UWM offers voluntary separation incentive in anticipation of state funding cut
The incentive provides a one-time payment of half their base salary to eligible employees.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is offering a voluntary separation incentive to some employees to help save money in anticipation of a cut in state funding.
The incentive provides a one-time payment of half their base salary to eligible employees, who must be vested with the Wisconsin Retirement System and qualify for a full annuity as of July 1.
Four other UW campuses have announced similar cost-saving measures since Gov. Scott Walker proposed cutting the UW System budget by $300 million over two years. UWM’s share of that cut is estimated at $40 million. The Wisconsin Legislature is still considering the budget that takes effect July 1.
“As we have seen with other campuses, UWM’s voluntary separation program is one aspect of a multi-faceted approach to responsibly deal with the magnitude of budget cuts that have been proposed. As much as possible, we must be strategic about the vital role our faculty and staff play and how a voluntary separation program such as ours will impact UWM and, ultimately, the city, region and state,” Chancellor Mark Mone said.
The program is expected to save UWM millions of dollars during the next two years; the specific amount depends on which employees accept the offer and whether they are replaced.
About 300 of UWM’s approximately 4,500 employees could qualify for the incentive program. The number of offers could be fewer, however, because deans and division heads will recommend to Mone which departments to include in the program, considering the cost of the incentives and whether they are needed to reduce personnel in those areas.
Employees who accept incentives cannot be rehired by UWM for two years to ensure that both employees and departments understand the program is intended to create long-term savings. This is a longer period than required by state law.
Deans and division heads must make their recommendations to Mone by April 24, helping decide which departments will participate in the program. Eligible employees will be notified by May 1. They must apply by May 22 and will receive notice of the status of their applications by June 15. Dates of separation will be set on a case-by-case basis, based on employee requests and approval of the dean or division head.
Criteria for receiving a full Wisconsin Retirement System annuity is set by the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds. State employees may qualify as early as age 57.
As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. UWM educates more than 28,000 students on an operating budget of $546 million, an amount that does not include federal financial aid passed through to students. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. An engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin, UWM’s economic impact is more than $1.5 billion per year in Wisconsin alone.
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Chen joined the UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science in 2003.