research, and service/administrative duties, as appropriate. If the faculty member’s workload agreement includes the release of the research or laboratory space he/she occupies, the agreement should include provisions for the manner and timing of such release.

The faculty member’s continued employment is subject to all applicable University policies and procedures, except as otherwise provided for in the basic or enhanced phased retirement plan agreements.

The terms of the Program for tenured faculty members may be modified or terminated by the University at any time at its discretion. Should the decision be made to either modify or terminate the Program, those basic/enhanced phased retirement plans in process will continue as agreed upon. The Phased Retirement Program will be reevaluated for continuation or modification on an annual basis.

Terms

Basic Phased Retirement Plan
A basic phased retirement plan agreement may have a term of up to three (3) academic or calendar years, as appropriate. During the term of the agreement, the faculty member must work an average of fifty percent (50%) time, based upon the agreed upon workload agreement. During the first year of the agreement, the faculty member will be compensated at a rate equal to fifty percent (50%) of his/her base annual salary prior to the commencement of the agreement. Thereafter, such compensation will be eligible for annual salary increases as appropriate. Base annual salary is that compensation defined as “benefits eligible”. Continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan of a clinical department(s) and/or division(s) of which the faculty member is a member will be separately negotiated.

  • Should the faculty member fail to fulfill or satisfactorily perform any of the responsibilities of the workload agreement, or be unable or unwilling to complete the term of the agreement for any reason, the faculty member will waive any right to any additional compensation beyond that owed to the faculty member for work specified in the workload agreement that he/she has already performed.
  • At the joint request of the faculty member and the Department Chair, and with the concurrence of the Dean, a basic phased retirement plan agreement may be renewed for one additional year for a total basic phased retirement plan agreement of a maximum of four (4) academic or calendar years, as appropriate.

Enhanced Phased Retirement Plan
A modified phased retirement plan designed to provide a higher level of base annual salary during the period of part-time duty is also available to interested and eligible tenured faculty members for up to two (2) academic or calendar years, as appropriate. Under the enhanced phased retirement plan, a faculty member shall work fifty percent (50%) time, based upon the agreed upon workload agreement. During the first year of the agreement, the faculty member will be compensated at a rate equal to two-thirds (2/3) of his/her base annual salary prior to the commencement of the agreement. In the second year of the agreement, such compensation will be eligible for an annual salary increase as appropriate Base annual salary is that compensation defined as “benefits eligible”. Continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan of a clinical department(s) and/or division(s) of which the faculty member is a member will be separately negotiated.

  • Should the faculty member fail to fulfill or satisfactorily perform the responsibilities of the workload agreement, or be unable or unwilling to complete the term of the agreement for any reason, the faculty member will waive any right to additional compensation beyond that for work, specific to the agreed upon workload agreement, already performed.
  • The enhanced phased retirement plan period is capped at a maximum of two (2) academic or calendar years, as appropriate.

Waiver/Release
Each basic and enhanced phased retirement plan agreement must include the faculty member’s waiver and release of claims and constitutes both an irrevocable agreement to relinquish tenure rights coincident with the start of the basic or enhanced phased retirement period and an irrevocable agreement to retire at the end of term of the agreement. The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel and the Office of Human Resources shall review all phased retirement plan agreements prior to execution.

Impact on Benefits

During the term of the agreement, the University will continue its contribution toward health and dental insurance coverage as if the faculty member were full-time, provided that those benefit plans continue to be offered to benefits eligible faculty and staff members of the University. In all cases, coverage will not continue unless the required employee contributions have been paid.

For the purposes of dependent child tuition benefits, during the term of the agreement and upon retirement, the faculty member will be treated as if full-time, provided that the tuition assistance benefit continues to be offered to those faculty and staff members who continue to meet the eligibility requirements. In all cases, the tuition plan rules will govern the administration of the benefit.

All other University sponsored benefits will be managed consistent with part-time benefits eligible status, provided that these plans continue to be offered to benefits eligible faculty and staff members of the University. Specifically, the faculty member also will continue to be enrolled in and/or eligible to participate in the, flexible spending, health savings account, retirement medical savings account, optional life insurance, long term disability insurance, long term care insurance, retirement savings plans and deferred compensation plans. The only benefit plan not available to part-time faculty members is basic or free term life insurance. Even if the faculty member or the faculty member’s spouse/domestic partner is age 65 or over, so long as the faculty member participates in either the basic or enhanced phased retirement program, he/she will have access to primary health insurance coverage with the University–sponsored plan and have secondary health insurance coverage with Medicare.

