The Request must be submitted to the senior vice president for academic affairs, with signatures on the applicant, department chair, and dean, by May 1st of the calendar year in which the request is to become effective.
Voluntary Modification of Employment (VMOE)
- Full-time faculty who have reached age 55 and have been enrolled in the Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) or in an approved Optional Retirement Program (ORP) for at least five years may be considered for participation.
The following qualifications of employment must apply for those faculty approved for participation in the program:
- Status as a full-time faculty member shall be relinquished, including tenure rights but not academic freedom.
- Teaching and other work assignments may be negotiated on an individual basis, but may not exceed 49 percent full-time employment (FTE) for the academic year. Such negotiated agreement must be in writing and signed by the faculty member and the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee.
- Compensation to the faculty member during the VMOE period shall be negotiated and reflect the percent of full-time equivalent status.
- The eligibility of a participant to receive retirement benefits shall be governed by state laws and regulations pertaining to such eligibility and, in the case of individuals enrolled in the Optional Retirement Program, the terms and conditions specified by contractual agreement of the individual with the particular provider.
- Benefits: Depending upon space availability and current budgetary considerations at the time of VMOE approval, the participant may be entitled to amenities normally afforded full-time faculty to include, but not be limited to, office space, library and parking privileges, and clerical support, authority to be principal investigator on grants, to supervise graduate students and to serve on and chair thesis and dissertation committees. In addition, the individual shall have the option to participate in health and life insurance programs to the extent provided by the state or by the university for retirees. (Information concerning such insurance benefits is available from the Human Resources benefits office.) Participation in the Texas Teacher Retirement System, Optional Retirement Programs, or tax deferred annuities is not available to the faculty member.
- Duration: A negotiated agreement for VMOE shall be for an initial period of time not to exceed three years and may be renewed annually thereafter by mutual agreement.
University of Houston Procedures
- Applications and recommendations for VMOE should be forwarded from the department chair to the dean to the Provost no later than four months prior to the effective date that retirement is to take effect.
- A faculty member who is accepted in this program will be notified by the dean of such participation within two months of his/her application. After agreement between the individual and the university with regard to the VMOE, the faculty member will relinquish his/her tenured status.
- Following the VMOE agreement, the university will employ the faculty member at a semester workload less than half of the normal workload for full-time faculty. Such agreement initially shall be for no more than three years, with an annual renewal option thereafter. At the beginning of each academic year, the individual and department chair shall agree, in writing, to the activities and duties that will constitute the faculty member's workload for the VMOE agreement.
For such reduced workload, and during its continuance, the university will pay the participant a compensation to be determined as follows:
For faculty on VMOE during the first year of such reduced workload, the salary of the participant will be the percentage of the full-time salary for the academic year equal to the percentage of the contracted workload. At the option of the participant, such salary will be paid in either nine or twelve equal installments. In subsequent years, the salary will be incremented by an amount not less than that corresponding to any state-mandated pay increments for all employees. In addition faculty will be considered for merit increments according to college bylaws from any merit funds allocated by the state or the university.
Failure of the participant to perform duties under the VMOE agreement may be considered a breach of the agreement. At the end of such academic year, the obligation of the university under this policy shall be terminated.
If a dispute arises regarding the ability of the faculty member to continue in his/her capacity under the terms of the agreement, the faculty member agrees (as part of the VMOE agreement) that the university shall have the right to have the faculty member examined by an appropriate licensed health care provider of the university's choosing to determine capability. The physician's findings shall be obtained as a signed written statement, a copy of which is to be provided to the faculty member and his/her legal counsel if such has been retained. The statement shall include a determination as to the fitness of the participant to continue to perform the conditions of the contract and shall be binding on both parties. A period of six months must elapse before the faculty member can again be examined medically in this regard should s/he be found able to continue by the examiner.
- Should state or federal law change or be interpreted to prohibit the purpose of any provision of this agreement, the participant shall, if s/he chooses, be reinstated by the university to the rank and salary held at the date of his/her election to participate in the VMOE program. In the event of such reinstatement, however, the participant who had opted for retirement and collected retirement benefits may not be a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas or of the Optional Retirement Program, except as provided by law. A TRS or ORP participant who is reinstated will be subject to all laws and rules governing employment after retirement, including those providing for forfeiture of benefits received for the period during which s/he had returned to full-time status. Group insurance benefits under the Employment Retirement System of Texas will remain at the retiree level should the participant be reinstated to his/her former rank.
- A participant shall be entitled to all the benefits and amenities as allowed by state law and for which s/he qualifies including participation in retiree medical group and limited life insurance plans, but excluding participation in TRS, ORP, other tax-deferred annuities offered at the university, and cafeteria plans offered under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- A participant's eligibility to draw retirement benefits from TRS or an ORP contract and his/her eligibility for membership in TRS or ORP will be governed by the laws and rules governing such eligibility.