Phased-in retirement program on offer for faculty
Queen’s and the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) have jointly developed a phased-in retirement program for continuing QUFA members. Under the program a faculty member’s retirement can be phased in through a combination of financial incentives with reduced workloads and salaries over two or three years. The maximum amount of a financial incentive available is $100,000 and the maximum number of participants is 80 with specific limits set out on a unit basis.
“The decision to retire can be a challenging one,” says Queen’s University Faculty Association President, Cathy Christie. “By offering the option to phase in their retirement over the next few years, we hope that this plan will be helpful for those members who currently may be contemplating retirement. Ideally, we had hoped that a phased-in retirement plan could be offered to all QUFA members on an ongoing basis and be linked to a faculty renewal program. This would help QUFA members and allow departments and faculties to complete meaningful long term strategic plans.”
Under the Memorandum of Agreement for the phased-in plan between Queen’s and QUFA there is no commitment to adopt a similar plan in the future.
Tenured faculty members and continuing librarian, archivist or adjunct faculty members who are at least 55 years old and have a minimum 10 years of service at Queen’s are eligible for the voluntary program. They cannot be on a reduced appointment when they begin their phased-in retirement.
“One benefit of the plan is that faculty who are close to a retirement decision and are looking to wind down their research, teaching, and supervisory responsibilities can do this without compromising their pension,” says Bob Weisnagel, Associate Director, Pension, Benefits and Insurance. “Contribution rates for both employer and employee will be maintained on the faculty member’s regular salary throughout the two- or three-year phased retirement period. So even though the employee will have a reduced workload there will be no impact at all on their pension at retirement.”
Discussion leading to the voluntary, phased incentive plan was initiated by the university as part of its overall cost savings strategy.
“The program we developed represents a balancing of interests between facilitating a planned and phased-in approach for those faculty members who are considering retirement and choose to participate, and the opportunity for cost savings for the university,” says Dan Bradshaw, Director, Faculty Relations. “Unit-based limits on participation will mitigate the impact of the number of departures in any one unit. I am very pleased that we were able to work through this with QUFA.”
QUFA remains concerned that the university views the current plan primarily as a cost reduction program since there is no commitment to refill the positions that become vacant through retirement.
The first deadline to apply for the program is May 28 with a second deadline of December 15. Applicants to the latter date may wish to apply by the May 28 deadline due to the specific limits for participation in the program.
Program details can be found at www.queensu.ca/vpac/FacultyRelations.html. Later this week the site will include a Q&A document that has been developed based on questions received since the April 6 announcement of the plan.