Human Resources

Faculty Voluntary Separation Program (FVSP)

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About the Faculty Voluntary Separation Program

After careful consideration, Wright State University is offering a separation program for AAUP-WSU Bargaining Unit Faculty Members and administrators with a faculty appointment in colleges affected by retrenchment. This program offers two options:

Eligible faculty members who take advantage of this program will receive plan payments and enhanced benefits. The election window is from Monday, April 12, 2021, through Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Eligible faculty members must submit their election forms to Human Resources (HR) by Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at 2 p.m. Hours of operation during the pandemic for the HR office are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Program Implementation Timeline

  • Materials posted to HR Website: By April 12, 2021
  • Materials Mailed to Eligible Employees: By April 13, 2021
  • Election Period: April 12, 2021 - May 26, 2021
  • Program Election Deadline: By 2:00 p.m., May 26, 2021
  • Revocation Period: Seven calendar days after the faculty member executes the agreement
     

Eligibility

The faculty Voluntary Separation Program is being offered to all AAUP-WSU Bargaining Unit Faculty Members and administrators with a faculty appointment in colleges affected by retrenchment1 and who have not participated in any prior voluntary separation or early retirement incentive program offered by the University.

The Enhanced Appendix J is being offered to all retirement-eligible AAUP-WSU Bargaining Unit Faculty Members and administrators with a faculty appointment in colleges affected by retrenchment1 and who have not participated in any prior voluntary separation or early retirement incentive program offered by the University.

Retirement eligibility is defined by the system or plan in which faculty members participate are as follows:

The State Teachers Retirement System, or STRS, defines retirement-eligible as:

  • In the Defined Benefit Plan and Combined Plan: At any age with 33 years of service or age 65 with five years of service for an unreduced retirement benefit.    
    • The service credit requirements for unreduced benefits at any age will increase to 34 years on August 1, 2021, and 35 years on August 1, 2023.
    • At any age with 30 years of service, age 55 with 28 years of service, or age 60 with five years of service for a reduced retirement benefit.
    • The service credit requirement for early retirement at age 55 will increase to 29 years on August 1, 2021–July 1, 2023.
  • In the Defined Contribution Plan:  At age 50 with any service requirement.
  • The Alternative Retirement Plan, or ARP, defines retirement-eligible as age 59½ with any service requirement.

1Raj Soin College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Health, Education, and Human Services, and College of Engineering and Computer Science.
 

Checklist

When considering the Voluntary Separation Program or Enhanced Appendix J, be sure to:

  • Read the materials in the decision packet mailed to your home address.
  • Review the 2021 Voluntary Separation Plan and/or Enhanced Appendix J Offer Plan documents and materials which are also located on the HR website.
  • Contact STRS or ARP representatives for pertinent and relevant details about your retirement account and options.
  • Consider seeking the advice of your financial, tax, and/or legal advisor before making a final decision. By law, the university can only provide factual information and can’t give any advice.
  • Contact the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and/or Human Resources if you have any questions about the program. Vice Provost office would have more familiarity with Appendix J and HR would have more familiarity with benefit-related questions.
  • If applicable, you may wish to contact the Social Security Administration to be fully aware of your Social Security and Medicare retirement benefits.
  • Sign and return your hardcopy election in person, via registered mail, or FileLocker to Human Resources, Monica Mack, or Sylvia Brockman no later than the end of the election window, which is 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. HR must receive all signed materials to accept your application.
  • An HR representative will sign and stamp your application acknowledging receipt. You will be provided a copy.
  • If electing to retire through the Voluntary Separation Plan or Enhanced Appendix J, finalize your retirement timely with STRS or your ARP vendor.
  • Inform your Dean of your decision and work with your department to transition your responsibilities to other faculty members in advance of your separation date.
  • Complete a Separation Clearance Form (PDF) to ensure timeliness of sick and/or vacation payouts according to the university Employee Separation policy (8180).
     

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the voluntary separation programs?

    The university is offering two voluntary separation programs – the Faculty Voluntary Separation Plan and the Enhanced Appendix J Offer – to seek volunteers who are interested in voluntarily exiting the university, assist in balancing its workforce with enrollment data and trends, and to mitigate the need to retrench the full 113 positions.    

