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Human Capital Services

VSIP Frequently Asked Questions

The provost office, office of general counsel and human capital services have worked together to anticipate many of the common questions that frequently arise when employees consider a voluntary separation incentive program. If you have a question that has not been addressed below, please contact us at hr@ksu.edu

ELIGIBILITY & PARTICIPATION

 

1. Who is eligible to participate?

Tenured K-State faculty who will be at least 62 years old at time of separation and who have been employed by a Kansas Board of Regents institution for at least 10 years at the time of separation are eligible to apply for consideration in this Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. Non-tenured faculty and unclassified professionals on regular or term appointments, staff in the university support system (USS), and other employee types are not eligible for participation.

Employees who have already provided written notification of their intent to retire by the end of the current academic year, are presently on approved long-term disability, have an active phased-retirement in place or are scheduled to begin phased retirement, and retirees who have been rehired are not eligible for participation in the VSIP.

 

2. Am I eligible to participate if I'm on sabbatical this year?

Yes. The only eligibility criteria for participation are described above. Eligible employees currently on sabbatical should note that participation in the VSIP does not waive the KBOR requirement for separating faculty to refund all sabbatical pay if they do not return to the university for a period of at least one year following their sabbatical. 


3. I’ve already discussed retirement with my unit leader; am I eligible for this program?

If your Dean, Vice President, Director, or Department Head or Chair has not yet accepted or acknowledged your retirement in writing (email is acceptable), you are eligible to participate. Tenured faculty who have already entered into a phased retirement agreement are not eligible.

 

4. Are tenured faculty at regional research and extension centers, K-State Salina, and K-State Olathe eligible to participate?

Yes. All tenured faculty are eligible to participate regardless of their physical location.

 

5. Will all employees who are eligible to participate be selected for participation? 

Eligible employees interested in the VSIP must submit an application for consideration. The university will review all applications and approve those in the best interest of K-State.

 

6. How will applications be reviewed for the “best interest” of K-State?

Not all VSIP applicants may be selected for participation. Approvals will be made by the Provost. Applications are approved, rather than denied, based on the best interest of their areas as guided by the college and the office of the Provost.

Decisions to fund a voluntary separation package are made by the Provost with recommendation from the Unit head based upon the following criteria:  

  1. Meets VSIP eligibility requirements.  
  2. Unit’s operational and accreditation needs are served. The separation must not hinder the unit’s current ability to achieve its strategic and organizational mission.
  3. The needs and best interests of the university community are served. 

 

7. I have been told that anyone with an administrative appointment cannot apply for VSIP. I cannot find that requirement anywhere, is this true?

Administrators who are also tenured faculty and meet all other eligibility requirements are eligible to participate.

 

8. If a tenured member of faculty reduces their FTE, are they still eligible for the VSIP program?

Tenured faculty may be eligible for the VSIP program as long as they remain benefits eligible (.50 FTE or higher). Their VSIP payout amount will be the employee’s FY 22 budgeted annual base salary (prior to their FTE reduction), whichever is lower.

 

VSIP APPLICATION, APPROVAL, AND PARTICIPANT PROCEDURES

 

1. What are the steps and timeline for applying to participate?

HCS has launched a VSIP website. The website provides a summary of all the steps and timelines for the VSIP. The first deadline is October 29, 2021 for submitting a Notice of Interest. The university anticipates notifying applicants regarding approval by November 19, 2021 with participants’ Notice of Retirement due no later than November 29, 2021. VSIP retirements will be effective at the end of the current academic year (May 14, 2022 for 9-month appointments and June 11, 2022 for 12-month appointments).

 

2. How can I learn what my incentive payment would be?

The incentive payment is a one-time, lump-sum cash payment of your FY 22 budgeted annual base salary. Annual base salary is the annual budgeted salary not including summer sessions, overloads, or other one-time payments. Participants should contact Human Capital Services (HCS) for lump sum cash payout information by sending an email to hr@ksu.edu.

Participants under the age of 65 may elect to participate in a health care bridge, in which case the lump-sum cash payment will be reduced by the amount necessary to cover the cost of the health care bridge.

