Phased Retirement Program
Program Approved by the Iowa Board of Regents Phased
Eligibility for Faculty and Staff
- Must be employed in a non-temporary and full-time appointment for a minimum of 15 years.
- Reached the age of 57.
- Faculty applying for phased for the upcoming fall semester must submit their request prior to March 15.
- Faculty applying for phased for the upcoming spring semester must submit their request prior to October 15.
All agreements are subject to eligibility and departmental, divisional, and university approval. Requests may be denied if they are not in the best interest of the institution.
Agreement Schedule and Compensation
Health, dental, life and disability insurance will continue at the full-time salary level prior to the start of the agreement. Contributions to TIAA will continue to be made at full budgeted salary level prior to the start of the agreement. Contributions to IPERS and FICA are made based on the actual salary level during the agreement. Vacation and sick leave accruals will be prorated based on the percentage of the appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1Q: What are the general provisions of the Phased Retirement Program?
1A: Any Phased Retirement Program request will be subject to these conditions:
- Faculty applying for a reduced appointment must do so before class assignments are made for the upcoming semester.
- Faculty agreements should become effective July 1 or January 1, unless unique circumstances.
- The program will provide approved applicants a reduced appointment for a period not to exceed two calendar 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.
- Maximum period of two calendar 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%. A year is defined by the employee’s service schedule (e.g., twelve-month service schedule is a calendar year, nine-month service schedule is an academic year, etc.). The work schedule is subject to agreement between the employee and the department.
- 2Q: Do my years of paid employment need to be consecutive to meet the eligibility requirement?
2A: 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.
- 3Q: Will the Phased Retirement Program be on-going?
3A: The Phased Retirement Program is subject to approval by the state Board of Regents.
- 4Q: If I'm approved for a Phased Retirement Program, can I rescind my request later?
4A: No. The request and approval for this program are binding once approved.
- 5Q: 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?
5A: No. Board of Regents policy prohibits return to full-time employment once phased retirement has begun.
- 6Q: Once my reduction in schedule for a phased agreement has begun, can I later decide to fully retire prior to the completion of my originally approved phasing?
6A: You should discuss any changes in your originally approved Phased Retirement schedule of phasing with your supervisor/department chair. Changes are subject to approval.
- 7Q: How do I apply for the Phased Retirement Program?
7A: You will need to complete an initial online request form that is available on the Human Resource Benefits website.
- 8Q: If I complete the Initial Online Request Form for the Phased Retirement Program, is my request to retire approved?
8A: No. A request for the Phased Retirement Program is subject to review and approval by your department head/supervisor and dean/director/vice president/president. The program does not create a right for employees.
- 9Q: How will I be notified if my request is approved?
9A: 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.
- 10Q: If I elect and am approved for the Phased Retirement Program, what are the impacts to salary and benefits I receive?
10A: 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.
- You will continue to be eligible participate in health and dental insurance coverage with premiums based on active employee premiums.
- Employee and employer contributions to a defined contribution retirement plan (TIAA) will be based on your budgeted annual salary immediately preceding the period of reduced appointment.
- Employee and 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.
- 11Q: I currently have IPERS as my retirement plan. Will I be able to receive an IPERS distribution during my reduced appointment?
11A: No. IPERS is a defined benefit retirement plan that does not permit you to receive distributions while still actively employed.
- 12Q: 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?
12A: Yes. You will have access to your retirement plan funds (up to 99% of balances) once your phased retirement has started. You should consult with TIAA to understand your options for taking distributions.
- 13Q: I currently have a Flexible Spending Account. What is the impact to me if I take the Phased Retirement Plan option?
13A: Flexible Spending Accounts are funded with contributions from your pay. During your phased period of reduced appointment, you can continue to participate in the flexible spending accounts.
Upon your full retirement, you no longer have a salary and the contributions to your flexible spending account will end. Only eligible expenses experienced by you, or a family member, until the end of the month in which you are employed can be reimbursed. You will be offered the option to continue access to your flexible spending account through COBRA. Contact the HRS Benefits team at firstname.lastname@example.org if additional information is needed.
- 14Q: What is the impact to my current vacation balances if I go on Phased Retirement?
- Vacation accrual (if applicable) is prorated based on the appointment (FTE).
- If at the start of your Phased Retirement you are above the new maximum vacation balance (based on FTE on phased agreement), any vacation balance above the new maximum ((based on FTE on phased agreement) 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 to accrue.
- 15Q: 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.
- You should contact your local Social Security Administration office with any questions.
- 16Q: After my reduced appointment ends, what are my options for health and dental insurance coverage?
16A: You should meet with a Human Resource Services Benefits contact regarding benefit questions in retirement. To ask a question or schedule a meeting contact email@example.com or call (319) 273-2423.
- 17Q: What happens to my pay if I am faculty on a 12 paycheck cycle?
17A: 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. Faculty agreements should become effective July 1 or January 1, unless unique circumstances.
- 18Q: What happens to my compensation, health, dental, and life insurance in the event of my death while on a Phased Retirement agreement?
- Effective on the last day worked, salary and contributions to retirement are ended.
- 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.
- Life Insurance beneficiaries may work with Human Resource Benefits and may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (319) 273-2423.
- 19Q: What happens to my accumulated sick leave and vacation when I fully retire?
- Per UNI policy, sick leave balances will be paid to you up to a maximum of $2,000. 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.
- 20Q: What else should I be aware of – such as taxes?
20A: Employees are responsible for any tax consequences resulting from retirement decisions. As an example, generally employees who have reached the age of 72 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.
- 21Q: 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 Human Resource Benefits Contact – Email email@example.com or call (319) 273-2423.