    The features of the Faculty Voluntary Separation Plan include:

    • Severance Payment: A payment equal to either (a) 100% of his/her Base Pay as of April 8, 2021, for eligible faculty with at least 20 years of continuous Wright State service, or (b) 2.5% of his/her Base Pay as of April 8, 2021, per full year of Wright State Service, for eligible faculty with less than 20 years of continuous Wright State Service, payable in two substantially equal installments; capped at $200,000.
    • Sick Leave Equivalent Payment: For eligible faculty who are not retiring with 10 years of state service, a payment equivalent to one-fourth of all unused, accrued sick leave, up to a maximum of 20 days.
    • Educational Benefits: For eligible faculty who are separating but not retiring, educational benefits in the form of tuition remission for up to four consecutive academic years, ending no later than the Spring 2026 semester.

    The features of the Enhanced Appendix J Offer include: 

    • Payment: A payment equal to (a) 100% of his/her Base Pay as of April 8, 2021 for retirement dates on or before December 31, 2021, (b) 50% of his/her Base Pay as of April 8, 2021 for retirement dates on or before May 31, 2022, or (c) 25% of his/her Base Pay as of May 31, 2023, payable in two substantially equal installments; capped at $200,000.

    Both of the voluntary separation programs include:

    • Healthcare benefits: Either (a) a one-time taxable payment of $10,000 to help defray medical expenses, or (b) the university will pay the employer portion of COBRA continuation coverage premiums for 18 months.
    • Additional In­-Kind Benefits: For eligible faculty with at least 10 years of continuous Wright State service, up to five of the following benefits: (i) Emeritus Faculty Status, if otherwise eligible, (ii) use of office or lab space for up to three years, (iii) continued departmental involvement for up to three years, (iv) complimentary parking pass for up to three years, (v) membership to the University Fitness Center for up to three years, (vi) season tickets to athletic events for up to three years, or (vii) a 25% discount at the University Bookstore for up to three years.

    Additional information on the features of the Faculty Voluntary Separation Plan and the Enhanced Appendix J Offer can be found at https://www.wright.edu/human-resources/benefits/resources.

  • When and how will my payments from the faculty voluntary separation programs begin?

    Payments under the voluntary separation programs will vary based upon plan selection and separation dates.

    More details are outlined in each program’s “Plan” document. Payments will be issued through University Payroll.

  • Will taxes be taken from my payments?

    Yes, applicable taxes will be withheld.

  • Will W-2s be prepared on my behalf by the university?

    Yes.

  • How does the COBRA subsidy work?

    As long as you continue to pay your employee share of healthcare costs as current active employee to our COBRA administrator, Chard Snyder, the university will subsidize the additional costs of COBRA for up to 18 months. The amount you pay will be the same as you pay today. Please note, the payments are subject to change with each annual Open Enrollment. After you exit the university, you will receive COBRA paperwork from Chard Snyder which will enable you to sign up at these reduced rates. Refer to Q23.

  • Why did the university choose to provide an option of a one-time $10,000 cash payment for healthcare for those currently enrolled?

    Every employee situation is unique. Some employees elect university health care and some do not. Additionally, some may wish to end healthcare with the university, enroll in Medicare or spouse’s healthcare, or find alternative coverage. Therefore, in order to provide optimal flexibility, the university decided to provide a cash payment option to those eligible.

    If you elect the one-time cash payment, payment will be made at the same time as your first installment payment from the applicable voluntary separation program.  This means the one-time cash payment from the Faculty Voluntary Separation Plan will occur after your separation.  However, the one-time cash payment from the Enhanced Appendix J Offer will occur in 2021, regardless of your retirement date.

  • Who is eligible for the program?

    Faculty eligible for the voluntary separation programs include AAUP-WSU Bargaining Unit Faculty Members and administrators with a faculty appointment in colleges affected by retrenchment.

    Those faculty not eligible include those who previously retired or separated from the university; those who provided written retirement or separation notice prior to April 8, 2021 even if not yet exited; temporary or intermittent employees, non-bargaining unit faculty; BUFM faculty members not in colleges slated for retrenchment; adjunct faculty; and STEM school faculty.

    You may not elect participation in both of the voluntary separation programs.  If you elect participation in the Faculty Voluntary Separation Program, you are not eligible to elect the Enhanced Appendix J Offer, and vice versa.  Additionally, only faculty eligible to retire under the Appendix J Retirement Incentive Program are eligible to elect the Enhanced Appendix J Offer.

  • How will I know if I’m eligible?

