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My Benefits | Phased Retirement Program

Iowa Board of Regents Phased Retirement Program

Eligibility

Faculty and staff employed by the Board of Regents in a non-temporary appointment for a period of at least 15 years, who have attained the age of 57, and work a full-time appointment are eligible to negotiate with their department a schedule for phasing into retirement. The last day for staff to apply for the Phased Retirement Program and begin a reduced appointment is June 30, 2022. Faculty applying for a reduced appointment must do so before the end of the fall 2021 semester, entering into the agreement no later than January 10, 2022.

All agreements are subject to eligibility and appropriate approvals (i.e. departmental and divisional).

Agreement Schedule and Compensation

Agreement Period
2 Year Phased Agreement 1 Year or Less Phased Agreement
Year 1 Year 2 Year 1
Schedule Maximum appointment 65%
Minimum appointment 50%
Maximum/Minimum appointment is 50% Maximum/Minimum appointment is 50%
Compensation At the discretion of the institution, up to an additional 10% of the budgeted salary. UNI has elected to provide the 10% incentive to those starting their reduced appointment between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2022. No additional compensation provided above the budgeted salary. No additional compensation provided above the budgeted salary.

Benefits

Continuation of medical, dental, life and disability insurance at full-time levels. Contributions to TIAA at full budgeted salary level. Contributions to IPERS and FICA at actual salary level. Accrual of vacation and sick leave will be based on percentage of appointment.

Duration

Current program expires on June 30, 2022 unless renewed by the State of Iowa Board of Regents. Program is subject to annual review by the Board of Regents.

Initial Request

If you are interested in this program, please complete the Initial Request for Phased Retirement web-based form. All requests for admission to the institution's Phased Retirement Program must receive approval from the appropriate administrative offices of the institution by which they are employed. The program does not create a right for the employee and the request to enter the program may not be approved if it is not in the best interest of the institution.

Questions on Eligibility

  1. What are the general provisions of the Phased Retirement Program?
    Any Phased Retirement Program request with an effective date between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2022 will be subject to these conditions.
    • The Phased Retirement Program is a Board of Regents approved program. The current program expires on June 30, 2022. The last day for staff to apply for the Phased Retirement Program and begin a reduced appointment is June 30, 2022. Faculty applying for a reduced appointment must do so before the end of the fall 2021 semester, entering into the agreement no later than January 10, 2022.
    • The program will provide approved applicants a reduced appointment for a period not to exceed 2 years.
    • The program begins on the first day of a reduced appointment and ends on the last day of active employment.
    • Faculty and staff employed full-time by the Board of Regents in a non-temporary appointment for a period of at least 15 years and who have attained the age of 57, are eligible to negotiate with their department a schedule for phasing into retirement. The last day for staff to apply for the Phased Retirement Program and begin a reduced appointment is June 30, 2022. Faculty applying for a reduced appointment must do so before the end of the fall 2021 semester, entering into the agreement no later than January 10, 2022.
    • Maximum period of two years with full retirement at the end of the period. Maximum appointment year one of a two year agreement is 65% and minimum appointment is 50%. Maximum appointment year one of a one year agreement or year two of a two year agreement is 50%. Work schedule is subject to agreement between the employee and the department.

  2. Do my years of paid employment need to be consecutive?
    No. However you must have a total of 15 years of paid employment in a non-temporary appointment within the Board of Regents system to be eligible.

  3. Will the Phased Retirement Program be on-going?
    The Phased Retirement Program is subject to ongoing approval by the state Board of Regents. The current program was renewed in 2017 for a period of 5 years. The current program expires on June 30, 2022.

  4. If I'm approved for a Phased Retirement Program, can I rescind my request later?
    No. The request and approval for this program are binding once approved.

  5. If I am approved for Phased Retirement and have begun a reduced appointment, can I rescind my request at a later date and return to full time employment?
    No. Board of Regents policy prohibits return to full-time employment once phased retirement has begun.

  6. Once my reduced schedule though phased has begun, can I later decide to fully retire prior to the completion of my originally approved phasing?
    You should discuss any changes in your originally approved Phased Retirement schedule of phasing with your supervisor/department chair. Changes are subject to approval.

Questions on Applying for Phased Retirement Program

  1. What is the last date that I can apply for the Phased Retirement Program?
    The current Phased Retirement Program expires on June 30, 2022. The last day for staff to apply for the Phased Retirement Program and begin a reduced appointment is June 30, 2022. Faculty applying for a reduced appointment must do so before the end of the fall 2021 semester, entering into the agreement no later than January 10, 2022.

  2. What is the process to apply for the Phased Retirement Program?
    You will need to complete an initial online request form that is available on the Human Resource Benefits web site.

  3. If I apply for the Phased Retirement Program, is my request to retire subject to approval?
    Yes. A request for the Phased Retirement Program is subject to review and approval by your department head/supervisor and dean/director/vice president. The program does not create a right for employees.

  4. How will I be notified if my request is approved?
    If your request is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from Human Resource Services along with a copy of your request. If your request is not approved, you will be notified by your supervisor/department chair.

