Following the March 17 announcement of a retirement incentive program for certain eligible members of Williams College faculty and staff, those eligible were given until March 31 to express interest in the programs.
According to Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Public Affairs, 72 percent of the 114 eligible staff members and 21 percent of the 85 eligible faculty members submitted expression of interest forms by the March 31 due date. Following expression of interest, faculty and staff received personalized program details and letters of agreement. Each person was given 45 days to consider signing the letter of agreement, followed by seven days after signing the letter to consider revoking it.
“[The letter of agreement] part of the process was non-binding so it’ll be more than a month before we know how many people ultimately decide to participate,” Kolesar said.
The early retirement program (ERP) for staff members provides additional flexibility for retirement planning. According to the program details posted on the College’s Human Resources Web site, eligible staff members qualify for an early retirement payment based on base pay rate (pay not including differentials, overtime, stipends or other pay additives), authorized hours and cumulative years of service calculated as of June 30, 2010. The early retirement payment is equivalent to two weeks of pay for each year of eligible service, that is, each yearcompleted at the College.
Staff members who take the ERP will be paid for unused vacation time and will receive the same terms for the Dependent Tuition Grant program.
The ERP for faculty members is slightly more complicated than the ERP for staff, due to the preset curriculum already in place for the next one to two years. According to the information posted on the Dean of the Faculty Web site, the ERP for faculty involves a gradual decrease in teaching load and an increase in compensation over the next three academic years. For the 2010-11 academic year, faculty members will teach a full course load at regular pay. For the 2011-12 year, faculty will teach a normal course load for one semester and will be granted a “mini-sabbatical” for the other. Faculty will officially retire in July 2012, but for the 2012-13 year will receive an early retirement payment equivalent to 125 percent of their 2011-12 salaries.
The details of the faculty ERP also note that faculty office, lab and studio use will be available during active semesters and that upon retirement, faculty will become eligible for temporary space in the same way that regular retirees are. Divisional research funds, travel allowances and named chair funds will also be allocated as usual until the date of retirement.
The ERPs for both staff and faculty also include continued medical and dental insurance, as well as life insurance, coverage until the age of 65. At the age of 65, staff and faculty members become eligible for the regular retiree benefits.
Staff members who choose to retire under the program will depart the College on June 30, 2010; faculty members will end their service on June 30, 2012.