Retirement in spring remains popular option for staff

Retirement at UAA is booming and UAA’s Human Resources Office is burdened with retirement forms.

“A lot of people will leave at the end of the fiscal year,” Michelle Yerkes and Randi Markussen, from UAA’s Human Resources offices, said. “This is the time of year where the majority of people will retire.”

Additionally, retirement trends may be increasing due to a decrease in faculty morale. According to a UAA Faculty Morale Survey taken in August of 2016, 43.94 percent of faculty morale has declined, and 28.05 percent of faculties do not feel positive about the security of their job at UAA.

Unfortunately, there are no retirement statistics set in place for 2017.

“We just don’t have [retirement statistics] at this point in time,” Yerkes and Markussen said.

Not just anyone can choose to retire, however.

“They have to be eligible,” Erika van Flein, director of benefits statewide, said.

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There are two main plans at the state level for retirement: The Teachers’ Retirement System and the Public Employees’ Retirement System. Both require the age of 60 to become eligible. The TRS requires 20 years of teaching service, while the PERS requires 30 years of public service.

Both TRS and PERS also provide early retirement plans, which require being vested and the age of 55 to become eligible. TRS and PERS benefits include lifelong pension and health insurance.

“UAA employees who are in the defined benefit plans must reach retirement eligibility by either age or service, terminate employment and file an application for retirement with the Division of Retirement and Benefits. Retirement is effective the first of the month following all requirements being fulfilled,” Kathleen Lea, chief pension officer at the Department of Administration, said.

Retirement is the reward for both teachers and public employees after their years of service.