Faculty age 65 and over offered bonus to retire by Aug. 31


On June 15, Pitt announced details of a voluntary retirement incentive program for faculty 65 and older who have worked at the University consecutively for 10 or more years.

The plan includes an incentive payment equal of 50 percent of the participant’s annual University base pay, less required tax withholdings, that will be paid in a lump sum by Sept. 30. The payment will be calculated on base pay as of Aug. 1.

Faculty who accept the package will have immediate access to Pitt’s standard retirement benefits package, which includes health care and education benefits for spouse/domestic partner and dependent children up to age 26.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said at the June 11 Senate Council meeting that the retirement incentives for faculty and staff (see related story) were part of the effort to offset significant costs related to Pitt’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Deans were given the option whether to participate in the program for faculty. The Schools of Nursing and Medicine opted out. Faculty in administrative positions, such as deans, campus presidents and department chairs, are not eligible for this program. Outside of those areas, the Faculty Retirement Incentive Program is available to:

  • Full-time tenured, tenure-stream and appointment-stream faculty

  • Faculty who are currently in a phased retirement (with a signed “transition to retirement” agreement in place)

  • Full-time faculty librarians

Eligible faculty were sent emails on June 15 and will be receiving additional detailed mailed to their home addresses. David DeJong, vice chancellor for Human Resources, said 230 faculty members were eligible. Those who want to participate in the plan must indicate their interest by July 1, 2020, and have a retirement date between May 21, 2020 and Aug. 31 of this year.

May 21, 2020 is the date the University determined that the Faculty Retirement Incentive Program was under serious consideration for implementation. Therefore, any retirement that occurs on or after May 21 will be considered.

For full details, go to a FAQ on the provost’s website. Any questions can be directed to Steve Wisniewski, vice provost for Budget and Analytics, at stevewis@pitt.edu. Webinars will be conducted in both June and July to explain the retirement benefits and transition issues.

Faculty were last offered an early retirement incentive in 1998 — available to those who had worked at Pitt at least 12 years and were at least 60 years old, or if the sum of their ages and years of service totaled at least 85. Participants in the 1998 program received payment equal to 1.5 times their annual contract salary, but not exceeding $125,000. Payments were made over a 12-month period.

More than 40 percent of the 381 eligible tenured faculty members signed up for the plan. When the Board of Trustees approved the plan in October 1997, it also passed a resolution that it would not support another special early retirement plan in the future.

The current plan does not require approval by the Board of Trustees.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.


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