Across many industries and diverse designs, pioneering companies have developed sustainable approaches to Respectful Exits or phased retirement that serve them well. On a regular basis we will describe successful approaches, adding proven approaches in the federal government, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.
Healthcare – Scripps Health
This San Diego-based system includes four hospitals, 19 outpatient facilities and 13,000 employees.
As part of the Scripps Life Cycle employment concept, the organization looks for ways for employees to phase into retirement over a period of years by providing flexible scheduling and benefits to part time employees.
As an employer, phasing allows Scripps to retain a highly skilled employee base with a wealth of experience and to keep the older, experienced employee on the payroll for as long as possible.
To accommodate those employees who are considering flexible retirement options, Scripps has implemented retiree benefits in a phased approach. Individuals may select their retirement options based on their lifestyle.
As a health care provider and employer, Scripps is very aware of the rising costs of health care, and especially its impact on retiring employees. They offer several health insurance options for phasing retirees—early retirement, staged retirement, and Medicare-eligible retirement. At Scripps, the average age of an RN is 47, and it is continuing to rise.
Higher Education – Columbia University
As departmental needs change, respectful exits can be a way of supporting older exempt staff (“officers of administration”) and staff continuity.
Those age 55 or over with 10 years of service who are now contemplating retirement can explore the possibility of a “phased retirement.” This allows them to gradually decrease their workload instead of going immediately into full retirement.
During this period, the officer retains his or her full-time status. Salary and salary-dependent benefits are prorated to reflect the decreased work load. The officer can supplement a decrease in pay with pension or annuity money, withdrawn without incurring a tax penalty. This period ends with the officer’s full-retirement date, which is established at the outset in the officer’s Phased Retirement Agreement.
Phased retirements can benefit departments as well as officers. It may give a department time to hire and train a replacement—or to restructure positions within the department—with the benefit of the retiring officer’s continuing input. On the other hand, a department is under no obligation to grant a phased retirement that’s unworkable from its stand.