Office of the Provost

Transition to Retirement

Faculty Retirement

Official retirement status from the University of Pittsburgh carries with it certain insurance and other benefits.  Eligible faculty hired prior to July 1, 2004, and with no break in service, may elect to officially retire at any age beginning at age 62.  For eligible faculty hired on or after July 1, 2004, age (must be at least 62) plus years of service with the University must equal 85 or more to qualify as an official retiree.  Please refer to University Policies 02-08-01 and 02-08-02, Procedure 02-08-01, and the Faculty Handbook for detailed information about faculty retirement.

 

Part-time Conversion of Tenured Faculty Appointment:  Transition to Retirement

The University By-laws enable a dean or campus president, with the approval of the Provost, to allow a tenured faculty member to reduce the terms of the faculty member’s appointment from full- to part-time.  One common reason a tenured faculty member may request a change to part-time status is the desire to transition to retirement.  Such requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, and should not involve a faculty member holding a part-time position for more than two years.  In responding to these requests, careful attention is given to the needs of the school, department or campus.  A tenured faculty member’s change from full- to part-time status must be mutually beneficial to the parties involved. 

During the transition period to retirement:

  • Tenure status is retained if the appointment is 50% or more.
  • Salary and duties are reduced accordingly.
  • Medical insurance plans and rate schedules in effect for current full-time faculty are available as long as the appointment is 50% or more.
  • Benefit plans that are stated as a multiple or percentage of salary in effect for current full-time faculty are available. The multiples or percentages are not reduced but are generally applied to the actual reduced salary.
  • During an approved phased retirement, the faculty member may have access to take in-service withdrawals from their TIAA retirement account.

A mutually agreeable “phased retirement agreement” is developed when a tenured faculty member’s appointment changes from full-time to part-time. This agreement between the University and the faculty member includes such elements as the duration of the part-time transition period, the retirement date, the percentage of effort and duties expected during the transition period.  A phased retirement agreement template can be found here:  Template Phased Retirement Agreement

 

FAQs

Who is eligible for phased retirement?

Full-time tenured faculty who will qualify for official retirement status on their planned retirement date are eligible for phased retirement. 

Are non-tenure stream faculty eligible for phased retirement?

Because of the nature of tenure, phased retirement agreements are designed for tenured faculty.  Non-tenure stream faculty who are interested in transitioning to retirement can approach the appropriate dean, chair, or campus president to discuss options for restructuring their contracts.  Faculty are encouraged to contact the Benefits Department within the Office of Human Resources for information about the potential impact on benefits eligibility when percent effort is reduced. 

As with the case of tenured faculty, the needs of the school, department, or campus will be given careful attention in these negotiations. 

What are the qualifications for official retirement status?

Eligible faculty hired by the University before July 1, 2004 with no break in service:  Age 62 or older on the retirement date to qualify as an official retiree.

Eligible faculty hired by the University on or after July 1, 2004:  Age (must be at least 62) plus years of service with the University must equal 85 or more to qualify as an official retiree.

Faculty are encouraged to contact the Benefits Department within the Office of Human Resources to verify eligibility for official retirement.

How long can the transition to retirement be?

A transition period is two years or less.

How do I initiate this process?

Talk to your chair, dean, or campus president. The University will not raise retirement as an item of discussion with a faculty member until a faculty member has voluntarily introduced retirement into the discussion.

What can be included in a phased retirement agreement?

The dean or campus president and the faculty member discuss the proposed terms of the agreement.  Requests for a phased retirement agreement are considered on a case-by-case basis, with careful attention to the needs of the school, department or campus during the transition.  The proposed terms must include the beginning date of the part-time transition period, the date of retirement, the percentage of faculty effort and salary, and faculty responsibilities during the transition period. 

What happens after my dean or campus president and I agree on proposed terms?

The dean or campus president will send a written proposal to the Office of the Provost for review.  The Office of the Provost will work with the dean or campus president to prepare a phased retirement agreement.   Once drafted, the phased retirement agreement is sent to the dean or campus president to present to the faculty member, who may take at least 21 calendar days to review the agreement, and who may consult with an attorney before signing the agreement.

Who gives final approval for a phased retirement agreement?

After the faculty member signs the agreement, it is sent to the Provost for final review and signature.

How will I know when the requested agreement has been finalized and approved?

A signed copy of the agreement will be returned to the faculty member’s dean or campus president, who will then return it to the faculty member.

May a signed phased retirement agreement be revoked?

Yes.  After signing the phased retirement agreement, a faculty member has seven calendar days to revoke the agreement before it becomes final.