While the faculty member is participating in this phased retirement program, he/she will have the opportunity to change his/her health insurance plan/coverage and/or health flex spending plan during the annual open enrollment in November. The faculty member will be able to change or cancel his/her enrollment in all of the remaining benefit plans at any time. At least ninety (90) days prior to the actual retirement date, the faculty member should contact the nearest Social Security office (if appropriate) and the University’s Benefits department to initiate the change to the University’s retiree health benefits.

Should the phased retirement plan be terminated prior to the conclusion date specified in the phased retirement plan agreement, eligibility to continue participation in benefits available to University retirees will be managed based upon the respective plan rules and, where appropriate, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) regulations.

School/Department Procedures

Requests for basic or enhanced phased retirement plan agreements for Danforth Campus tenured faculty must be submitted to the Department Chair, with a copy to the Dean, by December 1st for an agreement to begin the following fall semester; a request by May 1st is required for an agreement to begin the following spring semester. In response to timely requests, the Department Chair will notify the faculty member whether the request is granted or denied not later than March 31st for fall semester or September 30th for spring semester. Requests submitted after the due dates may be denied as untimely.

Requests for basic or enhanced phased retirement plan agreements for WUSM tenured faculty must be submitted to the Department Chair, with a copy to the Dean, a minimum of eighteen (18) months prior to the desired start of the phased retirement period. The Department Chair will notify the faculty member whether the request is granted or denied within six (6) months of the request.

Clinician Track Faculty

To assist clinician track faculty members in making an orderly transition to retirement, the University offers a Phased Retirement Program (“Program”) which includes a choice of two phased retirement plans. The mutual goal of these plans is to offer clinician track faculty members the opportunity to take advantage of a period of reduced service during which the faculty member may begin withdrawing from departmental administrative obligations while continuing to teach, perform clinical responsibilities, and/or conduct clinical research on a reduced schedule.

Scope

Eligibility
This Program is available to all clinician track faculty members who are at least fifty-five (55) years of age and, whose age in combination with years of full-time service with Washington University is equal to at least seventy-five (75). In situations where full-time service is interrupted by a reduction to part-time benefits eligible service (Part-time benefits eligible service for faculty is defined as working fifty percent (50%) or more of the required full-time workload), the full-time equivalent status will be calculated.

In situations where a break in service occurs resulting in a re-hire date, the clinician track faculty member must have a minimum of five (5) years of current consecutive full-time service, or the equivalent, since the re-hire date. Upon completion of this eligibility requirement, the full-time service or equivalent will be calculated based upon the service prior to and since the re-hire date.

Caveats
Any arrangement under this program must be in writing and signed by the faculty member, the Department Chair, Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources before the terms become binding. A phased retirement agreement may be changed only by mutual consent of all parties. Once the phased retirement agreement is signed by all parties, it will supersede the terms, conditions and rights of employment outlined in any other agreement to the extent such terms, conditions and rights of employment are inconsistent with the terms of the phased retirement agreement. Any amendment to the original agreement must comply with the phased retirement program policy, must be in writing, must be signed by the parties, and is not effective until signed by the Dean (or designee) and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Annually, the Chancellor will be provided a report that will summarize the participation level in the Phased Retirement Program and, to the extent possible, anticipated new participation for the coming academic year.

Workload agreements must be included in the basic and enhanced phased retirement plan agreements, approved by the Department Chair and the Dean and signed by the faculty member. These agreements are to be based upon a workload of fifty percent (50%) time, and will outline with as much particularity as possible the specific responsibilities the faculty member will perform related to teaching, clinical, research, and service/administrative duties, as appropriate. If the faculty member’s workload agreement includes the release of the space he/she occupies, the agreement should include provisions for the manner and timing of such release.

The faculty member’s continued employment is subject to all applicable University policies and procedures, except as otherwise provided for in the basic or enhanced phased retirement plan agreements.

The terms of the Program for clinician track faculty members may be modified or terminated by the University at any time at its discretion. Should the decision be made to either modify or terminate the Program, those basic/enhanced phased retirement plans in process will continue as agreed upon. The Phased Retirement Program will be reevaluated for continuation or modification on an annual basis.

