Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program
In This Guide
- Program Details
- Lump Sum Payment Amount
- Information Sessions
- Resources and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Baylor University (Baylor) is offering a staff voluntary retirement incentive program opportunity (VRP) to all eligible Baylor staff members who voluntarily retire from service and begin retirement on May 31, 2024.
- Full-time or part-time (payment amount will be prorated for part-time staff)
- Exempt or Non-exempt Staff
- 65 years of age plus 10+ years of service* as of May 31, 2024.
- *10 years of service is defined as 10 continuous years of employment at Baylor University.
- Signs and returns the Retirement Agreement and Release in the form provided to him or her and within the time specified in the Agreement.
Who's Not Eligible
- Faculty (or other non-staff employees)
- Temporary Staff
- President’s Council Members
- Contracted staff (Individual contracts would need to be reviewed to determine eligibility for program)
- Staff who decide to retire on a different schedule than indicated below.
- Staff who have provided written retirement notification prior to September 1, 2023 to their manager or Human Resources
- Staff who decline to voluntarily sign the Retirement Agreement and Release
- Staff selected for VRP but subsequently terminated from employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily, before their employment is scheduled to end under VRP
VRP Retirement Date
Those who voluntarily elect to retire under the Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, will have an effective retirement date of May 31, 2024.
Lump Sum Payment Amount
Participants in the Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program are eligible to receive a lump-sum payment equal to six (6) months of base pay for exempt staff (26 weeks for non-exempt staff). The lump sum is pro-rated for part-time staff.
|Status||Hourly Rate||Weekly Pay||Multiplier||Lump-Sum|
|Full-Time; Non-Exempt||$15.00||$600||26 weeks||$15,600|
|Full-Time; Exempt||$40,000||$3,333||6 months||$20,000|
|Status||Hourly Rate||Hours Per Week||Weekly Pay||Multiplier||Lump-Sum|
|Part-Time; Non-Exempt||$15.00||20||$300||26 weeks||$7,800|
- Base pay is determined by the employee’s base pay as August 1, 2023.
- Base pay does not include overtime, shift differential, summer pay, stipends and/or supplements.
- Base pay for part-time, non-exempt staff is calculated as 26 weeks (hours per week is equal to the employee’s assigned weekly hours).
- Lump-sum payments are subject to all applicable withholdings and deductions for state and federal taxes.
- The Staff VRP opportunity incentive payment is not considered income for the purpose of contributions to the Baylor Retirement Plan (BRP) therefore Baylor will not make any contributions to the retirement plan as a result of this payment.
- Lump-sum payments will be made during the scheduled payroll in May 2024. The exact dates will be dependent on the status of the staff member (bi-weekly or monthly).
- Baylor cannot provide individual tax or investment advice and recommends that you contact qualified tax counsel and investment advisors for assistance with individual questions regarding tax and investment planning.
Other Program Details:
- Employees who elect to participate in the program will no longer be eligible for part-time or full-time faculty or staff employment with the University after the retirement date. Temporary assignments may be considered if they are non-benefits eligible, short term (less than 3 months) and part-time (less than 30 hours per week).
- Baylor will not directly contract with the VRP retiree as an independent contractor. There are no restrictions on the employee working for a contractor or sub-contractor with which Baylor contracts.
- Performance expectations should continue to be met or exceeded by the staff member. If performance no longer meets expectations prior to May 31, 2024, Baylor’s policy for disciplinary actions, BU-PP 807 will be followed. Prior to Baylor signing the Retirement Agreement and Release, Baylor may decline to permit the employee to participate in VRP for any reason. For example, without limitation, VRP participants must continue to perform their duties prior to May 31, 2024, meeting all supervisor expectations, including assisting with transition of position duties, as defined by current supervisor. Failure to do so may result in exclusion from VRP benefits.
- Baylor reserves the right to amend or terminate the VRP at any time. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no amendment of the VRP may reduce a VRP payment or other consideration once Baylor has signed the Retirement Agreement and Release and it has become legally binding (after the 7 day revocation period).
- The VRP does not confer on any employee any right to continued employment, title, duties, or any pay rate, or affect in any way Baylor’s right to terminate the employee’s employment at any time before May 31, 2024, or to change the employee’s title, job duties or pay rate. Unless the employee otherwise has contractual agreement, either the employee or Baylor may terminate the employment at any time with or without cause or advance notice. Any question as to whether there has been a termination of employment, shall be determined by the President (or designee) in their sole discretion.
- Employees who are selected for the VRP but subsequently terminated from employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily, before their employment is scheduled to end under VRP for any reason other than the VRP are no longer eligible for the offer of the retirement incentive benefit.
- Retirement Agreement and Release
- Financial incentives are associated with VRP participants voluntarily signing Baylor’s confidential Retirement Agreement and Release. VRP participants will be given at least 45 calendar days to consider the Retirement Agreement and Release and are advised to consult with their attorney before signing the Retirement Agreement and Release. The participant will also be provided legally required information on the group of individuals covered by the opportunity at the time that the Retirement Agreement and Release is provided, as an attachment to that document.
