Guide To The Faculty Retirement Process

For most Senate faculty “retirement” actually involves two separate processes: 

      Negotiating an Agreement with your department/school. Most Senate faculty find that this is best accomplished with a “Pathway
     
to Retirement” agreement, discussed below. Whatever the format, this plan should set out a clear agreement between you and your
      unit regarding up to two years prior to retirement and up to three years following.

      Navigating the UC Retirement Process. You will have to apply for and navigate through the retirement process yourself, online at
      the UCRAYS website. This new online process was poorly implemented by UCOP in 2019, and as this is written (Fall 2022) the online
      retirement application system is still a challenge to navigate. UCLA staff will guide you through the process as best they can, but
      cannot do it for you. You cannot begin this formal process until three months before your retirement date, but we urge you to learn
      about your options well before then. The UCRAYS website also provides access to your UCRP service record and pension estimates
       (
https://retirementatyourservice.ucop.edu/UCRAYS/Account/LoginE?ReturnUrl=%2fUCRAYS).  

Both processes are discussed in more detail below.

 

What time of the year is best to retire?

The end of the academic year is usually best. Technically you “separate” from your regular position on the penultimate weekday of June, and then “retire into” your UC pension and other retirement benefits on July 1.  Because of the way the UC Pension cost of living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated, you pick up at least one and possibly two annual COLAs, compared to retiring at other times of the year. 

The end of June is also the only point in the Academic Year when the end of a quarter coincides with the end of a pay period for academic year (“nine month”) employees paid over 12 months. If you retire at the end of the Fall or Winter Quarters, your last pay check will be on October 31 or February 28, respectively, neither of which coincides with the last work day of that quarter. Generally, you can only retire at the end of a pay period.

 

Your Pathway to Retirement Agreement

UCLA encourages continued active campus engagement of Senate Emeriti faculty. To that end we have developed the “Pathways to Retirement” program, which allows Academic Senate faculty, in conjunction with their chairs and deans, to develop detailed plans for up to two years leading up to retirement, and up to three years following. These agreements are binding contracts between you and the University, and are signed by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel.

Elements You Might Include in a Pathway Agreement:

Teaching and Service Releases:  Department chairs have the discretion to grant partial teaching load reductions or exemption from departmental service requirements in the quarters preceding retirement.

Sabbatical Leaves Rearrangements: UCLA is very firm in its adherence to UC policy requiring faculty to return from sabbatical leaves for at least as long as the leave itself. But, there is some flexibility around scheduling and the nature of your departmental duties during the quarter(s) after returning from your leave. 

Postponement of 5-Year Reviews: The requirement for performance reviews at least once every five years is also firmly adhered to at UCLA. But Pathway Agreements can take precedence over the usual performance review schedule and requirements.

Research Professor Title:  Emeriti now have the opportunity to apply to use the “Research Professor” for up to three years following retirement, with year-to-year renewals after the initial three years. Those who are above scale when they retire can call themselves “Distinguished Research Professors.” These are honorific titles, used interchangeably with regular emerita/us titles.

Paid Teaching Recall:  If you want to continue departmental teaching after retirement you should specify the terms in your Pathway Agreement, for example “four undergraduate courses over three years.” Department policies regarding emeriti teaching vary; consult your chair for more information, including current pay rates for emeriti recall teaching.

Research Expense Funding: Some department chairs can provide you with a modest contribution to your research expense account, in support of your continued research expenses after retirement, such as essential equipment and travel to professional meetings.  

Space:  Some departments are able to provide limited private or shared office space following retirement. In addition, if you want to continue using departmental space for extramurally-supported research following retirement, be sure to include the details in your departmental agreement. 

 

Navigating the UC Retirement Process

UCLA has two campus-based Retirement Counselors, as well as an emeritus professor who serves as the “Liaison” to guide faculty through the retirement process. But as explained above you will have to apply for and navigate through the retirement process yourself, online at the UCRAYS website (https://retirementatyourservice.ucop.edu/UCRAYS/Account/LoginE?ReturnUrl=%2fUCRAYS ). You do this beginning three months before your retirement target date. We urge you to familiarize yourself with the steps and the choices you will have to make well before that.

Neither the campus Retirement Counselors nor the Faculty Retirement Liaison have a direct role in the UC Retirement Process, which is now completely centralized at the Office of the President’s retirement service center “RASC.” The Faculty Liaison assists with the Pathway program and planning, including how Medicare and UC/Fidelity resources relate to UC retirement resources. The Counselors also help you understand how Medicare and UC/Fidelity fit with your UC retirement resources, and help you understand details of the retirement application process itself. None of these counselors or other campus-based individuals have any direct access to your retirement records. 

The Liaison and Counselors, as well as a UC Fidelity representative stage annual Faculty Retirement Workshops each winter quarter, usually on two successive Friday mornings in February. We urge you to attend. Topics covered include:

            --taking a Lump Sum cashout instead of a lifetime pension;

            --adding a beneficiary contingent annuitant to your lifetime pension;

            --coordinating Social Security and Required Minimum Distributions;

            --update on retiree Health Benefits.

 

Remember: you will not receive your retirement benefits unless you have been separated by your department and you have successfully completed the UC Retirement Process.

 

Last updated: 10/31/2022