Terms

Basic Phased Retirement Plan
A basic phased retirement plan agreement may have a term of up to three (3) academic years. During the term of the agreement, the faculty member must work an average of fifty percent (50%) time, based upon the agreed upon workload agreement. During the first year of the agreement, the faculty member will be compensated at a rate equal to fifty percent (50%) of his/her base annual salary prior to the commencement of the agreement. Thereafter, such compensation will be eligible for annual salary increases as appropriate. Base annual salary is that compensation defined as “benefits eligible.” Continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan of a clinical department(s) and/or division(s) of which the faculty member is a member will be separately negotiated.

  • Should the faculty member fail to fulfill or satisfactorily perform any of the responsibilities of the workload agreement, or be unable or unwilling to complete the term of the agreement for any reason, the faculty member will waive any right to any additional compensation beyond that owed to the faculty member for work specified in the workload agreement that he/she has already performed.
  • At the joint request of the faculty member and the Department Chair, and with the concurrence of the Dean, a basic phased retirement plan agreement may be renewed for one additional year for a total basic phased retirement plan agreement of a maximum of four (4) academic years.

Enhanced Phased Retirement Plan
A modified phased retirement plan designed to provide a higher level of base annual salary during the period of part-time duty is also available to interested and eligible clinician track faculty members for up to two (2) academic years. Under the enhanced phased retirement plan, a faculty member shall work fifty percent (50%) time, based upon the agreed upon workload agreement. During the first year of the agreement, the faculty member will be compensated at a rate equal to two-thirds (2/3) of his/her base annual salary prior to the commencement of the agreement. In the second year of the agreement, such compensation will be eligible for an annual salary increase as appropriate. Base annual salary is that compensation defined as “benefits eligible.” Continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan of a clinical department(s) and/or division(s) of which the faculty member is a member will be separately negotiated.

  • Should the faculty member fail to fulfill or satisfactorily perform the responsibilities of the workload agreement, or be unable or unwilling to complete the term of the agreement for any reason, the faculty member will waive any right to additional compensation beyond that for work, specific to the agreed upon workload agreement, already performed.
  • The enhanced phased retirement plan period is capped at a maximum of two (2) academic years.

Waiver/Release
Each basic and enhanced phased retirement plan agreement must include the faculty member’s waiver and release of claims, and constitutes an irrevocable agreement to retire at the end of term of the agreement. The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel and the Office of Human Resources shall review all phased retirement plan agreements prior to execution.

Impact on Benefits

During the term of the agreement, the University will continue its contribution toward health and dental insurance coverage as if the faculty member were full-time, provided that those benefit plans continue to be offered to benefits eligible faculty and staff members of the University. In all cases, coverage will not continue unless the required employee contributions have been paid.

For the purposes of dependent child tuition benefits, during the term of the agreement and upon retirement, the faculty member will be treated as if full-time, provided that the tuition assistance benefit continues to be offered to those faculty and staff members who continue to meet the eligibility requirements. In all cases, the tuition plan rules will govern the administration of the benefit.

All other University sponsored benefits, will be managed consistent with part-time benefits eligible status, provided that these plans continue to be offered to benefits eligible faculty and staff members of the University. Specifically, the faculty member also will continue to be enrolled in and/or eligible to participate in the, flexible spending, health savings account, retirement medical savings account, optional life insurance, long term disability insurance, long term care insurance, retirement savings plans and deferred compensation plans. The only benefit plan not available to part-time faculty members is basic or free term life insurance. Even if the faculty member or the faculty member’s spouse/domestic partner is age 65 or over, so long as the faculty member participates in either the basic or enhanced phased retirement program, he/she will have access to primary health insurance coverage with the University–sponsored plan and have secondary health insurance coverage with Medicare.

While the faculty member is participating in this phased retirement program, he/she will have the opportunity to change his/her health insurance plan/coverage and/or health flex spending plan during the annual open enrollment in November. The faculty member will be able to change or cancel his/her enrollment in all of the remaining benefit plans at anytime. At least ninety (90) days prior to the actual retirement date, the faculty member should contact the nearest Social Security office (if appropriate) and the University’s Benefits department to initiate the change to the University’s retiree health benefits.

Should the phased retirement plan be terminated prior to the conclusion date specified in the phased retirement plan agreement, eligibility to continue participation in benefits available to University retirees will be managed based upon the respective plan rules and, where appropriate, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) regulations.

School/Department Procedures

Requests for basic or enhanced phased retirement plan agreements for clinician track faculty must be submitted to the Department Chair, with a copy to the Dean, a minimum of eighteen (18) months prior to the desired start of the phased retirement period. The Department Chair will notify the faculty member whether the request is granted or denied within six (6) months of the request.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why is this phased retirement program being offered?