Questions on Salary and Benefits

  1. If I elect and am approved for the Phased Retirement Program, what are the impacts to salary and benefits I receive?
    During the period of your reduced appointment:
    • Your salary will be based on your phased appointment (50% - 65%), at the discretion of the institution, plus an additional 10% of budgeted annual salary immediately preceding the period of reduced appointment for the first year of a two year agreement. UNI has elected to provide the 10% incentive to those starting their reduced appointment between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2022.
    • You will continue to be eligible participate in health and dental insurance coverage with premiums based on active employee premiums.
    • Employer contributions to a defined contribution retirement plan (TIAA) will be based on your budgeted annual salary immediately preceding the period of reduced appointment.
    • Employer contributions to IPERS will be based on your actual salary received (based on your reduced appointment).
    • Life insurance and disability benefits will be based on your budgeted annual salary immediately preceding the period of reduced appointment.

  2. I currently have IPERS as my retirement plan. Will I be able to receive an IPERS distribution during my reduced appointment?
    No. IPERS is a defined benefit retirement plan that does not permit you to receive distributions while still actively employed.

  3. I participate in the defined contribution retirement plan (TIAA). Will I have access to my retirement funds during my Phased period even though I’m still receiving contributions?
    Yes. You will have access to your retirement plan funds (up to 99% of balances). You should visit with TIAA to understand your options for taking distributions.

  4. I currently have a Flexible Spending Account. What is the impact to me if I take the Phased Retirement Plan option?
    Flexible Spending Accounts are funded with deferrals from your salary. During your phased period of reduced appointment, you can continue to participate in the spending accounts.

    Upon your full retirement, you no longer have a salary and your Flexible Spending Account will end. Only eligible expenses incurred by you or a family member until the end of the month in which your salary deferral ends can be reimbursed. Contact the UNI Benefits team if additional information is needed.

  5. What is the impact to my current vacation balances if I go on Phased Retirement?
    • Vacation accrual (if applicable) does change to be consistent with the appointment (FTE).
    • If at the start of your Phased Retirement you are above the new maximum vacation balance, any vacation balance above the new maximum will be paid out to you.
    • When moved to Phased, there will be no further vacation accrual until you have used vacation to the extent that you are again eligible for accrual.

  6. What is the impact to Social Security if I go on Phased Retirement?
    • Social Security contributions are based on actual salary received. Actual salary is reduced per terms of the Phased Retirement agreement.
    • Social Security income projections received during Phased Retirement may show higher monthly income projections. These projections assume that the final years of your employment will be at the pre-Phased Retirement salary level, not at the actual lower Phased Retirement income level. You should contact your local Social Security Administration office with questions.

  7. After my reduced appointment ends, what are my options for health and dental insurance coverage?
    Subject to existing policies, you will be allowed to participate in health and dental insurance coverage available to retirees at the time your participation in the Phased Retirement Program ends. Assuming existing policies are in force, you will be responsible for insurance premium payments in the same manner as existing retirees. You will not be permitted to participate in retiree plans that you are not enrolled in at the time of full retirement.


  8. What happens to my pay if I am on a 12 paycheck cycle?
    For faculty who begin Phased Retirement in August and who receive their academic year pay over 12 monthly payrolls (July-June), all 12 paychecks will be adjusted to reflect the agreed upon terms beginning with their July payroll.


  9. What happens to my benefits in the event of my death?
    • Effective the last day of work salary and contributions to retirement are terminated.
    • The employee’s surviving spouse or dependent(s) may elect to continue available health and dental insurance coverage as provided by other university policies or by law.

  10. What happens to my accumulated sick leave and vacation when I fully retire?
    • During the reduced appointment, you continue to earn vacation (if applicable) and sick leave based on your reduced appointment.
    • Per UNI policy, sick leave balances will be paid to you up to a maximum of $2000. You must apply to receive sick leave payout.
    • The value of your unused vacation bank, up to the policy maximum, will be paid to you unless your Letter of Intent (LOI) specifies otherwise.
    • Calculation of the payout of unused vacation will exclude the 10% incentive.

  11. What else should I be aware of – such as taxes?
    Employees are responsible for any tax consequences resulting from retirement decisions. As an example, employees who are over age 70 ½ are subject to Minimum Required Distributions (MRD) from their retirement plan and the amount of the MRD can be impacted by the actual last day of active employment. We encourage all employees who are considering Phased Retirement to visit with a financial professional to understand potential impacts applicable to their situation.

  12. Who can I contact if I have more questions on the Phased Retirement Program?
    • Your department chair or director – with questions on participation in the Phased Retirement Program
    • UNI Benefits team – can help you with questions on health and dental insurance coverage in retirement in addition to providing general information on retirement programs (IPERS and TIAA). Office phone is 319-273-2423 or email HRS-benefits@uni.edu
    • TIAA – for assistance with retirement planning and investment options. Call 800-732-8353 for local appointments or speak with a national TIAA representative by calling 800-842-2776
    • Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) – for assistance if you are participating in IPERS. Telephone is 800-622-3849. On-line at www.IPERS.org