    If you are eligible for either of the voluntary separation programs according to the university’s records, you will receive an announcement letter and a decision packet. If you did not receive a decision packet for a voluntary separation program, then you are not eligible.  If you did not receive a decision packet and think you are eligible, please contact the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs office to verify.

  • How did the university determine the offering for the programs?

    The design and eligibility for the programs was determined based upon a thoughtful process led by the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Executive Vice President & COO, Deputy General Counsel, Associate Vice President for Financial Operations and Associate Vice President & Chief HR Officer. In addition, the university met with Deans in colleges impacted, members of the Joint Committee on Retrenchment, and the AAUP-WSU.

  • Is the program voluntary?

    Yes, both programs are voluntary.

  • Will I be subject to involuntary reduction if I do not elect to participate in one of the voluntary programs?

    The process for determining employees eligible for the programs is very different from the process for identifying those who may receive an involuntary reduction as a result of retrenchment.  Employment status will not be affected because you choose not to participate in either program.

  • What are the key dates and deadlines for the program?
    • Campus announcement: April 7, 2021
    • Email to all eligible and website with materials available: April 12, 2021
    • Decision packets mailed to eligible employees: Mail to go out April 13, 2021
    • Election window opens: 10:00 a.m., April 12, 2021
    • Election window closes: 2:00 p.m., May 26, 2021
    • Separation date for faculty employees*: Varies based upon faculty election and management discretion
    • Rescind date: Seven (7) days following an individuals execution of the Agreement

    * Approval for participation in the program will be made by the Provost Office in collaboration with College Deans.

  • I may be interested in this program. Is there a deadline for making a decision?

    The deadlines for both voluntary separation programs are the same. The election window will be from April 12, 2021, through May 26, 2021. Eligible faculty must submit their election form in person, by registered mail, or via FileLocker to Human Resources, specifically Monica Mack or Sylvia Brockman. HR must receive the election no later than May 26, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. ET to be eligible for the program. Hours of operation for the Human Resources team during the pandemic are 10:00 a.m.to 2:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. The office is located University Hall suite 200.

  • Should I elect the program?

    This is a personal decision that is up to each eligible faculty member. By law, the university can only provide factual information and cannot give any advice. Faculty are encouraged to seek the advice of their financial, tax, and/or legal advisors before making a final decision.

  • What if I elect to participate in the program then change my mind?

    Before you submit your election form, be certain of your decision. You may revoke the Agreement during the seven (7) calendar days following your execution of the Agreement.  If you wish to do so, a request to rescind election form is available in the Faculty Voluntary Separation Plan and the Enhanced Appendix J Offer document or on the HR website. It must be delivered in person, registered mail, or via FileLocker and must be received by HR seven (7) calendar days following your execution of the Agreement.

  • Will another similar program be offered in the future?

    This is a one-time voluntary program designed to mitigate the number of faculty who will be retrenched. There are no plans to offer another program at this time.

  • If I separate or retire from the university upon taking one of the voluntary separation programs, what benefits and programs am I eligible for?

    For more information about the university’s retiree programs, refer to the Wright Path to Retirement brochure available by visiting www.wright.edu/hr. In addition, visit the Wright State University Retirees’ Association website at https://www.wright.edu/retirees-association.

    For more information about benefits for separating non-retirees, refer to the Leaving the University Guide brochure available by visiting www.wright.edu/hr.  

  • Am I still able to defer my sick leave payout and/or vacation payout, if applicable, into a Supplemental Retirement Account?

    Yes, if you are retiring with 10 or more years of state service. You can elect to defer any portion of your sick leave and/or vacation if applicable, to one of our Supplemental Retirement Accounts, 403(b) or 457(b), up to the annual IRS limits. However, to do so, you will need to set up your account with an approved provider from the list available on the HR website, and your payroll contribution amount using the Retirement Manager website located at https://www.myretirementmanager.com/myrm/login/login.aspx?wsu.

    For instructions, please visit Retirement Manager Quick Reference Guide (page 6) located at https://www.wright.edu/sites/www.wright.edu/files/page/attachments/rmrefg... (page 6).

    In addition, please be aware of the IRS-driven timeline for both the account setup and email:

    • For 457(b), per IRS, you must take action at least one month prior to your separation date.
    • For 403(b), you have until the 8th day in the month of your separation.
  • If I elect to participate in the program, can I collect unemployment?

    Because election of these programs is voluntary, it is unlikely that employees will be able to collect unemployment.

  • What do I need to do to elect my participation?

