Faculty and staff retirements increasing

Throughout this school year, primarily in the spring semester, the Benefits Office staff has seen an increasingly abundant number of faculty and staff looking at their retirement plans.

As of Friday, 31 faculty and 34 staff are confirmed to be retiring by June 30. More than 40 employees are considering leaving before June 30 as well. This is not the final total on who will be retiring or leaving Eastern. Linda Holloway, the assistant director of payroll and benefits, said Eastern will likely see more leaving by June 30.

This is a significant departure from the normally 50 to 60 expected retirements every year.

“Some employees deal directly with the State Universities Retirement System and will not let us know much before they actually retire,” Holloway said. “There are others who will likely retire and that we just haven’t seen yet because they have not made their final decision or they do not want it known yet that they are retiring.”

Holloway along with the three other staff members have noticed more and more are looking for options when it comes down to retirement. Because of this, the Benefits Services has had to devote much of their time to counseling appointments with faculty and staff.

They spend on average of one to two hours a day on individual with many returning for follow-up consultations.

“This decision is one of the biggest decisions an employee will make in their lifetime, so they have many questions and many worries,” Holloway said.

Many of the faculty and staff who have been interested in looking at their ability to retire had no plans of retiring this year, Holloway said. Unforeseen changes in the pension reform and changes to their “money purchase” plan have coerced many into retiring earlier than originally intended.

The pension reform, which will go into effect June 1 unless a stay is granted by the courts, will reduce the amount of money state employees will receive when they retire. Even though the courts are looking at whether the reformative bill is constitutional, faculty and staff are still worried they may lose money if they do not retire before that date.

Holloway said in many cases, leaving after June 1 would impact their monthly annuity, invested money in order to receive income in retirement by as much as $1,000.

“People won’t be able to recover that loss for years, if at all,” Holloway said.

These changes cause many to act out of fear instead of want, she added.

“Because they had not been planning to leave and are making decisions they didn’t think they would have to make yet,” Holloway said. “They are anxious and sometimes fearful that they are not as well prepared, both financially and-or emotionally, as they might have otherwise been.”

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]