REG 05.57.01 – Phased Retirement Program for Tenured Faculty

Authority: Chancellor

History: First Issued: November 21, 1997. Last Revised: May 30, 2023.

Related Policies:
UNC Policy 300.7.2 Phased Retirement
UNC Policy 300.7.2.1[G] Guidelines on Implementing Phased Retirement Policy 
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure
NCSU POL05.20.02 – Emeritus/Emerita Faculty Status for Faculty and Senior Administrators

Additional References: 
Phased Retirement Program Details

Contact Info:
Retirement and benefits questions: Director of Benefits, Human Resources (919-515-2151)
Work plan questions: Senior Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (919-513-7741)

1. The NC State Phased Retirement Program

1.1 The NC State Phased Retirement Program (PRP) provides the opportunity for eligible full-time tenured faculty members, who meet certain age and service conditions, to retire and change from full-time to half-time employment at the university for three (3) fiscal years. Upon entering the PRP, a faculty member relinquishes their permanent tenure in exchange for a three (3) fiscal year fixed-term contract.

1.2 NC State’s PRP has been developed in accordance with the phased retirement policy approved by the UNC Board of Governors.

2. Qualifying Conditions for Applying to the PRP

2.1 Full-time tenured faculty member

A full-time tenured faculty member at NC State who meets the conditions set forth in 2.1.1, 2.1.2 and 2.1.3 is eligible to apply for participation in the PRP. For the purpose of eligibility to participate in the PRP, the definition of full-time faculty is the same as used in the determination of eligibility for employee benefits. To be eligible, the faculty member must:

2.1.1 have at least five years of full-time service at NC State;

2.1.2 be age 62 or older upon entering PRP for Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) participants, or be at least age 59 ½ upon entering PRP for Optional Retirement Program (ORP) participants; and

2.1.3 be eligible to receive retirement benefits through either TSERS or ORP.

2.2 Full-time administrator

A full-time administrator or an EHRA professional, who also holds faculty tenure is eligible to participate in the PRP after:

2.2.1 vacating their administrative or EHRA professional position, and

2.2.2 returning full-time to their tenured faculty position.

2.2.3 Any administrative or other salary supplement received for special assignments or for work that has a termination date must be removed prior to returning to the faculty position.

2.2.4 Department heads should consult with the dean to convert an administrative salary to an academic (9-month) or fiscal (12-month) year faculty salary. The PRP salary will be calculated using the faculty member’s base salary after return to faculty.

3. Duration, Workload, and Salary

3.1 Duration: A PRP participant signs a three (3) fiscal year contract.

3.1.1 At any time during the three (3) fiscal year contract period, by mutual agreement of the phased retiree and department head, the contract may be terminated, upon which the phased retiree enters full retirement.

3.1.2 Prior to commencement of the three (3) fiscal year contract period, and following the required seven (7) day revocation period (see Section 5.5), a fully executed PRP agreement may be voided under extenuating circumstances by mutual agreement of all parties no later than May 15th of the year in which the agreement commences. If the agreement is voided, the faculty member would either maintain their full-time tenured position or enter full retirement.

3.2 Workload: A PRP participant maintains their academic (9-month) or fiscal year (12-month) appointment length and works a half-time (50%) workload within it.

3.3 Salary: A PRP participant is paid 50% of the full-time base salary paid to the participant immediately prior to entering the PRP. Base salary is defined in NCSU REG 05.58.01 – Additional Compensation Paid through the University. PRP participants are paid over the fiscal year (twelve month) period.

3.3.1 PRP participants may earn summer salary (9-month faculty) and additional compensation (9- and 12-month faculty) per NCSU REG 05.58.01 – Additional Compensation Paid through the University with one exception: PRP participants in TSERS may not earn summer salary in the second summer school session during the summer they enter the PRP. For TSERS participants, summer salary and additional compensation are included in TSERS calculations of the participant’s cap on maximum earnings not to remain eligible for retirement benefits. Faculty members enrolled in TSERS must obtain their earnable allowance from the Retirement System Division each year and are responsible for ensuring adherence to their earnings limitations. Exceeding the TSERS earning limitation will jeopardize retirement benefits and health insurance for the remainder of the calendar year. Faculty members in the ORP are not subject to the rules that limit earnings after retirement.