    We suggest these steps to elect your participation and prepare for your separation from the university:

    • Read the materials in your decision packet.
    • Contact the Vice Provost Office or Human Resources if you have any questions about the program. The Vice Provost Office would have more familiarity with Appendix J and HR would have more familiarity with benefit related questions.
    • Consider seeking the advice of your financial, tax, and/or legal advisors before making a final decision.
    • If eligible, you may wish to contact the Social Security Administration to be fully aware of your Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits.
    • If applicable, finalize your retirement in a timely manner with STRS or ARP. The respective retirement system will notify HR.
    • Sign and return your hardcopy election form in person, by registered mail or via FileLocker to Human Resources no later than the end of the election window, which is 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
    • Inform your Chair/Dean and work with your department to transition your responsibilities to another faculty member in advance of your separation date.
  • What do I need to do to decline my participation in the program?

    Please notify Human Resources of your decision in a timely manner prior to the end of the election window. If you do not provide HR with a response by the end of the election window, the university will assume you have elected to not participate in either program.

  • If I have questions, whom do I contact?

    Wright State University, Office of the Vice Provost
    270 University Hall
    937-775-3496
    shannon.norton@wright.edu

    Wright State University Human Resources
    200 University Hall
    937-775-2120
    HR-Benefits@wright.edu

    Wright State Retirees’ Association

    Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS)
    800-222-7377

    State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)
    888-227-7877

    Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)

    Chard Snyder (COBRA Administrator)
    888-993-4646
    Cobra@chard-snyder.com

  • What is COBRA?

    COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows you and/or a dependent covered under medical, dental, vision, and/or health care Flexible Spending Accounts benefits to continue coverage when it is lost due to selected qualifying status changes such as separating or retiring under one of the faculty voluntary separation programs

    Coverage may be purchased for any or all persons on your healthcare coverage at the time of termination.

    If you elect to participate in either faculty voluntary separation programs, your eligibility for these COBRA benefits will not be affected.  If you do not elect to receive the one-time cash healthcare payment, the university will provide a special subsidized COBRA rate that will cover the amount of the COBRA rates beyond the amount paid by you as the employee for your current coverage level. The maximum allowable period is 18 months.

    Chard Snyder, WSU’s COBRA administrator will send enrollment information to you and/or your eligible dependents within 14 days after your separation.

    You and/or your dependents have 60 days after your separation date or the date COBRA enrollment form was sent, whichever is later, to elect COBRA coverage and return the enrollment form to Chard Snyder.  You and/or your dependents have 45 days after making your election to send your premium payment to Chard Snyder.  Coverage will be reinstated to the first of the month following your separation after receipt of premium payments.

    The earlier you make your COBRA payment, the faster your healthcare will be reinstated.

    Chard Snyder is available to answer questions at (888)-993-4646, or feel free to direct questions to hr-benefits@wright.edu.

  • How does the university calculate my Years of Continuous Service (YOCS)?

    Wright State service dates are calculated at the start of continuous employment. Please note that STRS service credit is different as this calculation is determined by the FTE % reported to STRS.  For more information on how years of Wright State service is calculated for a particular benefit, please see the “Plan” document for the appropriate voluntary separation program.

  • Can I defer my incentive cash payments into a Supplemental Retirement Account?

    Yes, if you are an active employee at the time of payment. You can defer any portion of your incentive payments to one of our Supplemental Retirement Accounts, 403(b) or 457(b), up to the annual IRS limits. However, to do so, you will need to set up your account with an approved provider from the list available on the HR website, and your payroll contribution amount using the Retirement Manager website.

    For instructions, please visit Retirement Manager Quick Reference Guide (page 6).

    In addition, please be aware of the IRS-driven timeline for both the account setup and email:

    • For 457(b), per IRS, you must take action at least one month prior to your separation date.
    • For 403(b), you have until the 8th day in the month of your separation.
  • What is my final deadline for applying for one of the two voluntary exit Plans?

    May 26, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.  The deadline is the same for both the VSP and EAJ.

  • Can I decide on whether or not to apply for one of the voluntary Plans after the University announces its retrenchment list in June?

    No.  May 26,2021 at 2:00 p.m. is a hard deadline, it cannot and will not be extended. 

  • I’m considering waiting for another voluntary separation plan. Will the University offer another one in the future that is even more generous?

    No.  The University Administration and our Board of Trustees have no plans to recommend, create, or authorize any additional voluntary exit incentive programs in the foreseeable future.  Should enrollment declines continue to persist, moreover, the University, in accordance with the CBA, may need to pursue additional faculty position eliminations through a further round of retrenchment. 

