The Voluntary Phased Retirement Program (“Program”) is offered to eligible Syracuse University (“University”) tenured faculty members to provide opportunities for a gradual transition to a date certain full retirement. The Program permits faculty members to phase down their work expectations in the final years of their faculty careers.
A full-time tenured faculty member may be eligible to participate in the Program if, as of the date his or her phased retirement would commence under the Program, he or she is at least 55 years of age and has completed at least 10 academic years of full-time employment at the University (as specified in payroll records maintained by the University). As an exception to the preceding sentence, a tenured faculty member who is serving in an administrative position or as a department chairperson is ineligible to participate in the Program while performing such service (the Vice Chancellor and Provost for Academic Affairs or his or her delegate (“Vice Chancellor”) reserves the right, in appropriate situations deemed to be in the best interests of the University, to disregard this exception with respect to a faculty member as long as the faculty member otherwise satisfies the eligibility requirements in the preceding sentence).
Participation and Compensation
- Phase-Down Period – Eligible faculty members may elect to take a reduced work load over a period of one year to three years (the phase-down period), followed by full retirement at the end of the phase-down period.
- Work Load During the Phase-Down Period – Eligible faculty members may elect to reduce their normal work load to a level as low as 25% over the phase-down period they elect. The reduced work load may be a constant fraction of the normal full-time work load over the phase-down period, such as 50% time each semester for three academic years, or the work load may decrease, such as 50% time in year one, and 25% time in year two.
- Compensation and Benefits – Compensation will be proportionate to work load. For example, an eligible faculty member with a 50% academic year appointment would be compensated by a salary equal to 50% of his or her regular academic year base salary. Participants will continue to be eligible for annual merit salary increases.Participants will be eligible for benefits under the University’s benefit plans (including the University’s contribution under the University’s noncontributory retirement plan) to the extent provided by the terms of those plans and to the extent the participants continue to pay any applicable contributions for such benefits. In situations where a highly compensated participant would be ineligible for a University benefit, the participant will be (a) notified by the University’s Phased Retirement Coordinator (“Coordinator”) of that fact prior to participating in the Program, and (b) informed of options that might be available with respect to restructuring the proposed phased retirement arrangement. Participants who have attained age 59 ½ may, prior to their retirement, elect to commence receipt of their benefits under the University’s retirement plans if they satisfy the applicable requirements of those plans.
- Procedure for Participation – An eligible faculty member interested in participating in the Program must make a transition appointment proposal to his or her dean, and work with the dean to develop a mutually agreeable transition appointment and set of duties for one to three years leading to a date certain full retirement. The dean will consult, as appropriate, with the faculty member’s department chairperson or program chairperson. Eligible faculty members with joint appointments between two or more colleges must receive approval from each of the deans.A dean may disapprove or alter a proposed transition appointment based on legitimate institutional need. Denial or alteration of a faculty member’s proposed transition appointment by the dean, to which the faculty member objects, is subject to review by the Vice Chancellor. A final determination of whether a disapproval or an alteration of a proposed transition appointment is based on legitimate institutional need will be made by the Vice Chancellor. Examples of legitimate institutional need are such situations as the unavailability of another person to offer a particular required course, or the need for the individual’s exclusive expertise for an externally funded research grant.When a transition appointment has been agreed to by the eligible faculty member and the dean, a Voluntary Phased Retirement Agreement (“Agreement”) is completed, signed by the faculty member and dean and forwarded to the Office of Academic Administration for processing. The Office of Academic Administration will provide a copy of the Agreement to the Coordinator who will review the Agreement for any benefit issues. If the Coordinator identifies any benefit issues, he or she will consult with the eligible faculty member and the dean regarding possible restructuring. Once any benefit issues are addressed, the Coordinator signs the Agreement and returns it to the Vice Chancellor. When the Vice Chancellor executes the Agreement, it becomes final and binding.
The University may make such exceptions to the requirements of the Program as the Vice Chancellor and the Office of Human Resources jointly determine to be in the best interests of the University. In addition, the University reserves the right to formally amend the existing provisions of the Program, or to terminate the Program, at such time(s) as it deems appropriate.
Date: July 2005
Amended: January 2008
Amended: March 2011