Voluntary Retirement or Resignation Program FAQ (7/6/2020)

Gallaudet University
Voluntary Retirement or Resignation Program


Frequently Asked Questions


SECTION I:         BACKGROUND AND ELIGIBILITY FOR THE PROGRAM
 

What is the Voluntary Retirement or Resignation Incentive Program?
The Voluntary Retirement or Resignation Incentive Program (the “Program”) provides certain eligible employees with an incentive to participate. It is important to note that employees must apply to participate in the program and not all applications will be approved. 

This is a one-time, limited incentive that will not be offered again in the foreseeable future. There are no expectations to participate and there are no repercussions for those who decide to participate.

The application period begins on July 6, 2020 and ends on July 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT. The applications will be reviewed by a committee, along with the division leader to determine whether an application is approved.

In general, certain staff must retire or resign on August 31, 2020 or December 31, 2020 and certain staff, faculty and teachers must retire or resign on December 31, 2020. Applicants will be notified on July 31, 2020 whether their applications are approved.

Why is Gallaudet offering the Program?
Gallaudet is offering the Program to create budget flexibility to manage our response to the financial impact associated with COVID-19, which has dramatically changed our students’ learning experience and how we work. The Program is intended to generate options for those of you who may be considering a life or career change.

I am interested in learning more about the Program. Who do I contact?
Please contact Human Resources at vrrp@gallaudet.edu. However, if you are interested in applying for voluntary retirement under the Program, you are required to meet with Human Resources before you can submit an application to voluntarily retire under the Program. Please send an email to vrrp@gallaudet.edu to schedule an appointment.

Who is eligible to participate in the Program?
You must be a full-time or part-time regular status faculty, teacher, or staff member currently employed at Gallaudet to be eligible to apply to participate in the Program, unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet and certified bargaining agents.

This Program is not open to the following: (i) visiting, temporary, or on-call employees; (ii) special contract employees; (iii) any employees who have previously agreed to a buy-out offer, including under an early retirement incentive plan; (iv) employees who submitted their retirement or resignation notice prior to June 6, 2020; or (v) employees who received notice of termination of service on or before July 6, 2020.

To be eligible for retirement under the Program, employees must meet the requirements as described at: CSRS or FERS. If you are interested in applying for voluntary retirement under the Program, please contact Human Resources at vrrp@gallaudet.edu to schedule a meeting to determine your retirement eligibility.

Does this mean that there will be layoffs or furloughs after the Program has ended?
While this Program is not being offered as a precursor to any planned furloughs or layoffs, we cannot guarantee that there will not be furloughs or layoffs after the Program ends.  


SECTION II:       PROGRAM BENEFITS AND PAYMENTS

What are the incentives?
If you are approved to participate in the Program, you will receive the greater of:

  1. a gross amount equivalent to twenty-six (26) weeks of your compensation rate in effect as of your resignation or retirement date; or 

  2. A gross amount equivalent to twelve (12) weeks of pay at your compensation rate in effect as of your retirement or resignation date and a gross amount equivalent to two (2) weeks of pay at your compensation rate in effect as of your retirement or resignation date for each year of service worked at Gallaudet, up to a maximum of twenty (20) years/forty (40) weeks. Under this option, an employee could receive a max of fifty-two (52) weeks.

How do I calculate my incentive payment?
For exempt employees, to get your weekly amount, you can divide your annual salary by 52. The weekly amount should be rounded to the nearest dollar.

For non-exempt employees, to get your weekly amount, first multiply your hourly rate by 2080 if you are full-time. You should round it to the nearest dollar amount and then divide this by 52. If you work under 40 hours per week, please contact Human Resources for assistance.

I am an under an 12-month employee. Will this change anything?
No, your incentive payment will be calculated the same way as 12-month employees as it is based on the annual salary.

How will I receive the incentive payment?
If you have met all Program requirements, including submitting your executed and unrevoked acceptance of the Voluntary Separation Agreement and General Release of Claims, you will receive the incentive payment no later than sixty-five (65) days after your retirement or resignation date. It will be deposited into the same bank account where your paycheck is deposited into.

Will I be taxed on the incentive payment I receive under the Program?
Yes. To figure out the estimated payout, you can use 37.65%: 22% Federal, 6.2% Social Security, 1.45% Medicare, and 8% State. Please note this is not the exact figure--it is to provide you with a ballpark estimate. 

How will my unused sick and annual leave pay be paid to me?
If you leave Gallaudet on August 31, 2020, you will receive a lump sum of your unused annual leave, up to 240 hours, at a maximum payout of $15,000. If you leave the University on December 31, 2020, you will receive a lump sum of your unused annual leave, up to 200 hours, at a maximum payout of $15,000.

