OSU Trustees Vote For Retirement Incentives

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For the first time since the 1990s, Ohio State University will offer retirement incentives to employees.

Ohio State trustees voted to approve two retirement incentive plans for eligible faculty and staff.

OSU officials say the program is not meant to necessarily save the university money, but instead to help focus on future university priorities. “It’s more of the case where we’re going to want to disinvest in some areas of the university and reinvest in others. It’s not really just a cost-savings mechanism,” OSU vice president of Human Resources Larry Lewellen said.

Lewellen could not say which areas are being focused for reinvestment.

One plan is a separation incentive that offers a lump sum payment with other benefits. The other plan is a phase-out option and is a little more complicated. Simply put…workers would reduce their hours over the course of two years to half-time…and their pay would stay the same until the second year…after which time they would retire.

Lewellen said the phase-out plan is particularly helpful for units where numerous workers will retire.

“The unit know when people are leaving and they can plan to change programs that those people have been involved in, or know how to recruit replacement,” he said.

Lewellen noted not all eligible employees will be offered the incentive plans. He said that will be left up to each college or unit to decide if packages would be useful.

Lewellen said the programs do not target any particular college or unit. He said some colleges have been discussing using the programs, although he declined to say which ones. And he said at no time will any employee be forced to take a buyout.

“This program is one that will not be allowed to target at any individual. And any group that this is offered to, we will not be allowed anyone to be pressured into taking this. This is completely voluntary,” Lewellen said.

Lewellen said some colleges could start making retirement offers as early as this spring.

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