- An eligible employee may revoke his or her participation in the VRP at any time by revoking (canceling) the Retirement Agreement and Release for a period of seven (7) calendar days after signing the Retirement Agreement and Release. There are no ramifications for revoking a decision to participate, or for declining participation, in the VRP Opportunity up to seven (7) days after signing the Agreement, after which the decision is non-revocable. Following this decision and communication to Human Resources, we ask that the employee communicate with their manager.
- September 5: Communication to managers of eligible participants regarding Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.
- September 12: Communication to staff eligible for the Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.
- September 28: Virtual Q&A Sessions for eligible staff hosted by HR. Session will begin 11:00am CT on September 28, 2023. Register today.
- October 13: Deadline for staff to return expression of interest forms to HR via online Expression of Interest Form. We ask that employees who have expressed an interest in the program communicate with their manager. Human Resources will communicate to Leadership in the departments who have employees who express interest during the month of October.
- November 17: Eligible employees who have expressed interest in the opportunity will receive an official offer. The offer will include the Retirement Agreement and Release with attachment and other relevant information.
- 45 days after receipt of Retirement Agreement and Release (approximately January 2, 2024): Deadline for signed release to HR Additionally, after the Retirement Agreement and Release is signed, the employee has a 7-day revocation period. After the revocation period passes, an employee will no longer be able to opt out of the VRP or delay their retirement date.
- May 31, 2024: Retirement effective date under the program.
- Incentive payment paid during the May pay cycle along with any accrued but unused vacation.
- Retiree would continue health care eligibility per policy through the end of May.
There will be a virtual information session offered on September 28, 2023 at 11:00am CT that will provide an in-depth overview of this opportunity. During this session you will also learn about retiree benefits you may be eligible for, resources available to you and the steps you need to take to prepare for your retirement date. Participants are highly encouraged to attend the session if interested in the Staff VRP.
Interested participants should register for an information session in IGNITE. This information session will take place virtually on September 28, 2023 at 11:00am CT.
Use these instructions to register for a session through IGNITE.
Resources and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Retiree Benefits and Resources
VRP participants will be entitled to all rights and privileges of any other Baylor retiree, as long as the participant meets the eligibility requirements for retiree benefits set forth in BU-PP 600. Such benefits are subject to change in accordance with Baylor policy.
Participants in the VRP who meet the eligibility qualification for a Grandfathered or Retiree I status will be eligible for certain retiree benefits. Retiree benefit eligibility is based on the employee’s age and full-time years of service as of the retirement date. The following links will provide more details on these retiree benefits and resources.
*Please note: Any insurance coverages (medical, dental, vision, etc.) a staff member has as an active employee on their retirement date of May 31, 2024, will continue this coverage through May 31, 2024. Any post retirement coverages will begin on June 1, 2024.
Baylor Retirement Program and Baylor 457(b) Plans
You will coordinate distributions from 403(b) and 457(b) plans directly with TIAA. You are encouraged to speak with a financial advisor prior to making changes to your retirement accounts to discuss the tax implications of your decisions.
Baylor University has retained CAPTRUST FINANCIAL ADVISORS to provide you with retirement planning guidance. You may schedule a meeting with CAPTRUST Participant Advice Services through their website, www.captrustadvice.com, or by calling the advice desk at 1.800.967.9948.
TIAA also offers retirement planning services. You may schedule a meeting with a TIAA representative through their website, www.tiaa.org/baylor, or by calling 1.800.842.2252.
You will continue to have access to CAPTRUST FINANCIAL RESOURCES and TIAA as long as you are a member of the Baylor Retirement Program.
- Why is Baylor offering a Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program for staff?
The Office of the Provost at Baylor has offered a voluntary retirement program for faculty for a number of years. This is the third year Baylor has decided to offer a voluntary retirement program for staff. Through the program, the University will offer a lump-sum incentive payment to eligible staff, who in return would agree to retire from the University.
At this time, the Provost Office does not plan to adjust the current faculty retirement program.
- Who is eligible for the program?
In general, full-time or part-time staff with 65 years of age and 10 years of service with Baylor University by May 31, 2024 are eligible.
Temporary staff, staff with employment contracts, and faculty are not eligible to participate in the program.
- How will I know if I am eligible to participate in the program?
Staff who meet eligibility requirements for the staff VRP program will receive an email from Human Resources in September 2023. The email will contain a link to an online expression of interest form. The deadline for staff to express their interest in the program is October 13, 2023 at 5:00 p.m CST.
- I am eligible for the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. What would my incentive payment be through the program?
Eligible staff who receive an offer from the University and choose to voluntarily retire from employment with Baylor will receive a lump payment equivalent to 6 months of salary (for exempt staff) or 26 weeks of base pay for non-exempt staff.
- How was the 6 months incentive amount determined?
In designing this voluntary program, Baylor looked at programs that have been offered at other universities and determined that 6 months of a lump sum payment is a generous program that is aligned with those that have been offered at peer institutions.
- Is participation in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program mandatory?
No. Participation in the staff VRP program is completely voluntary. Whether a staff member chooses to take advantage of this incentive is entirely at their discretion.