  • What if I apply for either the VSP or the EAJ and the University denies my application?

    The University must reserve the discretion under both Plans to deny individual applications in order to ensure that academic/operational needs will be met going forward.  Having said that, the University intends to accept as many of the VSP/EAJ applicants as possible and intends to reject an application only in unusual circumstances (e.g., too many applicants from the same department).  Note that all EAJ applications submitted to date have been approved.  Responses to VSP applications will occur as a group after the end of the 45-day window to apply.  Note moreover that the University has committed to NOT involuntarily retrenching any Eligible Employee who applies for a voluntary exit plan but is rejected (if any).

  • If I apply for one of the Plans by May 26, 2021, what ranges of dates are available for my exit date?

    Under the VSP, separation dates can fall between December 31, 2021 and December 30, 2022, inclusive.  By law, the window of separation dates must be no more than 365 days, so this range cannot be modified.

    Under the EAJ, retirement dates can range from as soon as the end of the present month to as late as May 30, 2023.  Again, this retirement-date range cannot be changed.

  • What if I apply for either the VSP or the EAJ and the University accepts my application but rejects my requested retirement or voluntary separation date?

    As noted in A4 above, the University must reserve the right under both Plans to modify an individual’s requested exit date, be that retirement or voluntary separation, in order to meet our academic and operational needs.  Having said that, the University’s intention, within those parameters, is to honor the requested dates for faculty applicants who are approved, as long as the requested date does not create operational issues (e.g., mid-semester). 

  • If I opt for the EAJ and retire in 2021, and I elect to keep teaching (six to 12 credit hours per year) for one, two, or three more years (note that participants can also request zero teaching), how soon can that adjunct teaching begin?

    The soonest anyone can commence adjunct teaching after retiring under the EAJ is Fall Semester 2022.

  • Why will I be taxed on the fair market value of office or lab space provided as a continuing benefit under the VSP or EAJ, whereas “regular” retirees can have office or lab space free of charge and free of taxes?

    This is a nuanced tax law issue and we would recommend that anyone interested in accepting office or lab space under either Plan consider consulting with their own legal, financial or tax advisors.  Generally, however, if a departing faculty member is interested in guaranteed office/lab space for up to three years going forward, and that benefit is part of an employee separation program, as here, its fair market value must be taxed as an in-kind benefit.  On the other hand, if a departing faculty member does not require a guaranteed work space, but is willing to accept the office/lab space that may be available, at the discretion of the dean and subject to change upon notice going forward, as per our current practice with emeritus retirees, they can decline the guaranteed office/lab space option under the Plans and request to and consult with their Dean about what space may be available for them going forward.

  • As a result of COVID, I have come to enjoy remote teaching. Can I just continue in this status rather than separate?

    While the University is strengthening its delivery of distance learning, it is also planning for a return to predominantly face-to-face, in-person instruction.  Additionally, it is the plan of the Office of Provost that faculty will return to having dedicated in-person office hours at least two days a week to afford our students the academic support and responsiveness they deserve, consistent with section 7.5 of the CBA. 

  • Is the University precluded from hiring an adjunct to cover some of my duties if I separate?

    The University has multiple resources available to cover academic instructional needs, including, among other things, hiring of adjuncts, minimizing course releases, and determining section sizes and course offerings, as deemed appropriate by the Office of Provost.

  • I have additional questions. Where can I get them answered?

    Please contact Sylvia Brockman in HR (sylvia.brockman@wright.edu) or Dr. La Fleur Small in the VPFA office (lafleur.small@wright.edu).  As previously suggested, questions around benefits, retirements, years of service and the like are best directed to HR, while questions relating to the EAJ, academic matters, departure dates, teaching obligations, etc., are best directed to the VPFA’s office.

Resources

Related Links

Contacts

Wright State University Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
270 University Hall
937-775-3496
shannon.norton@wright.edu

Wright State University HR
200 University Hall
937-775-2120
HR-Benefits@wright.edu

State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)
888-227-7877

Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)

BusinessPlans (HRA administrator)

Chard Snyder (COBRA administrator)
800-207-1824

Wright State Retirees’ Association

This information provides you with details of the program available from Wright State University. More complete information about the offer can be found in the official plan documents.  If there are any differences between this information and the official plan documents, the official plan documents shall govern.