Employment After Retirement

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Retired university employees returning to work with an employer covered by SURS, the State Teachers' Retirement System (STRS), or the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), must notify SURS immediately to insure compliance with the following restrictions and limitations:

  1. a retired university employee must be retired for at least 60 days before returning to work with an employer covered by SURS;
  2. if annuity payments began on or after the age of 60, earnings from post-retirement employment with a SURS employer may not, when combined with the annual base annuity, exceed the retiree's highest earnings during any academic year prior to retirement;
  3. if annuity payments began before the age of 60, earnings from post-retirement employment with a SURS employer may not exceed the retiree's base monthly gross annuity.

There is no limitation on post-retirement earnings with an employer not covered by SURS, STRS, or SERS. Since breaches of these restrictions and limitations may result in a reduction or suspension of the retirement annuity, retirees contemplating a return to employment should consult with SURS or, if appropriate, STRS or SERS.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale Policy on Re-Hiring of University Retirees or Other SURS Annuitants

Southern Illinois University Carbondale recognizes and greatly values the considerable experience, knowledge and skills of its workforce.  Retirement from the University is at the discretion of the employee. Retirement by the employee requires separation from the University and generally concludes the person’s employment with the University.

Current provisions within the rules of the State University Retirement System (SURS) permit rehiring of employees who have retired from a SURS-covered institution, but State law creates restrictions and adds additional costs to the University in some circumstances. The University complies with the applicable State statutes and rules governing the re-employment of SURS annuitants. The following policy governs the practice of hiring retired employees from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale and School of Medicine campuses and ancillary sites, (here after referred to as the “University”) and the hiring of other SURS annuitants.

Nothing in this policy is intended to require an employee to retire. However, employees, who choose to officially retire forfeit any claim or expectation of post-retirement employment at the University. The University expects and requires effective succession planning and does not intend to use University retiree re-employment as a substitute for developing well-qualified faculty and staff.  The cost savings attributable to benefits a retiree receives from SURS shall not be a basis to avoid a competitive search process when filling positions.  Further, the University will not appoint retired senior administrators to positions from which they have retired or to similar positions without prior approval, which would be based on exceptional circumstances and a clear and compelling benefit to the University.

Nonetheless, occasional re-employment of a University retiree or SURS annuitant may be a wise human resource practice for the University. Re-employing such retirees from time to time can help the University achieve quality and value in serving students, conducting research, caring for patients, and managing exceptional circumstances and special needs. For example, a retiree or SURS annuitant may be specially qualified to do important work or perform a specific job at a time when good alternatives are unavailable, are more costly, or are of lower quality. These needs must be balanced against the potentially serious financial costs of hiring an affected annuitant as defined by State statute (40 ILCS 5/15-139.5). To minimize the chance of incurring such additional costs, the University will also take necessary and reasonable steps to avoid work assignments that would cause an individual to become an affected annuitant as defined by State statute. 

Approval and Reporting of University Retirees and Employment of Other State University Retirement System Annuitants

University retirees may be temporarily employed if they fit one of the following categories: 

  • Retired faculty members who teach courses, advise students, and perform related duties on a part-time or occasional basis.
  • Retired faculty or staff members who conduct research on appointments funded by external grants and contracts.
  • Retired clinical faculty or staff members who are employed to provide patient care on a part-time or occasional basis.
  • Retirees who are appointed as hourly (Extra Help) employees on a temporary basis.  Subject to administrative approval, Extra Help craft employees who are referred from their respective union hall maybe hired under this policy.
  • Retirees who are appointed on a temporary basis to perform staff functions when other options are not feasible.
  • 0% FTE (unpaid) appointments

The following criteria must be met when hiring a retiree or other SURS annuitant: 

  • Proposed employment must be approved in advance by the chancellor upon the recommendation of the relevant vice chancellor or provost. The University will not hire an annuitant without prior approval. Approval to hire an affected annuitant shall be based on exceptional circumstances and a clear and compelling benefit to the University.
  • Appointments will have specified end dates of no longer than one year from the date of employment.
  • Salary rates should generally be based upon what would be paid for a new employee for the same position. Strong justification for a pay rate greater than this guideline will be required and need to be approved by the Chancellor in advance of the proposed hire beginning work.
  • Any proposal to employ a University retiree or SURS Annuitant must be accompanied by a completed Statement of Applicant’s State Universities Retirement System (SURS) Status and Proposal for Re-Employment of a SURS Employer Retiree forms.
  • If the request is to re-hire a University retiree, the request shall also include a succession plan so that a permanent replacement, through a competitive search process, may be appointed.
  • Renewal of temporary appointments of University retirees is discouraged and is subject to the same approval requirements. 

Nothing in this policy is intended to prevent University retirees or other SURS annuitants from being selected for University jobs at competitive salaries through open and competitive search processes. Such appointments, and any other employment of SURS annuitants beyond the circumstances defined in this policy, will remain subject to the Illinois Pension Code, including PA 097-0968, and will require prior approval by the chancellor through the process described herein.