The University of Wyoming’s retirement and separation incentives are continuing through Aug. 5, allowing faculty and staff time to decide if leaving is the right choice.
The program, which began July 1, is available for all UW employees with certain stipulations, the updated retirement university regulation explains. Two separate incentives, one for retirement and one for separation, are specified in regulation 4-2.
People who are at least 61 years old and have worked for at least 15 years at UW, 10 of which must be consecutive, qualify for the retirement incentive plan. One of the top additions to the normal retirement benefits is an extended salary — if someone retires by Aug. 5, they will receive payments equal to their current salary until Dec. 31, 2016.
“That feature is one of two, the other has to do with sick leave,” said Rick Miller, vice president and general counsel.
“For the people that currently qualify for the sick leave conversion, that 1.5 month rate for 40 hours would go to 2. When you do the math, if you are currently entitled for three years of contribution, you go to four. But it depends on how much sick leave you have. But if you have the max, you get another year of contribution toward your state health insurance. Essentially, the university pays that bill in that amount.”
Employees who do not have the 15 years of employment but are at least 61 years old will also receive payments until Dec. 31, although they will receive payments of one half of the unused sick leave balance up to 480 hours.
The incentives are part of UW President Laurie Nichols’ plan to cut more than $35 million in the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget. While the incentives will cost the university more this year to pay for the continued wages, it is planned to reduce the budget by about $3 million by the end of FY 2018.
“What you’re trying to do is build a pool of vacancies that you can use strategically to deal with the financial situation, and that pool is built on people who voluntarily decide to leave,” Miller said.
The incentive is showing promise — dozens of people met with UW Human Resources to review their personal circumstances as of July 1, Miller said.
“You have to look at what you have for retirement, what you have for sick leave,” he said. “Once you figure out what you’ve got, you have to think, ‘Do I want to do this?’”
This is currently a one-time event with no repeats in near future, Miller said.
“There have been no discussions that anything like this will ever come back,” he said.