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ABOR Phased Retirement Program for ORP Participants FAQs

Phased Retirement Agreement

May I change the terms of an executed Phased Retirement Agreement?

No. The terms of a Phased Retirement Agreement are irrevocable, unless you choose to accelerate retirement due to an unforeseen circumstance such as a change in health or ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the negotiated phased retirement period. 

What is the 45-day period to consider the agreement? Do I have to wait 45 days to sign the agreement?

The 45-day period is required by federal law whenever an employee who falls in a protected age group (40 or older) is being offered a retirement plan, and as part of agreeing to the terms of the plan, agrees to waive any potential age discrimination claims against the employer. You are entitled to take the entire 45 days to consider the terms of the agreement, and during those 45 days, the University cannot withdraw the offered agreement.

You do not have to wait the 45 days if you do not need more time for consideration. But once you sign the agreement, you waive the remainder of the 45-day period. 

What is the 7-day revocation period?

The 7-day revocation period is also required by federal law whenever an employee is waiving any potential age discrimination claims. Once you sign the Phased Retirement Agreement you have up to 7 calendar days to change your mind and rescind the agreement. The Phased Retirement Agreement does not become effective, and any payments due under the agreement will not be paid, until after the 7 calendar days have passed.

Optional Retirement Plan

Once I am participating in phased retirement, how do I begin withdrawing from my Optional Retirement Plan account?

Confirm with your departmental business office that Human Resources has received and approved the Phased Retirement Agreement. Then, contact the investment company with which you have your Optional Retirement Plan account to begin withdrawals. Please also contact HR Solutions (520) 621-3660 or so that Human Resources can process the employer authorization for the withdrawal. Please allow up to 30 days for employer authorization.

Investment Company Representative
Fidelity Investments Damond Petersen (866) 588-2612
TIAA Mark Largent (866) 548-3705 ext. 453249

If I am participating in Phased Retirement, why am I required to continue contributing to the Optional Retirement Plan?

As long as you remain employed, Arizona Revised Statute 15-1628C mandates that employee and employer contributions to the Optional Retirement Plan continue. All contributions will stop after your retirement date. 

Are there any restrictions to the withdrawals from my Optional Retirement Plan account?

There are no withdrawal restrictions imposed by either the University or the Optional Retirement Plan. 

Arizona State Retirement System Distributions

Before joining the Optional Retirement Plan, I had contributed to the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). Does participation in the Phased Retirement Program affect my ASRS account?

No. ASRS participants may not begin distributions from ASRS until they retire from all ASRS employers. Retire means to completely sever employment from all ASRS-participating employers. You are still considered an active UA employee throughout the Phased Retirement period. 

Return to Work after Retirement - Arizona State Retirement System Accountholders

Before joining the Optional Retirement Plan, I contributed to the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) and I still have an active ASRS account. If I return to work after retirement, how does that affect my ASRS pension?

The ASRS account is administered according to specific ASRS rules regarding return to work after a formal retirement. For the most current return to work information, and information on your ASRS account, contact the ASRS directly at

Tucson (520) 239-3100
Phoenix (602) 240-2000
Areas outside Tucson and Phoenix (800) 621-3778

Return to Work After Retirement - Optional Retirement Plan Participants

How does participation in the Phased Retirement Program affect my options for returning to work after retirement?

The Phased Retirement Program Agreement is an executed contract between yourself and the University that formally defines your retirement date. You may return to work full time or part time after this retirement date. But if you do return to work in the future, you will not be eligible for tenure or continuing status. 

If I participate in the Phased Retirement Program then later return to work, can I take a retirement-eligible position?

Yes. You may rejoin the Optional Retirement Plan, or you may be able to join the Arizona State Retirement System, if you return to work in a retirement-eligible position. Be aware, however, that if you elect the ORP and are already receiving any ORP withdrawals, then you must complete five years of service in order to vest. 

Supplemental Compensation

Does participation in the Phased Retirement Program affect my eligibility to earn supplemental compensation?

Participation in the Phased Retirement Program does not affect existing Supplemental Compensation policy. The policy on Supplemental Compensation is available in the University Handbook for Appointed Personnel, policy 2.06.07


When my FTE is reduced below 1.00 FTE, what benefits are directly affected?

Benefits directly affected by a change in position FTE include benefit eligibility, annual leave accrual, paid sick time accrual, and levels of coverage available through voluntary supplemental life insurance.

Benefits eligibility is defined by the Arizona Department of Administration. As long as you remain employed at least 20 hours per week (.50 FTE), you will remain fully benefits eligible.

Annual (vacation) leave is prorated based on your FTE. Multiply 22 days by your FTE to determine your annual accrual. For more information see

Paid Sick Time is also accrued based on your FTE. Accrual rate is 8 hours per each month of full-time employment. Multiply this full-time rate by your FTE to determine your accrual. For more information see

Voluntary supplemental life insurance coverage is based on your salary. If your FTE and salary are both reduced, the available coverage is reduced accordingly. For more information see Voluntary Supplemental Life Insurance.

When my FTE is reduced below 1.00 FTE, what benefits may be indirectly affected?

Due to lower annual leave and sick leave accruals, the total hours available for vacation payout and Retiree Accumulated Sick Leave (RASL) may be less.

Payout of Annual Leave upon Separation: On separating employment, employees are paid for accrued vacation up to one year’s accrual. The number of hours you can be paid for will be based on how many hours you receive in your final year. Also, because you are accruing fewer hours, you may end up banking fewer hours.

Retiree Accumulated Sick Leave (RASL): Employees who have accumulated at least 500 sick leave hours are eligible to apply for a payout on retirement. The payout is based on a percentage of your hourly pay rate, up to a maximum dollar amount. Changes to your sick leave accrual may affect how much payout you receive. This program is administered by the State of Arizona General Accounting Office.

For more information on the RASL program, see

When my FTE is reduced below 1.00 FTE, is there any effect on my Voluntary 403(b) Plan or Deferred Compensation 457 Plan?

Participation in the Phased Retirement Program does not affect existing guidelines and IRS limits for contributions to either the 403(b) Plan or the 457 Plan. 

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