SUNY Oneonta has decided to once again offer the Phased Retirement Program for Full-Time Teaching Faculty designed to give eligible members of the teaching faculty an opportunity for a phased approach to retirement prior to retirement. This Program allows individuals to move into retirement gradually through a reduction in work and commensurate reduction in pay.
Full-time teaching faculty who have at least ten years of full-time consecutive SUNY service and who are age 55 or older at the time they begin program participation.
The following information provides details regarding the Phased Retirement Program. Consideration as whether to participate in the program is a serious matter and should be reviewed with great diligence. Employees are encouraged to seek counsel from their tax advisors, retirement system representative, financial planner, Social Security Administration and the SUNY Oneonta Benefits Administrator before applying for the program.
- Reduction in time: Upon request of the employee and after approval of the Provost, the Phased Retirement Program allows participants to work at 50% for up to two years. The associated workload for all employees is established in consultation with the appropriate unit head(s) (department chair, associate dean, dean) and is subject to approval by the Provost. The percentage of effort may not be increased except in unusual circumstances and only with the written support of the dean and approval of the Provost.
- Faculty workload: The workload for faculty is expressed in terms of teaching load and other assignments as agreed to by the faculty member, department chair and the dean and subject to the approval of the Provost. The percentage of effort is either 100% in the fall semester and have the spring semester off or work 50% fall and spring semesters.
Assignments and work schedules are developed by the faculty member and the department chair and are subject to the approval of the dean and the Provost.
- Length of contract: Phased retirement contracts range from a minimum of one year and to a maximum of two years.
- Appointment status: The full-time teaching faculty will remain at the academic rank achieved at the time they begin program participation. The faculty will be given a part-time appointment with a 50% obligation for the duration of the phased retirement contract. The intention of the College is to honor commitments made to any faculty member who takes advantage of this program. Circumstances that could impact the agreement include, but are not limited to, fiscal crises, program retrenchment, or gross misconduct.
- Bargaining Unit: Employees who take advantage of the Phased Retirement Program, and have been represented by UUP, remain represented by the United University Professions and are covered by the Agreement between UUP and the State of New York for the duration of their employment.
- Salary: The starting salary for the Phased Retirement Program is calculated at 50% of the full-time base salary of the employee’s position immediately preceding participation in the phased retirement program. Salary during the program is paid over a full year in equal bi-weekly payments over 26 pay periods regardless of fluctuations in workload throughout the year. Any additional work will be paid at the appropriate rate for the work being performed (e.g., summer session, overload).
- Negotiated salary increases: Phased -Retirement Program participants remain eligible for negotiated across-the-board salary increases. Eligibility for any negotiated lump sum salary increases will be determined based on the contract language applicable to part-time employees.
- Benefits: Participants remain enrolled as active employees in all benefits programs, including retirement. For Optional Retirement Program (TIAA-CREF) participants, this means that retirement contributions made by the state on behalf of the employees will continue until such time as the employee retires. The retirement contribution would continue at the percentage achieved prior to entering the phased retirement program, but on a reduced salary.
For NYS Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) participants, this means that they will continue to be reported to their respective retirement system and receive service credit as per TRS and ERS crediting guidelines. Final average salary calculations generally are based on the last three highest consecutive years of earnings
No change will occur to the health, dental, vision and life insurance coverage or premiums except as may be applicable for all employees based on NYS and/or UUP guidelines. Premiums for health insurance are established by the Department of Civil Service.
- Leave accrual: Participants will continue to accrue and use applicable leave accruals but on a part-time basis as outlined in the UUP Agreement (see Article 23 of the State/UUP Agreement. Subject to change under future Agreements).
Sabbaticals and leaves of absence – Phased Retirement Program participants are not eligible for sabbatical leaves or Title F leaves. A faculty member who returns from sabbatical may request to immediately enter the phased retirement program to satisfy the one-year return-to-work requirement. Participants may be eligible for other leaves, such as Family and Medical Leave Act leave, if eligibility requirements are met as defined by law.
Full-time teaching faculty wishing to participate in the Phased Retirement Program must complete an Application and proposed Assignment and Work Schedule and submit it for appropriate approvals. Applications are due from department chair to dean by October 28, 2019. The Assignment and Work Schedule should be developed by the faculty member and their department chair and are subject to the approval of the dean and Vice President/Provost.
After the application is approved, the employee is provided a letter describing the length of the agreement and the duties and responsibilities as outlined in the Assignment and Work Schedule. This contract is irrevocable by the employee except that a participant can terminate/retire earlier than originally expected.
The employee must sign the letter and return it with an irrevocable letter of resignation for the purpose of retirement with an effective date coinciding with the cessation of their phased retirement program.