Eligibility for Benefits: Definition
of Qualifying Employee
An employee is eligible to receive benefits provided pursuant to this policy if the employee, prior to the effective date of his or her retirement from the District, meets all of the following criteria:
● Is at least fifty-five (55) years of age or qualifies for normal retirement with eighty (80) points from the Arizona State Retirement System.
● Has completed at least ten (10) consecutive years of full-time employment with the District as defined below.
● Provides to the District written irrevocable notice of intention to retire within the timelines specified below.
An employee who meets all of the above criteria will be referred to in this policy as a "qualifying employee".
Calculation of Years of
Leaves of absence or sabbaticals authorized by the Governing Board shall not be counted as years of employment for the purpose of determining whether or not the employee has met the ten (10) years of employment required. Authorized leaves of absence or sabbaticals, however, shall not be considered a break in service for the purpose of determining whether or not the employee's years of service are "consecutive."
The years of consecutive service shall include part-time employment (1) if and to the extent the part-time employment is at least half-time (i.e., one-half full time equivalent [.5 FTE] or greater), and (2) provided that the total full-time and qualifying part-time employment is equivalent to ten (10) years of consecutive full-time service. For example, an employee who works for six (6) years full-time and five (5) years at point eight full time equivalent (.8 FTE) would be considered to have met the ten (10) year requirement of the policy (6 + [5x.8] = 6 + 4 = 10 years equivalent full time service).
Notification of Intent to Retire
To receive benefits provided by this policy, the qualifying employee must provide, in writing to the Superintendent, on or before February 1 of the final year (July 1 through June 30), the employees notification of intent to retire.
Payment for Unused
A qualifying certificated employee shall be paid for unused short-term leave at the rate of fifty dollars ($50) per day. A qualifying support staff employee shall be paid for unused short-term leave at the rate of forty dollars ($40) per day. Any remuneration of unused short-term leave for both certificated and support staff employees is limited to a maximum of one hundred eighty (180) days. Payment for unused short-term leave will be made in a lump sum in the last pay period prior to retirement.
Notwithstanding the above, a qualifying certificated or support staff employee who is retiring and intends to return to work at the District through a third party vendor shall not be paid for unused short term leave at the time of retirement. Instead, during the year with the third party vendor, employees may access any unused short-term leave days accrued while they were District employees.
After the one-year of employment with a third party vendor, if the employee returns to employment with the District, he or she will be credited with all of his or her unused District accrued short term leave, with a final payout upon permanent separation from the District. If he/she does not return to employment in the District after working through a third party vendor, the District shall pay the employee for the employee’s District unused short-term leave at the rates listed above.
Continuation of Group
Qualifying employees can, upon written request and subject to approval by the District's insurance carriers, continue to participate in medical, dental, and vision plans, offered to retirees and their dependents for a maximum of ten (10) years. Participation in such retiree plans will be at the sole expense of the retiree. This cost will be the difference between the Arizona State Retirement System insurance benefit and the cost of the retiree's premiums for the desired group coverages. For the purpose of determining insurance premiums from year to year, retirees are rated as a group separate from active employees. As a result, the cost of premiums to retirees will likely be different (and greater) than the premium costs offered to active employees.
At the option of the District, an employee who receives any benefits under this policy may return to full-time or part-time employment in the District after a 12 month break in service or as a contracted employee through a third party vendor the year immediately following retirement.
Retired employees who are not contracted through a third party vendor may qualify for reemployment on a part-time basis the year immediately following retirement at the discretion of the District and subject to the limits on the number of hours and days for retired members imposed by state retirement regulations.
Adopted: May 12, 2015
38-741 et seq.
38-781 et seq.