If you are retiring, your sick leave will be added to your creditable service under CSRS or FERS. It will help increase your annuity from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). If you are resigning, your sick leave balance will not be paid out.


SECTION III:      PROGRAM MECHANICS

How do I apply to participate in the Program?
If you are considering voluntary retirement under the Program, you are required to schedule a meeting with Human Resources in order to ensure your eligibility and other information before you can submit an application.

Even if you are not considering voluntary retirement, you are encouraged to meet with Human Resources for more information to help you make the right decision for yourself. You should also consult with your attorney and/or financial advisor. If you are certain you want to apply, please complete the application form and send the completed application to vrrp@gallaudet.edu.

What is the application deadline?
All applications must be submitted to vrrp@gallaudet.edu by Monday, July 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT.

I submitted my application. What is the next step?
A committee that consists of Dominic Lacy, Chief Operating Officer, Dean Khadijat Rashid, Dean of Faculty, Faye Kuo, Associate General Counsel, and Christina Shen-Austin, Executive Director of Human Resources, will review each application with the division leader. The division leader will be expected to consult with the department head to discuss the impact on the department. Several factors, such as business needs and the ability to transition within short notice, will determine whether the application is approved. Applicants will be notified on July 31, 2020, whether or not their application is approved.

I submitted my application but I now realize I do not want to participate.
You must rescind your application by Friday, July 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT by sending an email to vrrp@gallaudet.edu. After this deadline, if you have not withdrawn your application, you will be required to leave Gallaudet if your application is approved. You will be notified whether or not your application is approved and, if you are a staff, the retirement or resignation date.

Is my application to participate in the Program guaranteed to be approved? 
No. Whether or not the application is approved depends on the impact on the department, which includes business needs and the ability to transition within a short notice. It also depends on the number of applicants and the financial impact of the amount of incentive payments.

What are the criteria used to determine if an application will be approved?
There are several criteria, including business needs and the ability to transition within a short notice. It also depends on the number of applicants and the impact on the department’s ability to provide service. For example, if one department has four faculty and all four apply for the Program, it will be difficult to consider all four applicants at the same time.

When will I learn about the status of my application to participate in the Program?
All applicants will be informed on July 31, 2020 of the status of their application.

My application is approved. What is next?
Your supervisor will work with you to begin the transition process. You are still expected to work up until your retirement or resignation date. If you are retiring, please ensure you meet with Human Resources to complete the retirement application. If you are resigning, you should meet with Human Resources to discuss the disposition of your benefits and an exit interview.

I am a staff member. I sent my application and listed December 31, 2020 as my preferred resignation date. My application was approved but with the resignation date of August 31, 2020. Can I appeal?
Unfortunately, no. While the committee and division leaders will do their best to meet the preferred resignation date, it is not guaranteed.

What happens if my application to participate in the Program is not approved?
No changes to your employment will be made as a result of your application not being approved. 

Will I be given a reason if my application has been denied?
Yes, a reason will be provided to all applicants whose applications were denied.

May I appeal my application denial?
No, all decisions are final and unappealable.

 

SECTION IV:      POST RETIREMENT OR RESIGNATION CONSIDERATIONS

May I work at Gallaudet after my voluntary retirement or separation under this Program?
No, if you participate in the Program, you may not return as an employee except under extenuating circumstances that must be approved by the Chief Operating Officer.

It is possible to return to Gallaudet as an independent contractor. However, it depends on the business needs and it is important to understand that you cannot return as an independent contractor and perform the same responsibilities as current Gallaudet employees.

What benefits will I receive as a retiree of Gallaudet?
As a retiree, your health, life, dental and vision insurance may carry into retirement. It is important to note that you must be enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program for five years prior to retirement in order for both benefits to continue after retirement. More information will be provided during your meeting with Human Resources. 

What benefits will I receive if I resign from Gallaudet?
If you currently have insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), you will have the opportunity to enroll in the Temporary Continuation of Coverage. It will allow you to continue your health insurance for up to 18 months. You will be responsible for 102% of the total premium. For other benefits, additional information can be found at this link

Will I be able to receive unemployment benefits?
No, since you are voluntarily leaving Gallaudet, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

What is the tuition reimbursement policy if I participate in the Program?
You or your dependents will be eligible for reimbursement during Fall 2020 only. Please be sure to submit the grades at the end of the semester to the Finance Office as they manage the tuition reimbursement programs.




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Gallaudet

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Washington, DC 20002