Retirement Transition Options

The University recognises that people’s employment can be affected by lifestyle preferences, personal aspirations, health considerations and changes to individual circumstances and that the availability of flexible employment arrangements can be extremely helpful in assisting a staff member to prepare for retirement.

If you are contemplating retirement in the foreseeable future and wish to informally and confidentially explore possible options for a managed transition to retirement, you should initially approach your manager to discuss what arrangements might be able to be put in place to meet both your needs and the needs of your organisational unit. People and Organsational Development can also be approached to provide information on how employment terms, conditions and benefits may be affected by any particular proposal under discussion.

It is expected that any proposal for a managed transition will include a specific date for a full and final retirement from employment with Massey University within a timeframe that is typically no more than three years.

Options for transitioning to retirement might include (but are not limited to):

Reduced hours

This is a reduction in your level of work and time commitment but involves the same or very nearly the same job responsibilities. Agreement will need to be reached with your manager about what job responsibilities will be undertaken during the proposed part-time commitment as well as the pattern of working hours which, depending on the nature of the job responsibilities, could be regular or intermittent to suit the operational requirements.

Salary payments will be pro-rated in line with the part-time level of commitment and there may also be implications for annual leave entitlements, eligibility for University duties overseas and contributions to superannuation schemes. Members of the Government Superannuation Fund should be aware that in these circumstances they would not be able to continue to contribute as full-time members of that scheme.

If, at the date of the reduction to part-time, you have completed continuous full-time University service to qualify for the maximum retiring gratuity that might be available under the terms of your employment agreement, then the rate of payment will be protected by having it calculated at the equivalent full-time salary rate prevailing at the date of your eventual retirement. That is, the rate of payment will not be reduced to the level of your part-time commitment. If, the change to part-time occurs before completing qualifying service for the full gratuity then the payment will calculated on the pro-rata salary rate.

Re-focusing responsibilities (e.g. research-only or teaching-only)

Changes to job responsibilities are to be agreed with your manager. Changes to responsibilities may also require consideration of changes to the job title and/or remuneration to reflect the revised role. A new job description should be drawn up. In the case of academic staff consideration may also need to be given to the University’s Strategic Research Capability Policy.

Specified project work

This would typically involve a change to a fixed-term employment arrangement to undertake and complete a specified project. The change to project work could either be prior to eventual retirement or else involve an official retirement and then subsequent re-engagement on project work under a fixed-term employment agreement.

Flexible or different work hours

Changes to the daily start/finish times and/or the days of the week on which work will be performed can be mutually agreed but this should only be after reference to the hours of work provisions contained within the relevant employment agreement. A ‘compressed working week’ in which the same number of hours are worked over a fewer number of days may also be an option, however serious consideration needs to be given to any potential impact on your health and wellbeing.

Job-sharing

A reduction to part-time work involving two or more people sharing the working hours, responsibilities, and tasks of a single full-time position. To work most effectively job-sharing requires the right match of job, job partners and manager. It also requires more attention, flexibility and communication than other work options so the full agreement and commitment of the manager is essential.

Leave with/without pay

Some staff may find it useful to take periods of time away from work to explore or develop post-retirement pursuits.

Retirement from permanent full-time position and re-engagement on a part-time and fixed-term agreement undertaking different responsibilities

This option may suit you if you are seeking to transition to retirement by reducing to a relatively low level of part-time work but at the same time needing to attract other forms of income such as a superannuation benefit. Under this option you would formally retire from your current position, receive any contractual retirement and annual leave payments from the University and also qualify to apply for a superannuation benefit. You would then be re-engaged on a part-time and fixed-term contract with a job title, grading and salary commensurate with the job responsibilities and your professional standing.

Such re-engagements would normally be for limited terms of one or two years and would typically be to a role that is markedly different to the position from which you retired. Implications for other terms and conditions of employment (e.g. leave, salary reviews, promotions, University duties overseas, etc.) should be discussed and clarified with an HR Advisor.

Approval process for implementing transition options

Once you have developed a detailed transitional retirement proposal, a formal written request should be made by you to your manager. Your manager will then add comments as to whether or not they support the arrangement(s), before it is submitted to the relevant Senior Leadership Team Member for a decision.

Decisions on any such proposals will include consideration of the relevant organisational unit’s future staffing plans, operational needs, financial and other resourcing implications and the contribution you are able to make to the aims and objectives of the department and the University.

If the proposal is approved, People and Organisational Development staff will prepare appropriate written documentation to formalise the changes to your employment agreement with the University, which will include agreement on a full and final retirement date in the future.

If the proposal is not approved, you will be provided with reasons why the proposed arrangement does not suit the University.

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