4. Limiting Participation in the PRP

4.1 Response to Financial Exigency: A declaration of financial exigency will follow the university’s NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure. If financial exigency is declared, NC State may prevent further enrollment in the PRP. The limitation with respect to constraints of financial exigencies will be applied consistently to all eligible faculty seeking to commence enrollment in the PRP during the same fall semester. For the purposes of financial exigency and employment termination, faculty members in the PRP will have the same standing as full-time, professional faculty. The university will provide a PRP participant as much advanced notification as possible of any change in their employment status.

4.2 Response to Academic Program Compromise Considerations: The university and its departments retain the right to respond to challenges to the academic quality of individual programs. For example, participation may be limited if to permit greater participation would make it difficult to maintain the number of course sections necessary for an appropriate student-faculty ratio as required for accreditation. The limitation with respect to preservation of academic quality of an institution and/or a department or school must be applied consistently to all eligible faculty seeking to commence enrollment in the PRP the same fall semester.

4.2.1 When participation must be limited to preserve academic quality, PRP applications will be processed on a first come, first eligible basis.

5. The PRP Application Process

5.1 Announcement of PRP Eligibility: The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost will inform, by September 1st preceding each PRP year, those tenured faculty who, according to institutional data, appear to meet the age and service requirements for PRP eligibility as of the following August 1st. The notification will indicate that the PRP materials should be reviewed for information on the terms and conditions of the PRP and how to apply for participation.

5.1.1 It is an individual faculty member’s responsibility to ensure that NC State has all information necessary to determine their eligibility regarding years of service at NC State, service within either TSERS and/or a UNC System ORP, and date of birth. University Human Resources (UHR) shall determine an applicant’s age and service longevity at NC State based upon the August 1st that follows submission of a PRP application.

5.2 Applying for the PRP: After receiving notification of eligibility to participate in the PRP, it is an individual faculty member’s responsibility to determine whether to apply for participation in the PRP.

5.2.1 In order to guarantee consideration for the PRP, a faculty member must apply for the PRP not earlier than eleven (11) months prior to commencement of the first semester of PRP participation and not later than six (6) months prior to that date. August 16th is defined as the date for PRP entry each fall semester for academic year appointments and is used as the basis to define the 6-11 month PRP application window. This application window also applies to a fiscal year appointment even though the PRP entry date for a fiscal year appointment is July 1st.

5.2.2 A faculty member formally applies to the PRP by submission of the UNC Phased Retirement Program Application and Reemployment Agreement (the “Agreement”) and a waiver of rights (the “Release”) and claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the ADEA). In this application, the department head, after conferring with the faculty member, proposes the duties for a half-time work plan during the 3-year PRP term.

5.2.3 After receipt of an application, UHR will verify the faculty member’s qualifying conditions, i.e., age, years of contributory participation in TSERS and/or a UNC ORP, and years of full-time NC State service. This verification is necessary to confirm the data file information used to initially identify any faculty member who appeared to be eligible as described in section 2. UHR will contact the faculty member and department head with any concerns about the faculty member’s qualifying conditions for the PRP.

5.2.4 The department head will advise a PRP applicant as soon as practical whether or not an established limitation as described in 4, will prevent PRP participation.

5.3 Development of the PRP Work Plan: An eligible faculty member who is considering applying for admission to the PRP must meet with their department head and negotiate the terms for half-time employment. A typical work plan will usually cover services to be rendered full-time for one regular-term semester or half time over two regular-term semesters of an academic year. PRP rules do not allow a 9-month faculty member to use summer effort as part of their PRP work plan.

5.3.1 The full range of faculty activities should be considered in these negotiations. These activities include undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, research and creative activities, academic advising, writing of grants, publications, committee membership for graduate student thesis/dissertation research, presentations, participation in public service-related activities, participation in professional society-related activities, and departmental administrative activities. The percent of time an applicant will be involved in any of these activities will depend upon the level of time commitment agreed upon between the faculty member and the department head as they create the half-time work plan.

5.3.2 The assigned duties during the PRP should be consistent with the skills and abilities of the faculty member and the objective needs of the department. The applicant and the department head should also discuss in detail the aspects of the assignments associated with half-time employment including, but not limited to, office assignments, lab space, computing facilities, and travel funds. It is the department head’s responsibility to ensure that a faculty member who requests to participate in the PRP is offered meaningful work assignments that are consistent with departmental objectives and the skills and abilities of the faculty member. Work assignments are expected to vary from department to department and across faculty within a department.

