Phased Retirement

GVSU recognizes that some regular faculty and staff members may want to gradually phase into retirement by reducing their workload prior to full retirement. Additionally, it may be to the benefit of both the faculty/staff member and the university to enter into an arrangement where the faculty/staff member’s workload and compensation are reduced as they approach retirement. When such arrangements are possible, the university and the faculty/staff member may elect to enter into a phased retirement agreement.

What is Phased Retirement?

A phased retirement is when an employee reduces their workload and compensation during their final years of GVSU employment. For example, a full-time employee shifts to working half-time at half of their most recent compensation for a year before retiring. The employee does not enter official retiree status until the end of the phased retirement. Benefits that are not based on the faculty/staff member’s salary shall continue in full during this time.

Phased Retirement Agreements

Arrangements for a phased retirement require a mutual written agreement between the faculty/staff member and their respective dean/appointing officer, and are subject to the approval of the appropriate executive officer. Such arrangements must be designed to meet the mutual need of the faculty/staff member and their unit.


Although the terms of the phased retirement agreement may vary from individual to individual, the following guidelines apply:

  • Must meet the official retiree status prior to the start of the agreement (age plus GVSU years of service equal at least 75).
  • The reduced workload must be a minimum of half-time or greater (.5 FTE).
    • A faculty member’s workload must be specifically stated in the agreement; a half-time appointment typically means teaching 9 hours with significant scholarship and service detailed in the agreement, or, teaching 12 hours with limited scholarship and service.
    • A staff member’s workload will be specifically stated to demonstrate the appropriate FTE appointment.
  • The faculty/staff member must declare their actual retirement date at the time the phased retirement agreement.
  • The duration of the agreements are limited to two years.
  • The faculty/staff member’s pay shall reflect their adjusted workload.
  • Benefits based on pay will reflect the faculty/staff member’s adjusted salary.
    • Retirement and FICA Contributions.
    • Life Insurance Coverage.
    • Salary Continuation and Long-term Disability Insurance Coverage, only available with a .5FTE phased retirement agreement or more.
    • Holiday pay.
  • Benefits not based on the faculty/staff member’s pay shall continue in full.
    • Medical Plan Coverage.
    • Dental Plan Coverage.
    • Academic Participation and Dependent Tuition Reduction.
    • Flexible Spending Accounts.
    • Eligibility for voluntary optical and long-term care insurance plans.
    • Campus Wellness Programs and use of facilities.
    • Relocation Assistance Program.
  • For Phased Retirements, benefit coverage will end upon completion of the phased retirement agreement. Benefits will not continue beyond the retirement date. The language about continuation of benefits in the University Policy SG 5.01 does not apply to phased retirement.
  • Office arrangements on phased retirement may need to be shared offices.
  • Notice of the intent to enter into such agreement shall normally be provided at least six (6) months prior to the anticipated start of the phased retirement. Please refer to the application forms for specific deadlines.

Upon signature of the agreement, the terms and conditions of the document shall be binding on the university and the faculty/staff member and may be only be amended by mutual agreement.

  • Phased retirements are at the sole discretion of the executive offer. There is no entitlement or expectation for the individual.
  • Phased retirements are not available for bargaining unit employees.
  • Phased retirements are limited to 2 years.
  • EO’s must sign off on a comprehensive plan detailing how the work will be distributed (current state vs. future state), and how the cost will be absorbed. This plan will be provided to HR and budget office.
  • There can be no full-time FTE growth attributable to the phased retirement.
  • No additional funding will be provided to support the phased retirement, all adjustments must come from base resources through prioritization and reallocation. Salary savings from the reduced workload of the employee on the phased retirement may be reallocated to hire temporary, adjunct or other non-benefit employees if needed. Visiting professors (with benefits) may be hired for the term of the phased retirement provided total compensation (including benefits) is covered by the salary savings of the person on phased retirement.
  • Divisional reserves cannot be used to support phased retirement workload distribution plans. Exceptions may be considered for critical AP staff where a new hire is required to work full-time during a limited transition period while the retiring staff member overlaps to pass off organizational knowledge and key duties. The maximum phased retirement time period for critical AP positions and use of reserves in this instance shall not exceed six months.
  • Phased retirements and sabbaticals cannot happen simultaneously.
  • Phased retirements cannot start until after one year after a sabbatical has ended.

Page last modified May 20, 2022