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December 12, 2003

P&S Council: Retirement preferred over layoffs

Department managers across Iowa State should be encouraged to offer retirement incentive options to employees, according to a resolution passed unanimously by the Professional and Scientific Council Dec. 4. The council's compensation and benefits committee proposed the recommendation, in light of ongoing tight budgets and, in some cases, the resulting restructuring of units. Committee members said retirement is a preferred solution to employee furloughs or layoffs.

The council's recommendation intentionally does not spell out eligibility requirements for retirement, nor does it offer guidelines on what the incentives might be. It encourages "latitude [within departments] to explore retirement options with eligible employees."

"We're not proposing a retirement 'program,' per se," said Trevor Riedemann, a member of the committee. "We're asking the university to encourage this as a workforce management tool."

An early retirement incentive program offered by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, expires June 30, 2004. (Eligible employees must apply by this date.) Eligibility for that program is limited to those who, as of June 30, 2002, were at least 57 years old and had 15 or more years of service at Iowa State. Since 2002, the five regents schools have not proposed another early retirement incentive program to the board.

The council's resolution will be forwarded to President Gregory Geoffroy and all three vice presidents.

In other council business, president Kevin Kane told council members that the most recent version of a proposed Leave for the Arrival of Children policy, tabled by the regents at the September meeting, has been tabled indefinitely. Kane said budget reductions hurt the likelihood the board would approve a new program at this time. Iowa State, which has been a driving force behind the proposal, most recently sent a package of supporting materials to the regents board office in September.

Kane said both Geoffroy and vice president for academic affairs and provost Benjamin Allen have encouraged managers to be creative and flexible in achieving the family-friendly objectives of the policy, even in the absence of a formal leave policy.

The council's next meeting begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room.

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