2020 Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (VERIP)

What is happening?

The information provided here is a preview of the 2020 Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (known as the 2020 VERIP) that will be offered to eligible staff members University-wide later this year. Additional details of the 2020 VERIP, along with individualized information and enrollment packets will be provided to eligible staff members during the last week of July.

The 2020 VERIP is designed to help the University manage significant budgetary issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while providing eligible staff with the choice of an enhanced retirement incentive and retirement planning, education and counseling. This program is completely voluntary. No one will be required to retire under this program.

Please note that Harvard Benefits will not be able to provide any individualized information about the program and eligibility for it before individual packages are received in late July. In addition, the Harvard University Retirement Center (HURC) cannot provide any pension estimates from now until the end of the VERIP consideration period due to the need to prioritize the preparation of individualized information for 2020 VERIP-eligible staff.

When is the timeframe for the 2020 VERIP?

Eligible staff will receive their personalized packets delivered to their homes starting during the last week of July, and will have a 45-calendar-day consideration period and a 7-calendar-day revocation period. Significant support and education will be available to eligible staff members during the consideration period (see below). Staff who accept the 2020 VERIP are expected to retire by December 31, 2020.

Who will be eligible?

In general, to be eligible, staff members must meet the requirements below. Please note that Harvard Benefits is working with the HURC to develop individualized packets for eligible staff members that we anticipate will be delivered to home addresses the last week of July. Harvard Benefits and the HURC are unable to provide information on individual eligibility before packets are received.

General eligibility rules:

  • Your primary job is in one of the following employee classes: Administrative and Professional Staff, Support Staff, Services and Trade Employees or Part-Time Services and Trades.
  • You are at least age 60 with a minimum of 10 years of participation service as of December 31, 2020. You can find your participation service by going to PeopleSoft and selecting My Benefits > Pension Summary.
  • You participate in either the 2001 Staff Retirement Plan (including grandfathered staff) or the 1995 Staff Retirement Plan.
  • You are not an active participant in the Retirement Income Plan for Teaching Faculty of Harvard University and you did not earn an accrued benefit under the Retirement Plan for Officers of Instruction and Administration of Harvard University (1950) unless your primary job is Administrative and Professional Staff.
  • You did not participate in a previous VERIP (either 2009 or 2012).
  • You are not working in a term appointment that ends prior to December 31, 2020.
  • You are not an employee of the Harvard University Employees Credit Union.

The VERIP offer is available to eligible staff retiring on or after May 1, 2020, who meet the rules above.

What does the VERIP offer?

In addition to Harvard’s standard retirement benefits, the 2020 VERIP provides an additional benefit equal to one year of annual salary. Eligible staff will receive a personalized calculation of the benefit in their packet.

Does the VERIP include eligibility for post-retirement health?

No. Additional service credit toward post-retirement health is not included in the 2020 VERIP offer. If you will be eligible for Harvard’s post-retirement health coverage at the time of your retirement under the 2020 VERIP, you will have access to those benefits. However, if you do not meet the eligibility requirements, this is not part of the VERIP; you will be eligible in such cases for COBRA benefits.

You can use the post-retirement health eligibility calculator to estimate when you may become eligible for post-retirement health coverage. To get a more accurate estimate, you will need your years of participation service, which can be found by going to PeopleSoft and selecting My Benefits > Pension Summary.

How can I get more information about the VERIP and making a decision?

Each person has 45 calendar days to consider the program and make decisions. Staff have a 7-calendar-day revocation period following when they made their election, in which to notify the Benefits Office in writing if they wish to change their decision. To support eligible staff in considering this decision, Harvard Benefits and the HURC will provide live online group information sessions, prerecorded webinars, and one-on-one financial and retirement planning sessions. Dates and registration information will be posted on this page in the coming weeks and will be in the packet sent to eligible staff.

You are also encouraged to visit the Preparing for Retirement web page and the Harvard Retirement Checklist for additional information, resources and tools.

Should I talk to my manager about the VERIP?

You are welcome to express your interest in the VERIP with your manager. However, during the consideration and revocation periods, managers should be careful not to influence an employee's decision and should generally refrain from sharing their personal situation or opinion of the VERIP or discussing their predictions about potential future changes that may be ahead. After the consideration and revocation periods expire, you will want to discuss your retirement date with your manager if you elect the VERIP.

If I take the VERIP, can I work at the University in another role?

You cannot work at the Harvard in any capacity for 12 months after your retirement date if you take the VERIP.