State lowers faculty retirement age

"A state-wide early retirement incentive program is gaining popularity among Oswego State employees.

"The program, offered to all New York state agencies, including the SUNY system, provides various benefits depending on the retirement plan employees belong to, said Nick Lyons, vice president for Administration at Oswego State.

"Faculty who are covered by the New York State Employee’s Retirement System (ERS) and retire under the program receive an increase to their retirement benefits of six percent.

""If you work 25 years at two percent per year, you would retire at 50 percent of your salary," Lyons said."The retirement incentive gets you credit for up to three additional years of service, so if you were to retire with the incentive, you would get a 56 percent benefit rather than 50 percent."

""It adds time to our service as an incentive for us to retire," said Nancy Bellow, executive director of the President’s Office of Business and Community Relations. She added that employees who may not have qualified to retire yet are now eligible under this program and can, thus, retire early.

"Similarly, those covered by optional retirement plans will also benefit from early retirement under this program.

""The additional benefit here is a cash contribution to that individual person’s retirement fund of up to 45 percent of their salary," Lyons said.

"Already 33 employees at Oswego State have said they will retire under the program, but not all have committed yet.

""Only about five faculty have committed to retirement," Lyons added. "However, faculty have until almost the end of the semester to decide, so we anticipate that more will participate."

""It’s a wonderful benefit," said Bellow, who will be retiring under this program. She said that the benefit gave her an extra two-and-a-half years of service credit, and she is grateful to be given this opportunity.

"Despite the number of retirees, Lyons said the campus will not be negatively affected. No classes will be cut.

"The retirements may actually benefit Oswego State budget-wise.

""The amount that people are making varies, usually based on how long they have worked here and the accumulation of salary raises over time," Lyons said. Salaries of new employees are lower than employees with service time, so it will cost less to employ replacements for the retirees.