Plan gains support

By Wendy Arquilla

Employees of NIU have shown interest in a retirement plan that will help both themselves and the university financially.

The NIU Retirement Enhancement plan was introduced last spring, according to Joann Bergren, NIU insurance office assistant manager.

The plan was devised after the Illinois General Assembly failed to produce an early retirement plan that faculty, staff and university administrators found palatable last winter.

“The plan generated a lot of interest. We received 400 inquires from staff and faculty when the plan was first announced,” Bergren said.

She said 111 staff and faculty have chosen the NIU plan, with 40 percent of that number being faculty.

To be eligible for the retirement enhancement plan, staff or faculty must be 55 by June 30, 1994 and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Potential candidates between the ages of 55-61 must have put in a minimum of eight years of service at NIU to be eligible while staff and faculty 62 and above only need a minimum of five years of service, Bergren said.

The main inducement of the NIU plan is a 10 percent increase in the salary of the person retiring for the remainder of time worked. The increase begins when the date of the employee’s retirement is established.

“This plan gives employees an alternative to the state’s early retirement option. The state’s plan could not only cost the employee money, but the university as well,” Bergren said.

The cost to the university for the 111 applicants of the NIU plan would be about the same cost as covering 34 applicants of the state’s early retirement plan.

Bergren said she felt the plan helps both the university and the employee. Under the NIU plan, employees can delay their retirement which will in turn reduce costs for the university.

“I feel the president had this plan enacted because of a genuine concern for the welfare of both faculty and staff,” Bergren said.

Early retirement plans are also popular cost-cutting measures which encourage higher paid employees with seniority to retire, opening up positions for less experienced younger employees who usually are paid less.

Priority is given to employees with a retirement date of June 30, 1994 or earlier. These employees have until October 19, 1993 to complete a formal retirement agreement. All other applicants for NIU’s early retirement plan will have until November 24, 1993.