The Voluntary Separation Incentive Program will help the university save money with the 2.5-million-dollar budget cuts being made for the fiscal year.
The program will help with redirecting positions to focus on priorities, changing needs or strategic objectives of the university and achieving other cost savings or efficiencies. It will also minimize potential involuntary terminations.
Eric Yonke, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, said, “The basic intention is that if a staff member is able to take retirement early, the incentive they will receive is a small pay out.”
This means accepted applicants can choose to receive a lump sum paid to them or a contribution to their Health Savings account, or Wisconsin Retirement System account.
But the staff member must qualify for the VSIP before they can apply for it.
Most of the criteria outlined on a document from Human Resources states that in order to qualify, the staff member must be currently appointed as of April 3, 2017, as a faculty member, academic staff member with an indefinite, rolling horizon or fixed term renewable contract, unclassified limited appointee or university staff member that is not on as temporary staff.
Applicants must also be at least 55 years of age prior to July 1, 2017. They must have at least five years of service with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on or before July 1, 2017.
The decision-making process depends on eligibility criteria being met. Campus deans and vice chancellors will then evaluate applications received in relation to VSIP objectives and make recommendations to the chancellor.
Once the chancellor makes the decision and communicates it to the applicant. If an application is not accepted, the employee may reapply after 30 days of the chancellor’s notification of the decision.
Pam Bollard, head of Human Resources for campus, said, “Qualification does not guarantee the acceptance of the application.”
“Really the ultimate decision comes down to the staff member because once the Chancellor accepts the application the staff member can still back out and choose to stay if they wish,” Bollard said. “They have until they sign that document to make the decision.”
Bollard also said that the VSIP program has been around UW-Stevens Point since about April 2015.
“About 32 applicants were accepted in the program that first time around,” Bollard said.
In Dec. 2016 when the program was run again Bollard said that about 15 applicants were accepted. There are currently about 16 applicants that have been accepted, and the opportunity to apply for the VSIP will close on March 1 of this year.
Bollard said that right now, based on the October 2017 payroll, which is the benchmark for employee counts, UWSP has 1,117 full time equivalent positions.