Skip to Content

UPPS 04.04.51 - Phased Retirement Plan for Faculty

Phased Retirement Plan for Faculty

UPPS No. 04.04.51
Issue No. 7
Effective Date: 5/29/2018
Next Review Date: 10/01/2022 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


    1. For tenured faculty members with many years of service, Texas State University endorses an optional phased retirement plan. This plan permits a faculty member to relinquish tenure in return for a commitment from the university to continue reduced academic activity for a specified period. Phased retirement is allowed when the plan is beneficial for all parties and is in the best interests of the university.

    1. Phased Retirement Plan – an option for transitioning active faculty members to retired status through a contractual agreement that requires the faculty member to meet certain objectives during the contractual period. Phased retirement comprises reduced appointments in teaching, scholarly and creative activity, and service as well as the relinquishment of tenure. Additionally, phased retirees are enrolled in retiree group health insurance benefits and are no longer eligible to participate in TRS or ORP retirement plans.

    1. On January 19, 1983, the commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) provided Texas university presidents with guidelines for developing university policies for voluntary modification of employment. THECB previously endorsed these voluntary guidelines on October 28, 1982.

    2. These guidelines were the inspiration for the university’s Voluntary Modification of Employment (VME) program, which was in place from the early 1980s until 1996. Effective September 1, 1996, the phased retirement plan described herein superseded that VME program.


    1. Authorization

      This policy allows the university to employ a faculty member on a part-time basis following retirement when such employment will benefit both the faculty member and the university by conjoint agreement between the faculty member, department chair or school director, and the dean of the college. A phased retirement agreement must be endorsed by the department chair or school director, dean, and provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Even though the faculty member seeking phased retirement status has voluntarily moved from tenured to nontenured status, the university will only dismiss the faculty member for good cause as specified in The Texas State University System (TSUS) Rules and Regulations, Chapter V, Section 4.5, or under the special circumstances for faculty employment termination described in TSUS Rules and Regulations, Chapter V, Section 4.6.

    2. Eligibility

      1. All full-time tenured faculty members are eligible to request participation in the program when they meet one of the following requirements for service retirement:

        1. age 65 with 10 years of service credit; or

        2. age and years of service credit totaling 80, with at least 10 years of service credit. Service credit may be earned through the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or any combination thereof.

      2. TRS Eligibility – Eligibility for full formula benefits or for reduced annuity benefits is determined by TRS requirements. TRS regulations require a one full calendar-month break in service between the date of retirement and any resumption of state employment. Therefore, participation in the phased retirement program typically begins in a fall semester, following at least a one-month break in service. Failure to observe such a break could result in the loss of monthly retirement annuity payments. In addition to the one-month calendar break in service, TRS retirees who retired after January 1, 2011, may only work under the following conditions without forfeiting their TRS monthly annuity:

        1. half-time (50 percent full-time equivalent [FTE]) or less; and

        2. more than half-time after a 12-consecutive-month break in service.

      3. ORP Eligibility – Because ORP is not a defined benefit plan like TRS, there may be more room for institutional flexibility. ORP regulations require a one full calendar-month break in service between the date of retirement and any resumption of state employment.

    3. Submission of Request to Participate

      Participation is on a strictly voluntary basis at the request of individual faculty members. A faculty member wishing to participate in this program should notify the department chair or school director in writing no less than six months prior to the beginning of the academic year in which participation will begin. Six months notice allows time for the consideration of mutual benefit, negotiations and approvals regarding the phased retirement agreement, and other preparations.

    4. Agreement

      The retiring faculty member and the department chair or school director, with the advice of the personnel committee, will negotiate an agreement to establish expectations for the modified service, subject to approval by the college dean and provost. The phased retirement agreement is for a one- to three-year period. The agreement shall include the duration of the phased retirement (one, two, or three years), percentage time appointment for each academic semester, and academic duties to be performed. The agreement does not include a commitment to offer specific courses at particular times in selected semesters. The department chair will consult with faculty on phased retirement regarding teaching preferences, but makes the final determination on teaching assignments based on the department’s instructional needs. At the conclusion of the agreement period, additional employment on a year-to-year basis may be considered, but such renewals do not extend the phased retirement agreement.

    5. Benefits Relinquished by the Faculty Member

      A participating faculty member will relinquish his or her status as a full-time faculty member including tenure rights held, no later than the member’s date of retirement under TRS or ORP or the end of the academic year in which notification of one’s election to participate in this plan is given, whichever is earlier. Under the phased retirement plan, the faculty member is no longer a member of the department’s personnel committee. For any semester in which the faculty member has an active appointment of 50 percent or more, he or she is an eligible faculty voter for departmental matters considered by the voting faculty.

    6. Excluding TRS or ORP membership (except as required by law), participation entitles the faculty member to all the amenities that the university affords its full-time faculty. Faculty members may opt to participate in group insurance plans at levels provided for other retired employees, or they may opt to participate in group insurance plans at levels provided for other active employees. The faculty member should consult with Human Resources to determine which plan is more advantageous, depending on the faculty member’s individual teaching appointment. Additionally, Medicare-eligible faculty members should consult with Human Resources regarding coordination with Medicare during phased retirement.

    7. Compensation and Workload

      1. Each faculty member participating in this program shall receive a salary established at a rate commensurate with the academic workload agreed to by the faculty member and the university. The salary and associated workload is limited to no more than one-half of the salary earned during the year immediately prior to beginning participation in this program. During this time period, program participants are eligible to receive salary adjustments under the policies and provisions provided to comparable continuing full-time faculty members. The participant’s workload (number of classes and, as appropriate, scholarly and creative activities and service commitments) during this period shall conform to the salary paid and the FTE assigned.

      2. A participant in this program appointed for nine months may elect to receive salary in either nine or 12 equal installments.

      3. A participant in this program may elect to modify his or her status to full retirement at any time by simply notifying the department chair in writing. This intention should be communicated no fewer than 90 days prior to the beginning of the academic year when the change in status is to become effective.

    8. Departmental Budgeted FTE

      The affected department will retain the salary negotiated for the faculty member on phased retirement. The provost will recapture the remaining salary balance. As needed, the department may request additional replacement salary funds during the phased retirement period. Upon full retirement, the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will recapture the salary. The department may seek authorization from the provost to search for a replacement during the final year of the phased retirement period.

    9. Conditional Reinstatement Privilege

      If there are changes to or interpretations of state or federal law that prohibit the purpose or provisions of this agreement, the university will reinstate the participant to the rank, salary, and tenure status held on the date he or she chose to participate in this program. In the event of reinstatement, the participant may not belong to TRS or ORP, except as provided by law. All laws and rules governing employment after retirement, including those providing for forfeiture of benefits received for the period during which the participant returned to full-time status will apply to any reinstated TRS or ORP participant.

    10. Impact of Physical or Mental Disability

      The participant and the university agree that, should the participant become permanently physically or mentally disabled during an academic year, the university president shall, after the participant exhausts all accumulated leave including sick leave, authorize extended sick leave for the remainder of the contracted academic semester or year. The university’s obligation is terminated at the end of the contracted academic semester or year in which the disability occurs.

    11. Impact of This Policy on Group Benefits Program (GBP) and TRS or ORP Rules

      The laws and rules governing eligibility to draw retirement benefits from TRS or an ORP contract and eligibility for membership in GBP, TRS or ORP govern a participant’s eligibility and not this policy.


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs October 1 E4Y
      Chair, Faculty Senate October 1 E4Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; senior reviewer of this UPPS