Any VSIP payment will be subject to required payroll deductions, including applicable federal and state taxes and any other legally required deductions. Neither the employee nor K-State will make mandatory retirement contributions on the incentive payment amount., The VSIP lump sum payment amount will not be included in the calculation of mandatory retirement contributions and will not be included to calculate the maximum deferral for voluntary retirement plan contributions. However, you may elect to direct a portion of your sick and/or annual leave payout into a voluntary retirement plan. Contact the Benefits Office at benefits@ksu.edu with any questions regarding contribution limits and how you may be able to defer funds into the Kansas Board of Regents voluntary 403(b) retirement plan. 

 

3. How and when do I apply?

The application period for the VSIP begins on September 20, 2021 and ends on October 29, 2021. Eligible employees may apply by submitting the VSIP Notice of Interest application form, available behind K-State’s secure Single Sign-on. To be considered for the VSIP, an employee’s Notice of Interest must be completed and submitted electronically to their respective dean or vice president no later than 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday, October 29, 2021.

Before applying, employees should view a draft of the VSIP Separation Agreement. In order to receive the VSIP benefits, eligible employees whose applications are approved will be required to execute the Separation Agreement. By signing the Separation Agreement and accepting the voluntary separation incentive payment, employees waive certain rights and release the university from certain claims. Employees with questions about the legal terms of the Separation Agreement are encouraged to consult with their own legal advisor before applying for the VSIP.

Employees should also discuss this program with their family and personal financial and tax advisors as K-State cannot provide financial, tax, or legal advice related to this decision.

 

4. When will applicants be notified that they have been approved for participation? 

VSIP applicants will be notified electronically whether their application has been approved on or before November 19, 2021.

 

5. If my application for participation is not approved, is there an appeal process?

The decision of the Provost to approve or not approve an application is final.  

 

6. If my application is approved, what happens next?  

Approved VSIP participants must submit their Notice of Retirement by 5:00 p.m. CT on November 29, 2021. This notice serves as the employee’s agreement to participate in the VSIP and cannot be revoked. Revocation of this notice is prohibited because the university will make decisions related to finances, academic services. and staffing based upon this notice.

Approved VSIP participants must submit their Separation Agreement by 5:00 p.m. CT on May 2, 2022. Payment of the VSIP incentive is conditioned on execution and return of this agreement.

 

7. What if I change my mind after I’ve returned my Notice of Retirement document?

You will be required to retire on the documented retirement date, regardless of whether you choose to sign the Separation Agreement. Please consider your options carefully as this step is binding. Retirement will be required as approval may have been made in place of another eligible faculty member. Additionally, K-State will need to begin planning to meet academic and departmental needs well beforehand.

Eligible faculty are strongly urged to consult with an attorney before applying and before signing the Separation Agreement. They are also encouraged to discuss this program with their family and personal financial and tax advisors as K-State cannot provide financial, tax, or legal advice related to this decision.

 

8. What is the deadline for the Notice of Retirement Document to be returned?

If your application is approved for participation in the VSIP, the Notice of Retirement document must be completed and submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on November 29, 2021. Your signature is binding and indicates your retirement and may not be rescinded. Selected applicants who return the Notice of Retirement will later receive an electronic Separation Agreement. This document outlines the financial transaction that will take place at the time of separation. Failure to sign this document at the time of retirement may cause revocation of the payout and will not be considered a refusal to retire.

 

9. What happens if I apply and am accepted but then need to change my decision?

You may decide not to participate in the VSIP at any point in time, however your decision to retire will be considered final once the Notice of Retirement document (deadline November 29, 2021) has been received. 

The Separation Agreement outlines the financial and legal terms of the arrangement and is due May 2, 2022. Please note that should you choose not to sign the Separation Agreement the incentive payment will not be made although you will otherwise be treated as a retiree.

 

10. If I turn in my application for VSIP earlier, can I find out my outcome earlier?

Due to employment laws regarding application times for VSIPs and other factors, the timing of submission will not impact approval notifications. K-State intends to approve as many applications as possible, although all decisions will be made in the best interest of the university and college or unit.

