Pension and benefits information for retirees is well documented in the University’s Pension & Benefits Booklet (available on the HR Benefits web page). But there’s a lot else about retiring that isn’t captured in Human Resources’ documentation. We’ve tried to cover as much as we can here.
What you need to know
You might be able to reduce your workload by up to 50% in the lead-up to retirement, provided you set a firm date.
You can exchange one week of vacation (PDF) for an increase in salary (a 2% increase if you give three years’ notice; proportionately less with less notice). In addition to the extra cash now, this generally produces an increase in your annual pension payments.
You get your full professional expense amount (FPER) for the fiscal year in which you retire, even if you are only working for part of it. Remember: You can use this for expenses carried forward from previous years.
- You are automatically granted the title of professor emeritus/emerita (PDF) if you’ve worked here for 15 years (lecturers included).
Where to find more information
- MyPENSIONinfo, Waterloo's online self-service pension estimator
- The Human Resources website:
Here's how the reduced workload policy (Policy 59) works:
You can reduce your workload by up to 50%, with your salary reduced proportionately.
- You have to set your retirement date when this starts, but you can always retire earlier than that date.
You can set a retirement date up to 17 years in the future, no later than your 71st birthday.
- You need to be at least 45 years old with 10 years of uninterrupted regular full-time service.
- Your sabbatical credit accrues proportionately, but your pension and pension contributions remain based on your full-time salary.
What you do and don’t get to keep after retiring.
What you get to keep. To maintain your library access, parking pass, and athletics membership, update your information with each service before you retire. (Provided that you tell Parking Services in advance, you’ll stay in the same lot and your fee drops considerably.) You also keep your medical benefits.
What you don’t get to keep. You do not retain your dental benefits (so get your dental work done first!), but you do qualify for the Retired Teachers of Ontario dental plan. Your N: drive will be deactivated shortly after you retire.
What you might get to keep. If you make arrangements, you can probably keep your email address (it’s usually not a problem but requires your department to tell IST) and your faculty web page.
If you continue to hold research grants, you might be able to continue accessing your office and lab space, as well as your computer, software licenses, and other equipment.
Otherwise, you have to return equipment provided by the University, such as the computer in your office. Items paid for by the professional expense allotment might be requested back, although this is unlikely for journals, books, and depreciated computer equipment.
Who to talk to
Your chair, preferably one-to-two terms in advance of your planned retirement date.
Sue McGrath at Human Resources (extension 32046), four-to-six weeks before your retirement date, to make your pension choices.
- The faculty representatives on the University’s Pension and Benefits Committee, if you need advice. Note that HR is not permitted to give advice on your pension options.
- The Centre for Career Action, which offers pre-retirement support, including a Retirement 101 workshop, for employees.
Questions to ask
Ask your chair if you will be owing or owed any teaching credits at the time of your planned retirement date.
If you have continuing research grants, talk to your chair about what privileges you might be able to maintain post-retirement.
Many people find that setting a firm date well in advance helps them plan and adjust. It is also common to want the flexibility of being able to retire when the time feels right. Do what works for you. (Note that a firm date is required for the reduced workload and vacation exchange programs, though you can retire earlier than that date.)
Choose your “retirement date” on the HR forms – defined to be the first day you are no longer working at UW -- to be the first day of a month. UW pension payments are made on the first day of the month, so, for example, if your retirement date is July 1, you get your first pension payment that day. If your retirement day is July 2, your first pension payment comes a full month later, on August 1.
Inform granting agencies well in advance of a switch to emeritus/emerita status, so your accounts don’t get frozen.
On pension options
- If you have a spouse (including common-law), consider the pension option called “Joint & 60% Last Survivor reducing on member or spouse's death.” This option provides for your spouse without lowering the monthly pension payment as much as other pension choices do. (See the myPENSIONinfo site for more information.)