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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Program Information

Benefit Information



General Information

Q.    What is the Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (OVRIP)?
A.     The Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (OVRIP) is a one-time opportunity for employees who are currently eligible based on age and/or years of service to elect to retire by participating in the Program. 

Q.    Why is the Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (OVRIP) being offered?
A.     ASU-Jonesboro recognizes that employees have committed their professional lives and have made invaluable contributions to the University over their many years of service to the University.  This program provides an opportunity to recognize longstanding employees of the University.
 
Q.    Who is eligible for the Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (OVRIP)?          
A.     Employees who will be at least 62 years of age and will have completed at least fifteen (15) years of continuous full-time employment at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro as of June 30, 2014, and who choose to retire from service with the University, will be eligible for payment under the program.  (Note:  Individuals in Grant Funded Positions are not eligible for participation.)
 
Q.    Am I required to participate in the Program, if approved by the ASU Board of Trustees?
A.     No.  The Program is voluntary.  Only you can decide if you want to participate.
 
Q.    What is the prescribed timeframe for this program?
A.     Program Implementation Timeline

Election Period Begins February 28, 2014
Election Period Ends April 14, 2014
Effective Date for Retirement June 30, 2014

Q.     When must I retire if I elect to take advantage of this option?
A.     You must retire effective June 30, 2014 to take advantage of the Program.
 
Q.    What is the deadline to apply for the Program?
A.     Applications must be received by April 14, 2014.
 
Q.    Will a program like this be offered again?
A.     This is a one-time opportunity offered by the ASU Board of Trustees. There is no guarantee that an Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program will be offered again.
 
Q.    Does the fact that I have already announced my retirement disqualify my participation?
A.     If you meet the eligibility criteria you may participate in the Program, regardless of whether you have previously announced your retirement.
 
Q.    I have a dependent that will be a student.  If I retire on June 30, 2014, will the benefit for my dependent continue?
A.     Yes. Tuition discounts for the retiree, the spouse, and unmarried dependent children can continue as outlined in the ASU System Policy for Employee Discount of Tuition and Select Fees.

Q.    How is service counted in determining years of service for the OVRIP?
A.     An employee’s years of service will be counted from the first full day of continuous fulltime employment at the University.  Breaks in service during employment and prior years of service in another State of Arkansas agency or institution will not be counted for the OVRIP (i.e. teaching assistant, adjunct faculty, or other hourly-rated position).
 
Q.    Will the Program payment be in addition to any “sick leave” pay we have accumulated?  How will accrued, unused sick time be addressed under the program?
A.     Sick leave will be paid separately from the OVRIP payment.  Arkansas State University-Jonesboro shall pay for unused sick leave to all retiring employees in the amounts authorized by Arkansas law in effect on the date of retirement.  Compensation will be calculated as follows:   (per Arkansas Statutes and Codes 21-4-501)
 

  • If the employee has accumulated at least fifty (50) days but fewer than sixty (60) days of sick leave, the employee shall receive an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the number of accrued sick leave days rounded to the nearest day multiplied by fifty percent (50%) of the employee's daily salary;
  • If the employee has accumulated at least sixty (60) days but fewer than seventy (70) days of sick leave, the employee shall receive an amount equal to sixty percent (60%) of the number of accrued sick leave days rounded to the nearest day multiplied by sixty percent (60%) of the employee's daily salary;
  • If the employee has accumulated at least seventy (70) days but fewer than eighty (80) days of sick leave, the employee shall receive an amount equal to seventy percent (70%) of the number of accrued sick days rounded to the nearest day multiplied by seventy percent (70%) of the employee's daily salary; and
  • If the employee has accumulated at least eighty (80) or more days of sick leave, the employee shall receive an amount equal to eighty percent (80%) of the number of accrued sick leave days rounded to the nearest day multiplied by eighty percent (80%) of the employee's daily salary.
  • For purposes of this section, the employee's daily salary shall be determined by dividing the annual salary by two hundred sixty (260).
  • In no event shall an employee or beneficiary of an employee receive an amount that exceeds seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) upon retirement.


Q.    Will I be paid for unused annual leave time?
A.     Employees who elect to participate in the Program will be paid for their remaining annual leave hours up to a maximum of 240 hours.  The amount paid will be equal to the individual’s hourly rate of pay times the number of eligible annual leave hours.  Any remaining annual leave hours over the maximum number allowed will be forfeited. The annual leave payment will be paid separately from the OVRIP payment.

Q.    If I retire under the  Program, can I apply for another job at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro?
A.     Should you elect to participate future employment with the University is not guaranteed.
Under State law, employees who separate from an institution of higher education and are paid for their annual leave upon separation, are not allowed to return until they have exhausted the number of days for which they were awarded annual leave.


Q.    Are faculty who were on sabbatical for all or part of the 2013-2014 academic year eligible for the Program?
A.     Yes, as long as the individual is a current employee of the University.

 

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Program Information

Q.    What is the process for electing to participate in the Program?
A.    

  • Determine if you qualify for the program based on your age and years of service as of June 30, 2014.
  • Consult with the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, if you need assistance. 
  • Review and complete the Voluntary Retirement Agreement if electing to participate in the Program. 
  • Return the signed Agreement to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources no later than April 14, 2014.

Q.    Is the 45-day notice requirement for the Voluntary Retirement Agreement business days or calendar days?
A.     It is 45 calendar days.
 
Q.    When do the seven days to revoke the Agreement begin?
A.     The seven (7) days begin after the employee signs the Voluntary Retirement Agreement.
 
