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Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO)

  • Responsible Office: Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Current Approved Version: 08/01/2018
  • Policy Type: Board of Visitors

Policy Statement and Purpose

Within the framework of the Code of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia's Severance Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University established a Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO) policy whereby certain tenured VCU faculty may be deemed eligible to receive defined severance benefits or, in some instances, enhanced retirement benefits, upon their separation from VCU employment caused by budget reallocation or reduction due to business needs.

Business plans will be developed by appropriate academic and administrative units that will be designed to achieve strategic budget reductions, program modifications and/or the elimination of positions. Tenured faculty in areas that are targeted in the business plans for modification or reduction, who meet the eligibility criteria identified in this policy, may be eligible for the FASO severance benefits or enhanced retirement benefits (VRS employees only). If selected for participation in this program, the faculty member will complete the process by submitting a resignation/notice of retirement and signing forms relinquishing rights for future employment, including tenure rights. This process and the forms will be specified in the Faculty Alternative Severance Option Implementation Guidelines.

This policy provides a management tool for achieving institutional objectives and provides no entitlements beyond those specifically identified in the policy. It should not be considered to be either an early retirement or contract "buy-out" program. The respective vice president must approve any faculty re-employment following faculty resignation or retirement utilizing FASO. The needs of the university in meeting its various missions will be paramount in deciding which applications for FASO will be selected or approved. 

 

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports and environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

All tenured faculty and all university administrators responsible for faculty human resource administration should all know this policy and familiarize themselves with its content and provisions.

Definitions

Business Units

Within academic affairs and health sciences, the colleges and schools are defined as business units. The appropriate vice president will determine business units for non-college/school areas.

Tenured Faculty

A tenured appointment is an appointment that continues until the faculty member either voluntarily leaves the university or is dismissed for cause under the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures policy. Tenure is conferred in accordance with the criteria and procedures established by the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures policy and supplemented by appropriate school and department guidelines.

Contacts

The Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs officially interprets this policy. The Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. 

Policy Specifics and Procedures  

Severance Benefits

Under this policy, tenured faculty who participate in either the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) may be eligible for severance benefits as described below:

Eligibility

    • Except as otherwise noted, full-time tenured faculty are eligible.
    • Tenured faculty who are paid solely on sponsored contracts and grants are not eligible.
    • Tenured faculty who already have submitted retirement applications or have submitted plans to resign for other reasons are not eligible.
    • Tenured faculty whose university salary is paid partially from non-sponsored funds may be eligible for proportionate severance amounts.

Severance benefits: Severance pay for up to 36 weeks (based on a 52-week-year) of university salary depending on years of continuous service, and employer contributions for health and life insurance coverage for up to 12 months.

Enhanced Retirement Benefits

Only those tenured faculty who participate in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), and who are eligible for VRS retirement on the date of separation, may be eligible for enhanced retirement benefits as described below:

Eligibility

    • Except as otherwise noted, full-time tenured faculty who participate in the VRS are eligible.
    • Tenured faculty who are paid solely on sponsored contracts and grants are not eligible.
    • Tenured faculty who already have submitted retirement applications or have submitted plans to resign for other reasons are not eligible.
    • Tenured faculty whose university salary is paid partially from non-sponsored funds may be eligible to purchase years of age or service credit based on proportionate enhanced retirement benefits.

Enhanced retirement benefits: Available through VRS’s Defined Benefit Retirement Program with retirement income based on average salary, age, and amount of VRS service credit. In lieu of the severance benefits, eligible tenured faculty may elect to have the university purchase additional years of age or service credit, thereby enhancing their overall VRS retirement income.

Tenured faculty who participate in the severance or enhanced retirement benefits provided by this policy are not eligible for any other university incentive or early retirement program (i.e., Faculty Transition Incentive Program or Faculty Early Retirement Incentive Program)..

Business Plan Requirements:

The business plan requirements for each of the business units must provide the elements defined in the Faculty Alternative Severance Option Implementation Guidelines. 

The business plan must include a justification for the use of alternative severance that shows immediate and long-term impacts on operations, programs, and faculty, and how these outcomes will be managed.  The business plan must be approved by appropriate vice presidents. 

The business plan should also include targets, expectations, criteria for selection and severance costs. 

Forms

Forms related to FASO (e.g. sample Business Plan, Faculty Alternative Severance Option Implementation Guidelines, FASO Recommendation form, FASO Acceptance form, Release form, etc.) are made available upon request by the academic and/or business unit to the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Related Documents

The documents listed below can be located at the following web site:https://insidehr.vcu.edu/faculty/retirement-programs/

• Faculty Early Retirement Incentive Program (FERIP)

• Faculty Transition Incentive Program (FTIP)

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approval/Revision DateTitle
November 01, 2002 VCU Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO)
November 14, 2012  Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO)
September 09, 2015 Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO)
November 14, 2015 Faculty Alternative Severance Option (FASO)

FAQ

There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.