Baylor recommends employees considering the opportunity consult with their own legal counsel and only accept the opportunity if they believe this opportunity is right for them and they are voluntarily entering into the program. Baylor employees are not required to accept the offer and there shall be no retaliation for those who decline the opportunity.
- If I express interest in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, am I obligated to retire?
No. This program is completely voluntary. If you express interest in the VRP program, you will have a 45-day consideration period in which you may choose to accept or reject the offer. Further, if you accept an offer, you will have an additional seven-day revocation period after submitting your waiver in which you may choose to cancel your VRP contract.
- If I decide to retire under the program, am I required to discuss my decision with my supervisor or someone else at the University?
The decision to retire is up to you. Once a decision is made to accept the Program, you should notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
- How were my years of service determined for the program?
For the purposes of the VRP program, the years of service calculation for each eligible employee was determined by using the years of service in the Baylor Human Resource records. Ten (10) years of service is defined as 10 continuous years of employment with Baylor University.
- I already set and communicated my retirement date. Am I eligible to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?
If you submitted written documentation prior to September 1, 2023, you are not eligible to participate in the VRP program.
- Will my position be replaced if I accept the incentive package?
If a staff member elects to retire as part of the VRP, the department and divisional leadership in partnership with their Business Officer and HR Consultant should use the opportunity to strategically review the department’s resources and needs for the future along with all known retirements and exits.
- If I accept a Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program offer, can I come back to work for Baylor at a later date?
Staff who elect to participate in program will no longer be eligible for full-time employment with the University after the retirement date (This includes both faculty and staff positions, part-time). After at least a six months break in service, temporary assignments may be considered on a limited basis. Temporary positions should be non-benefits eligible, short term (less than 3 months) and part-time (less than 30 hours per week). Additionally, services as an independent contractor will not be approved.
- If I accept a Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program offer, what will happen to my accrued and unused vacation time?
In accordance with Baylor’s vacation policy (https://www.baylor.edu/risk/doc.php/339294.pdf), staff who participate in the VRP program would be eligible for payment of accrued and unused annual leave upon retirement date. This payment will likely be made on the last pay check.
- When will the lump sum payout be paid to me?
Monthly paid employees will receive the payment on May 31, 2024, and bi-weekly employees will receive the payment on TBD.
- Can I defer part of the lump sum payout into my 403(b)?
Yes. You will need to submit a new 457(b) Salary Deferral Agreement no later than April 1, 2024 for bi-weekly paid employees and for monthly paid employees. The 403(b) contribution information can be found at the 403(b) webpage.
- Can I defer part of the lump sum payout into my 457(b)?
Yes. You will need to submit a new 457(b) Salary Deferral Agreement no later than April 1, 2024 for bi-weekly paid employees and for monthly paid employees. The 457(b) contribution information can be found at the 457(b) webpage.
- If I participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program with a retirement date of May 31, 2024, what will be the impact on my Baylor health care benefits?
You will continue to be eligible for Baylor employee health care through the end of May 2024. During Open Enrollment in 2023, you will be required to elect your health care preferences for the months of January through May 31, 2024.
Starting in June 1, 2024, Medicare will be your primary insurance coverage.
- I am eligible to retire. If I participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, would I still be eligible for the regular retiree benefits (e.g., email, library use or ability to purchase Athletics tickets)?
Yes. Eligible employees who choose to retire with through the VRP program will receive retiree benefits in which they are eligible for. More information is available on the Baylor Retiree website.
- If I want to retire on a different date than described by the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, can I do that?
Yes. Staff can continue to retire on a schedule that works best for them and their future however the additional lump sum payment created through the program will not be awarded.
- Are the various program deadlines negotiable?
This timeline is designed to provide an appropriate planning opportunity to both employees and managers and must be applied consistently to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
- Does Baylor plan to offer additional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Programs for staff in the future?
Baylor is offering a generous voluntary retirement program in the hope that it will make progress toward addressing the institution’s current organizational planning needs. We always look for opportunities to ensure we are operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, after this cycle of the VRP program in 2024, the program will be assessed and determine the viability for additional University-wide VRP staff programs. Before deciding or communicating timeline and adjustments for future years, HR will assess the following in the Summer of 2024:
- Participation rates for 2024/2025
- Feedback from 2024/2025 process
- Current budget conditions
- Timing implications (merit or other increases)
- Will I be able to file for unemployment?
The state makes the determination on unemployment. Baylor will report reason for departure as retirement which normally negates unemployment compensation.
- Who do I contact with questions or for more information about the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?
Baylor Human Resources will be hosting an information session for all staff who are interested in the VRP program to provide an overview of the program and answer common questions. Please plan to attend a session. Your HR Consultant (HRC) is also a resource available to you. Contact Your HRC.
Additionally, financial planning resources are available through Captrust. For questions or more information about the program or retirement, contact the AskHR Service Center at askHR@baylor.edu or 254.710.2000.
Please contact Baylor Human Resources by calling 254.710.2000 or emailing Human_Resources@baylor.edu if you have any questions.