Employees Opt for Early Retirement
Thirty-six NMU employees enrolled in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) will take advantage of early retirement incentives approved last month by the state legislature. They filed their applications with the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) by the June 11 deadline and notified NMU’s Human Resources Office of their decision. The final number might be slightly higher if anyone applied through the ORS without informing Human Resources. About 145 NMU employees were eligible for the program.
Gongwer News Service in Lansing reported last week that the number opting for early retirement statewide was running about half of what was anticipated, which could have major implications for state budget planning. But Ann Sherman (Human Resources) said Northern’s number is on track with initial projections.
“The two groups impacted the most by this are the Technical and Office Professionals and the AFSCME buildings and grounds employees,” Sherman said. “We typically have 2-3 percent turnover. When you combine employees who’ve retired through the year with those taking advantage of MPSERS incentives, we’re up around 5 percent.”
The breakdown per employee group is as follows: AAUP, 2; Administrative/Professional, 3; AFSCME,11 ; NMUFA, 1; Technical and Office Professionals, 15; Senior Administrators, 4.
In his two-step plan outlined at the April forum, President Les Wong said the university planned to achieve a $1 million savings through the loss of 12 full-time equivalent positions in the wake of anticipated retirements and restructuring. This was assuming 112 would qualify for the program; the state's criteria later expanded. The savings associated with the actual number of impending retirements remains to be determined.
Eligible NMU employees who participate in MPSERS and leave their positions between July 1 and Aug. 31 will be entitled to the following incentives:
- The pension multiplier will increase from 1.5 to 1.6 percent for those eligible to retire before the law was passed.
- The pension multiplier will shift from 1.5 to 1.55 percent for those who did not qualify previously, but have a combined age and years of MPSERS service total of 80 points or more and are eligible to retire by Aug. 31.
Effective July 1, NMU employees who chose not to accept the MPSERS early retirement incentive will contribute an additional 3 percent of their pay toward retiree health care. Those who earn less than $18,000 annually will be responsible for 1.5 percent the first year and 3 percent in subsequent years.