509 Purdue employees opt to retire early with incentive package

November 2, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Just over 30 percent of eligible employees have opted to retire based on a one-time incentive package, right on target with projections, Purdue University officials announced Tuesday (Nov. 2).

Of the 1,644 employees system-wide who were eligible, 509 submitted requests at the close of the consideration period. More than 90 percent of the requests submitted have been fully approved; those submitted on Oct. 29 won't be contractually final until Nov. 8 due to the required revocation period. Voluntary one-on-one counseling was provided to 570 of those eligible since the offer became available Sept 1. The deadline for applying was extended until last Friday (Oct. 29).

The plan, approved by Purdue's Board of Trustees on Aug. 30, was designed to reduce salary and benefit costs to meet current budget challenges, enable departments to realign resources to meet changing needs or strategic objectives, and avoid involuntary layoffs to the extent possible.

Luis Lewin, vice president for human resources, said those numbers match his office's projection concerning the overall percentage of those eligible who would apply.  

"The participation rate reflects the package's attractiveness to all segments of the university community," Lewin said.

Breaking it down by category, the applicants include 89 faculty; six non-tenure track faculty; 123 administrative/professional staff; and 291 clerical, service and operations/technical assistants staff.

System-wide, 440 are from the West Lafayette campus, 26 are from Purdue Calumet, 29 are from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and 14 are from Purdue North Central.

"This retirement incentive package is an integral element of a downsizing strategy that is consistent with budget guidance received recently from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education," said Al Diaz, executive vice president for business and finance, treasurer. "We will have an understanding of how this retirement program contributes to overall budget reductions after the budgets are developed in mid-December.

"Until that time, there will be reviews conducted by myself, our executive vice president of academic affairs and our president to ensure that every effort is made to achieve the objectives of this initiative while also making certain that the delivery and quality of critical university functions are maintained."

All tenured faculty who will be 60 on or before June 30 and all other faculty and staff who will be 60 on or before Jan. 31 were eligible if they had been employed in a benefits-eligible position for at least 10 years. All applications were subject to university approval.

These retirees will receive $7,000 a year up to a total of $35,000 over five years that can be used to pay health premiums or other allowable medical expenses. Tenured faculty also will receive a one-time separation pay equal to one-half their final year's base salary. Others will receive a quarter of their final year's base salary.

Unless extended, staff and non-tenured faculty retirements will be effective no later than Jan. 31, while tenured faculty retirements will be effective no later than the end of the spring semester for those on an academic-year appointment, or June 30 for those on a fiscal year appointment. The university had the option to extend the date of retirement for up to one year for employees whose contributions are critical to the university.

Writer: Jeanne V. Norberg, 765-494-2084, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Source: Luis Lewin, 765-494-7395, luislewin@purdue.edu