A. The phased retirement program is being offered in response to requests from tenured faculty members interested in a transition to retirement (consistent with the University’s definition of retirement). In addition, many of our peer institutions have similar benefits available for certain categories of faculty.

Q2. Can I be forced to participate in this program?

A. No; this is a voluntary program that requires agreement of the faculty member and the department chair/head and dean.

Q3. There is a minimum age of 55; do I need to meet the University’s eligibility requirements for retirement in order to apply for phased retirement?

A. Yes. This program is based upon the principle that the applicant has reached the age and service requirements to be treated as a retiree of the University at the time of application. Eligibility requirements are specified in the program documents, including how periods of part-time benefits eligible service and breaks in service (specific to Clinician Track Faculty) will be handled.

Q4. Since participation in this program results in part-time status, what will happen to my benefits if I participate in this program?

A. You will be eligible to continue participation in the health insurance and dependent child tuition plans as if you were a full-time faculty member; in other words, the University’s contribution toward your health insurance will not be reduced due to the change to part-time status, and the dependent child tuition benefit will not be reduced due to the change to part-time status. If you are enrolled in health insurance during your participation in this program and either you or your spouse/domestic partner is age 65 or older, you will continue to have primary health insurance with Washington University and secondary health insurance with Medicare. With the exception of basic term life insurance, you will be able to continue to participate in all other University benefit plans as a part-time faculty member, subject to the plan rules, including eligibility.

Q5. What will happen to my compensation if I participate in the basic phased retirement plan?

A. During the first year of the agreement, you will be compensated at a rate equal to fifty percent of your base annual salary; thereafter, you will be eligible for annual salary increases as appropriate. If you are a member of a clinical department or division, continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan will have to be negotiated separate from this plan.

Q6. What will happen to my compensation if I participate in the enhanced phased retirement plan?

A. Even though your status will be part-time, during the first year of the agreement, you will be compensated at a rate equal to two-thirds of your base annual salary; thereafter, you will be eligible for annual salary increases as appropriate. If you are a member of a clinical department or division, continued eligibility for compensation in addition to base annual salary pursuant to a faculty compensation plan will have to be negotiated separate from this plan.

Q7. If I participate in either of the phased retirement plans, at what point do I surrender my tenure rights?

A. Tenure is surrendered at the point your full-time status with the University ceases.

Q8. If I participate in either of the phased retirement plans, at what point does the phased retirement plan agreement supersede my clinician track contract or any other agreements with the University?

A. Once the phased retirement agreement is signed by all parties, it will supersede the terms, conditions and rights of employment outlined in any other agreement, to the extent such terms, conditions and rights of employment are inconsistent with the terms of the phased retirement agreement. For example, an existing non-compete agreement will not be superseded by the phased retirement agreement.

Q9. As a retired faculty member, at the conclusion of the phased retirement period, may I work for the University in another capacity?

A. Yes.

Q10. If I am participating in one of the phased retirement plans, may I still take advantage of my ability to perform outside consulting?

A. Yes, however scheduling of this time must be consistent with University policy.

Q11. Is it possible to alter or defer the phased retirement period?

A. An agreement may be modified by mutual consent of all of the parties; any amendment to the original agreement must be in writing, signed by the parties, the Dean (or designee) and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. It is not an option to defer the phased retirement period. Reversing a phased retirement agreement to full-time status is not permitted.

Q12. May I take advantage of both phased retirement plans?

A. No, you may only take advantage of a single phased retirement plan.

Q13. May I take a leave without pay for a year in the midst of the agreement thus extending the arrangement for another year?

A. No, you will not be eligible for additional leave time or a sabbatical once the period of phased retirement begins.

Q14. Under what circumstances can the phased retirement agreement be cancelled?

A. Should you fail to fulfill or satisfactorily perform any of the responsibilities of the workload agreement, or be unable or unwilling to complete the term of the agreement for any reason, you will waive any right to any additional compensation beyond that owed for work specified in the workload agreement that you have already performed.

Q15. Is it possible for a faculty member participating in one of the phased retirement plans to accept another position outside the University for that percentage of time he or she is not obligated to the University?

A. Yes, this is permissible. It should be remembered, however, that the intent of the policy is to provide a faculty member the opportunity to ease into retirement, rather than accepting an additional outside position.

Q16. If the additional “outside” position provides benefits, does it negate benefits provided by the University?

A. No, benefits continue to be provided according to the terms of this program, the respective plan documents and the benefits policies.

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