5.4 Signing the PRP Reemployment Agreement and Release: After the faculty member and department head agree upon the half-time work plan, the department head will prepare and sign the Agreement. If approved, the dean will sign the Agreement and submit the Agreement to the Provost via UHR. If approved by the Provost, the faculty member will be provided a finalized signed [by the department head, dean and Provost] version of the Agreement and the UNC Phased Retirement Program General Release (the “Release”) to consider and sign. As required by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the faculty member shall be allowed at least forty-five (45) calendar days to execute and return the Agreement and the Release. The forty-five day period begins on the date of delivery to the faculty member, as evidenced by the return receipt signed upon delivery. The faculty member shall submit the original signed Agreement and Release to the Provost via the HR-Benefits Department.

5.5 Faculty Member Option for Revocation of PRP Agreement and Release: A faculty member electing to participate in the PRP has the right under the ADEA to revoke the Agreement and the Release any time within seven (7) calendar days of the date both documents are fully executed by all parties, i.e., all required signatures have been obtained. Once an application is fully executed, the commitment to enter the PRP becomes irreversible if no written revocation is submitted from the faculty member to the department head within the seven (7) calendar day revocation period. A revocation shall be in writing, personally signed by the faculty member, and shall be accomplished by personal delivery of the revocation, or submission of it for postal delivery to the department head. (The date of revocation is the date on which the faculty member physically delivers the revocation to the appropriate institutional officer or office or the date on which the revocation is posted to that officer or office; the post mark date or date of receipt for postal handling of the revocation shall be prima facie evidence of the date of the revocation.) If the Agreement and the Release are effectively revoked, then the Agreement is void. The eligible faculty member will continue in their same full-time employment status as held immediately prior to the execution of the Agreement and the Release.

5.6 Changes or Renegotiations of the PRP Work Plan: A faculty member participating in the PRP may seek to renegotiate their work plan duties with their department head. Any changes resulting from the renegotiations must be in writing and signed by the PRP participant, department head, dean, and the Provost with an effective date. A PRP participant who seeks to renegotiate their work plan is encouraged to do so at least one semester in advance of the effective date of the desired change(s). During PRP participation, the department head retains the right to make reasonable changes in assignments to address the needs of the department that are consistent with departmental needs and the participant’s abilities.

5.7 PRP Rights, Responsibilities, and Evaluation: A faculty member who enters the PRP retains their professorial rank and the full range of responsibilities and rights associated with it except for the status of permanent tenure; as a part-time faculty member without tenure, a faculty member on phased retirement is no longer eligible to vote with their Departmental Voting Faculty in reappointment, promotion and tenure cases. A PRP participant is subject to annual performance reviews and is eligible for salary adjustments or increases and merit pay commencing the second year of PRP participation (any salary increase for a PRP participant would be subject to any limitations imposed under TSERS). A PRP participant will continue to be subject to policies, regulations, and The Code of The University of North Carolina and NC State. In addition, without expressly or constructively terminating any Agreement, a participating faculty member may be placed on administrative leave with pay and/or have duties reassigned during or as a result of an investigation or disciplinary action involving the participating faculty member. Such authority shall be invoked when the participating faculty member’s department or division head determines that such action is in the best interests of the university. Participation in this Program shall not provide a faculty member with greater rights, claims or privileges against NC State or the University of North Carolina regarding continued employment than otherwise provided in the policies, regulations, and The Code of The University of North Carolina and NC State University.

6. Participation in University Benefits/Programs/Services

6.1 Tenured full-time faculty who have served for ten or more years at NC State are eligible to seek emeritus status.

6.2 Eligible faculty members participating in the PRP remain eligible for participation in University-sponsored deduction and benefit programs available to regular half-time employees; with the exception of leave accrual.

6.3 Enrolling eligible faculty members may elect to begin receiving the benefits they have accrued under either TSERS or ORP, but they are not required to do so. However, so long as an eligible faculty member does not receive a monthly retirement benefit, they will not receive the retiree health benefits provided by the State (if eligible).

6.3.1 If a faculty member does not elect to receive a monthly retirement benefit from TSERS or ORP upon entering PRP, they may continue participation in the State Health Plan as a regular half-time employee on a fully contributory basis. In that case, the faculty member would not be eligible to receive the University contribution for these retirement programs.