 

11. If I am selected to participate in the program when do I finish my teaching or other work responsibilities?

Selected individuals will be expected to complete instructional, research, outreach, and administrative activities through the end of the academic year for 9-month employees and the fiscal year for 12-month employees.

 

12. Is it advisable to discuss my interest or possible interest or application with my supervisor before submitting the interest form?

The decision to submit an application must be an independent and voluntary decision. Supervisors and leaders have been directed to neither encourage nor prohibit faculty from applying.

  

GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

1. Why is the university doing this?

K-State recently received targeted appropriations allowing for this Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. The VSIP is a tool that the university is using to assist with reshaping the faculty workforce and to assist in creating a merit pool for employees in FY 23.  

Faculty nearing the end of their careers are sometimes in a position to retire but opt to remain for a variety of personal and professional reasons. The VSIP allows administrators to offer those eligible a retirement incentive. The resulting faculty line may be eliminated, held open for future or strategic programmatic directions, or may be filled by new junior faculty. In all cases the decisions will be prioritized based upon the university's financial and strategic needs, which are in the best interest of the university community. Applications are approved, rather than denied, based on the best interest of their areas as guided by the college or other unit and the office of the Provost.

 

2. Will you offer this program again in a few years?

K-State does not anticipate future offerings as funding for this program was received as a one-time targeted appropriation.

 

3. How will this affect faculty not eligible or selected for the VSIP?

Managing teaching, research, outreach, or administrative responsibilities of retiring faculty will be done at the unit level and will not impact K-State’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, or outreach.

 

4. Long-serving, tenured faculty are often our most respected and valued. Will losing them harm K-State’s reputation and standing?

K-State’s mission and strategic goals are a key priority, and all VSIP applications will be weighed against the best interest of the university and college or unit. A faculty member’s application could be denied if that departure would significantly weaken our work in an academic or research area, or program accreditation.

 

5. Where can I have specific questions addressed?

Please contact hr@ksu.edu with questions or concerns regarding dates, deadlines, and other questions about the program. Benefits-related questions may be directed to benefits@ksu.edu.

 

6. Will participating affect eligibility for emeritus status? 

VSIP participants are eligible to apply for emeritus status assuming eligibility criteria are met. 

 

7. If I’m approved for participation, may I still use my vacation and sick leave?

Yes, you may continue to use available accrued vacation and/or sick leave until your agreed-upon separation date under current leave policy guidelines and with supervisory approval.

 

8. If I participate in the VSIP, will I still be eligible for regular retiree benefits like parking, Recreation Center memberships, ID cards, library access, and K-State athletics tickets?

Yes. Retired faculty, regardless of VSIP participation, are eligible for a variety of K-State benefits. A complete list can be found on the HCS website.

 

9. Can I direct the lump sum and/or my leave payouts into a tax-deferred retirement plan?

The VSIP lump sum payment amount will not be included in the calculation of mandatory retirement contributions and will not be included to calculate the maximum deferral for voluntary retirement plan contributions. However, you may elect to direct a portion of your sick and/or annual leave payout into a voluntary retirement plan. Contact the Benefits Office at benefits@ksu.edu with any questions regarding contribution limits and how you may be able to defer funds into the Kansas Board of Regents voluntary 403(b) retirement plan. 

 

WORKING AFTER RETIREMENT

 

1. Can I retire under this program and get a faculty job at another KBOR institution?

This VSIP only pertains to K-State and has no impact on other KBOR institutions. However, please note there are rehire requirements for KBOR and/or K-State that would have to be met.

IRS rulings and case law confirm that access to retirement funds requires a bona fide separation from service. Consequently, rehiring a retiree must be in the best interest of the University and within the bounds of this policy. The retiree may not be rehired into the same position with job duties and job title identical to those which he/she held before retirement. Any rehire is subject to the normal university recruitment approval process. In addition, Human Capital Services must approve the initial rehire of all retirees prior to allowing the retiree to work to document compliance with the following policies.

A retiree who participated in the KBOR mandatory retirement plan may be rehired no earlier than 60 calendar days after the retirement date. Access to retirement funds will be dependent upon prevailing KBOR and retirement provider policy. See the Kansas Board of Regents Bona fide Separation from Service (pdf) directive.

 


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