Lehigh University is offering long-term staff a one-time opportunity to leave the university and receive a six-month severance and benefits package. The plan is offered to all staff with a minimum length of service of 10 years, and whose total of age-plus-service meets or exceeds 75, as of June 30, 2019.
The offer is an effort to allow the university the opportunity to assess staffing needs and realign funding and positions to better address emerging needs as the university continues to grow, administrators say.
“Lehigh is growing and changing, as all institutions need to do if they are going to thrive in a rapidly evolving higher education environment,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration Patricia Johnson. “It is an incredibly dynamic time for the university, and this program allows us to view our staffing needs more strategically, and make certain we are using our resources in the most effective way possible. It also allows employees close to retirement age the opportunity to carefully evaluate their options.”
The voluntary retirement plan is open to staff only, and excludes employees of the Centennial School, research scientists/scholars/engineers and pre- and post-doc research associates. Approximately 270 current Lehigh employees are eligible for the program. The eligible employees will soon be receiving information packets through the mail that outline the program.
Under the new program, all eligible staff who opt for retirement will receive six months of severance pay and benefits continuation. The amount of severance pay will be determined by the salary in place on the last working day, which would be between April 11 and Aug. 31 of this year. (Retirement dates between April 11 and June 30 include a small number of employees who declared their intention to retire on those dates prior to the voluntary retirement plan offer being announced.)
Later retirement dates may be required if deemed necessary by a senior leader prior to the offer being made. Future employment at the university would not be allowed. Final decisions must be made by June 14, 2019, and staff will have a one-week period to reconsider their personal decision after submitting their elections.
Johnson said that senior administrators will conduct a careful review of each position that comes open, and will fill some, but not all of the newly created vacancies. “We will be looking at the greatest departmental needs, and this program allows us the flexibility to do that,” Johnson added.
The university’s Human Resources department will be hosting informational sessions beginning April 19 for those staffers eligible for the program. TIAA counselors will also be on campus to meet with individuals to review more specific personal and financial information.
More information is available on the Human Resources website at: