Phased Retirement Program: Berkeley Campus Implementation Procedures

Effective Dates: April 1, 2012 through December 31, 2014

The Phased Retirement Program is one of several strategies available to managers to address budgetary constraints and changes in staffing. When considering Phased Retirement requests from employees, managers should keep in mind such issues as:

  • Workload considerations
  • The need to reduce expenditures
  • Staffing and operational needs

Departments should evaluate departmental priorities and adjust workloads to ensure that functional objectives continue to be met. Although exempt employees are normally expected to work their appointment percentage, greater emphasis is placed on meeting the responsibilities of the employee’s position than on working a specified number of hours. It is important that supervisors make appropriate workload adjustments for exempt employees who participate in the Phased Retirement Program.

Procedures for Enrolling in the Phased Retirement Program

If the department is accepting requests for participation, the employee initiates the process of enrolling by completing a Phased Retirement Contract (U290) (PDF) and a Phased Retirement General Release of Claims (U291) (PDF). To participate in the program, employees must sign the contract and general release form indicating their agreement with the terms and condition of the program. An employee who wishes to participate in the program should submit both forms to the department head for approval.

The department head makes a decision regarding the employee’s participation. If the contract is not approved, the supervisor should provide the employee with a reason for the decision in writing.

If the contract is approved, the department head signs the contract form and the supervisor informs the employee of the decision. The contract must be signed by both the program participant and the department head. The supervisor should send a copy of the approved contract and the general release of claims to Central Human Resources-Employee Relations unit (2199 Addison St., Room 192, University Hall, MC 3540) and give a copy to the employee. The department is the office of record and should maintain the original contract in the employee’s personnel file.

The Central Human Resources Employee Relations unit will send copies to the Academic Personnel Office, if appropriate, and in all cases, to Retirement Administration at the Office of the President. Forms are retained for 5 years after separation, except in cases of disability or retirement in which case such forms are retained until age 70.

Time reduction requirements

Participants may retire at the end of 120 days of being in the program and up to a maximum of three years in the program. However, if they continue beyond one year, they must reduce their appointment percentage by at least an additional 10% for year two and at least an additional 10% for year three or forfeit their incentive. Once participants reduce their appointment percentage to 50 percent, they must retire at the end of the year or forfeit their incentive. Participants will not be allowed to take other paid work at UC during the program contract period.

Changing a Phased Retirement Contract or Early Termination of an Phased Retirement Contract

Time reduction changes are for the term of the Phased Retirement contract and participants cannot change their percent of appointment until the expiration date of the contract. The percentage of time reduction agreed to for the term of the contract cannot be changed once approved. An employee who voluntarily ends participation in the program before completing the terms of their Phased Retirement contract will forfeit all credits and cash incentives.

An employee who transfers or is promoted to another position in the same or different department must obtain advance written approval from the department head and Vice Chancellor to continue to participate in the program.

Ending of a Phased Retirement Contract

By entering into a Phased Retirement contract, participants are agreeing to retire at the end of the term of their contract. At the end of the contract term, participants must either retire immediately or request an extension to participate in the program. Continuation in the program beyond the original term of the contract is subject to approval by the department head and Vice Chancellor. Approval of a second or third year of participation in the Phased Retirement Program requires participants to reduce their appointments by an additional 10% each year.

Deadlines for Processing Contracts

For contracts to be effective, April 1, 2012: Contract forms for employees paid semi-monthly or monthly must be received in Central HR-Employee Relations unit by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 6, 2012.

For subsequent months: Approved contract forms for all pay schedules must be received in Central Human Resources-Employee Relations unit by the first of the month in which the Phased Retirement Program schedule is to be effective. For example, Phased Retirement contracts to be effective on August 1 must received by 5:00 p.m. on August 1.

The Department will enter the data from the contracts into HCM.

For employees who are paid monthly, a Phased Retirement Program contract must begin on the first day of a month and end of the last day of a month. For employees who are paid semi-monthly, time reductions are to be made in two semi-monthly increments. A Phased Retirement Program contract would begin on the first day of the semi-monthly pay period and end on the last day of the second semi-monthly pay period.

No requests that require retroactive payroll processing can be considered. If contract forms are received after these published processing deadlines, the Phased Retirement Program effective date will be modified to the following pay period. Departments should develop internal processes to ensure sufficient time for review and approvals.

Submitting the Forms-  Handling Confidential Information with Care

The Phased Retirement Program participant’s department is the office of record for the program’s forms. The forms reside in the employee’s personnel file. Recommended methods of sending confidential copies of the Phased Retirement Contract and the General Release of Claims to the Employee Relations unit in Central Human Resources are:

  1. By FAX: (510) 642-2888; or
  2. By hand delivery or campus mail (in a sealed envelope marked “CONFIDENTIAL”) to

    Employee Relations, Central Human Resources
    University of California, Berkeley
    2199 Addison St., Room 192 (University Hall)
    Berkeley, CA 94720-3540

Managing Vacation Leave Balances

Employees participating in the Phased Retirement Programearn vacation at pre-Phased Retirement Program rates. Departments should monitor vacation accrual rates, particularly for employees who are close to reaching vacation accrual limits while participating in the Phased Retirement Program.  Failure to consider this issue may result in financial liability to the department, reducing or even eliminating any gains from the employee’s participation in the Phased Retirement Program. For these and other concerns, departments should consult their appropriate Central HR representative or the Central HR Help Desk at 642-7163.