When the BC Government announced in 2007 that it would end mandatory retirement in the province, the Faculty Association got busy to protect our most senior colleagues from forcible retirement while that legislation was pending. The result was our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) #2 on page 26 of the Collective Agreement.
The Retirement Options
In the negotiations for that MOU, the University administration was concerned about doing long-term planning without knowing well in advance when people would retire. They wanted to encourage at least an option for members to give notice four or five years in advance of their planned retirement date. In response the Association agreed on three retirement options. Option 1 provided for a phased-in retirement over three years (i.e., 75%, 50%, 33.3%) with certain protected benefit-levels. Option 2 provided for a part-time appointment for a maximum of 4 years, with the reduction in appointment not to exceed 50%. Option 3 provided for a maximum of 4 years of reduced scope, with a reduction in one area of duties. For all three options, there is a one year notice period in addition to the three to four years of adjusted workload, providing UBC with significant notice of retirement.
There has been some uptake for the three retirement options. As of July 1 2019 there were 33 members at various stages of one of the options: 7 in Option 1, 17 in Option 2, and 9 in Option 3.
The Problem we are trying to Solve
The Association has identified an issue with Option 3. Enrolling in Options 1 and 2 is entirely at the member’s discretion. However, enrolling in Option 3 is at the sole discretion of the Dean. This has meant that one member may have a request for Option 3 turned down while another may have the identical request approved. It’s hard to know how often this problem occurs, but we do know of specific inequities in decanal approvals of Option 3. The Association’s objective here is to revise Option 3 to ensure that it is equally available to all interested faculty. We have proposed making enrolment in Option 3 entirely at the member’s discretion, like Options 1 and 2. The University is not enthusiastic about this proposal, so we are currently considering other approaches to ensuring equity in the application of this Option.
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