Q.    Can I send my application via U.S. Mail or campus mail?
A.     The mode of delivery is your choice, but hand delivery is strongly recommended.  Any applications received after April 14, 2014 will not be accepted.
 
Q.    Where is the Human Resources Department located?
A.     Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Administration Building – Room 204, 2105 Aggie Road, Jonesboro, AR  (870) 972-3454
 
Q.    Is the Voluntary Retirement Agreement binding?
A.     The Voluntary Retirement Agreement becomes final seven (7) days after submission. It is a legally binding contract which cannot be unilaterally rescinded or changed by either party.
 
Q.    Can the Board of Trustees change or terminate my Voluntary Retirement Agreement once I have signed and the University has approved it?
A.     Once you have signed and submitted your Agreement and it has been approved by the University, it is legally binding.  However, if the University terminates the employee for cause prior to the Retirement Date, the Agreement will be null and void, as stated in the Voluntary Retirement Agreement. If the total employee payouts exceed the allowable amount, the payments will be reduced proportionally.
 
Q.    If I decide to retire under the program, am I required to discuss my decision with my supervisor or someone else at the University?
A.     The decision to retire is up to you.  Once a decision is made to accept the Program, the individual should notify his or her supervisor and submit the Agreement to the Human Resources Department.
 
Q.    If the program does not fit my needs, can my supervisor or department head approve a different version of the program for me?
A.     No, negotiations are not permitted under the Optional Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (OVRIP).
 
Q.    When must the Agreement form be submitted?
A.     The Voluntary Retirement Agreement must be submitted to the Human Resources Department no later than April 14, 2014. 

Q.    What happens if I die after my Agreement is approved, but before I actually retire from the University?
A.     Your OVRIP payment would be paid to your heirs or your estate.
 
Q.    If the ASU retiree were to pass away during the salary continuation period, would the payments continue to a beneficiary for the remainder of the salary continuation period?
A.     Your remaining OVRIP payment(s) would be paid to your heirs or your estate.
 
Q.    What happens if I am eligible for the Program, but do not elect to participate?
A.     Once the election period ends on April 14, 2014, employees will no longer be eligible to elect to participate in the Program; you will simply continue working based on your current employment status, terms and conditions.
 
Q.    How and when will I be notified if my Retirement Agreement has been approved?
A.     The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources will notify you in writing once the Agreement is approved.

Q.    When will the employee receive the payment under the Program?
A.     The payment will be distributed in two equal annual installments deposited into a 403(b) on July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015.

 

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Benefit Information

Q.    I am a 9-month fulltime employee, when do my active employee benefits end?
A.     Your active employee benefits will end on June 30, 2014.
 
Q.    I am a 12-month fulltime employee, when do my active employee benefits end?
A.     Your active employee benefits will end on June 30, 2014.
 
Q.    If the retiree’s spouse is Medicare eligible and currently participates in a Arkansas State University-Jonesboro health plan, must he/she enroll in Medicare?
A.     Yes.  If a retiree’s spouse is age 65 or older at the date of retirement or Medicare-eligible they must discontinue the Arkansas State University-Jonesboro health care plan.
 
Q.    Will the OVRIP payment include benefit deductions (i.e. medical, dental, vision)?
A.     The payment will not include benefit deductions.
 
Q.    Can I keep my healthcare coverage with ASU-J upon my retirement under the OVRIP?
A.     Employees who are not Medicare-eligible will be afforded the opportunity to continue their medical insurance until age 65 or become Medicare-eligible (including spouse and eligible dependents, if covered at the time the employee retires) at one-half of the total cost. One-half the total cost consists of one-half of what ASU-J pays and one-half of the employee premiums. Direct draft payments must be established through the payroll director prior to retirement.
 
Retirees who have reached the age of 65 or become Medicare-eligible may elect to continue medical coverage for their spouse at the full premium cost, until the spouse reaches the age of 65 or becomes Medicare-eligible.
 
Q.    Can I keep group long-term disability insurance with ASU upon my retirement?
A.     No, the long-term disability benefit will end as of June 30, 2014.
 
Q.    What will happen to the Section 125 (Flexible Spending Account “FSA”) contributions if I elect to participate in the Program?
A.     Claims or services provided through June 30, 2014 will be eligible for reimbursement through FSA. Employees may submit claims for reimbursement (incurred prior to June 30, 2014) through the end of the plan year (December 31, 2014).
 
Q.    What other benefits are available to the individual who elects to participate in the Program?
A.      

  • Retirees (including spouse and eligible dependents, if covered at the time the employee retires) who currently participate in dental or vision insurance may continue their coverage upon retirement at the full premium. 
  • ASU paid life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment benefits equal to the scheduled amount at the time of the retirement will continue at no cost to the retiree until age 65.
  • Tuition discounts will be available for the retiree, the retiree’s spouse and unmarried eligible dependent children in the amount in effect for existing Arkansas State University-Jonesboro employees.
  • Retirees are eligible to retain their ASU email address upon leaving the Arkansas State University-Jonesboro.
  • Retirees may obtain one ASU campus parking permit through Parking Services.
  • Retirees are also entitled to one free lowest cost reserved season ticket to all athletic and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro sponsored events (with the exception of professional promotional events such as for-profit concerts, rodeos, ice shows, etc.) held on the campus of the Arkansas State University-Jonesboro.
  • Library borrowing privileges are available to retirees who are welcome to come into the Library and use the online resources onsite.  For more information http://www.astate.edu/a/library/circulation/policies/

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