Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme

Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme

Overview

The University operates in a dynamic environment which requires ongoing review of strategic priorities and operating models. The strategic priorities outlined in ‘A Framing of Futures’ include the priority of fostering a culture of transformative learning in a research enriched environment, engagement and collaboration with industry and aligning the nature and size of the University for the future.

It is acknowledged that the Higher Education sector has been through major change over the past decade (and which continues), impacting on the work and working lives of academics. The increased competitiveness of research and the digitisation of education are two examples of this. Responses to these changes are varied, and for some staff the desire to remain working in an academic context has been diminished.

The University has recently applied and obtained approval from the Australian Tax Office to run a Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme (the Scheme). This is a program managed by the Australian Tax Office, allowing continuing academic staff aged 50-65 to retire early from their employment with a financial package that is taxed concessionally. A Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme allows staff to retire early, without reducing the overall academic staff headcount as the roles are able to be replaced.

Who is eligible?

The Scheme applies to all Academic Staff who meet the following criteria:

  • Appointed by the University on a continuing basis at Level B, C, D or E under the Macquarie University Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement 2018;
  • Have at least three (3) years of continuous service with the University;
  • Are aged 50 years and over at the commencement of the Scheme (14 November 2018), and will retire prior to turning 65 years of age;
  • Do not hold any type of external research grant (including ARC, NHMRC, Future Fellow, DECRA);
  • Are not staff members in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences or the Department of Chiropractic;
  • Have not been promoted in the two (2) years prior to 2019;
  • Have not been formally recognised for teaching excellence in the last three (3) years through either:
    • the receipt of a national citation; or
    • a competitive external teaching award or grant; or
    • the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; or
    • a University Learning and Teaching Grant.
  • Have not been assessed as research productive against University and/or Faculty criteria;
  • Have not formally advised the University of their resignation or retirement, or accepted a pre-retirement contract;
  • Do not have any formal arrangement with the University that will result in the termination of their employment on a specified date;
  • Are not members of the University Executive or staff members who are appointed to a senior leadership position, including an Executive Dean, Associate Dean, Head of Department, Dean of a School, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Vice Chancellor;
  • Have not been awarded the title of Macquarie University Distinguished Professor.

Staff members who have an active workers compensation claim where there is payment for loss of income or are subject to processes related to allegation of misconduct or serious misconduct are excluded from this Scheme.

Payment

The payment made to eligible staff members under the Scheme will be a one-off lump sum payment which is calculated in the following way:

  • Two weeks’ base salary for each completed year of continuous service;
  • With a minimum payment of 26 weeks base salary or $50,000, whichever is greater; and
  • Up to a maximum of 52 weeks base salary.

The lump sum payment made under this Scheme is in addition to any other payments, such as accrued annual and long service leave entitlements to which eligible employees would otherwise be entitled to upon concluding employment with the University. Payment of leave entitlements are subject to a different taxation treatment than the lump sum payment.

VERS Estimate Calculator

The VERS Estimate Calculator allows you to generate an estimate of the payment you may be eligible for under the Scheme. It is important to note however that these calculations are indicative only and should be used as a guide in making a decision and not be treated as a confirmed statement of a final pay-out figure.

Superannuation

Staff members considering early retirement under the Scheme are advised to seek independent professional financial advice regarding any superannuation implications applicable to their personal circumstances.

The University intends to arrange information sessions with UniSuper and will provide details in due course.

Key timelines

Frequently asked questions

Is the Scheme open for applications?

You will receive communication when the Scheme is open for applications from your Faculty.

How can I apply?

Expressions of interest will be handled through an online application process and information will be provided when the Scheme is open for applications within your Faculty.

I am currently on extended leave or leave without pay. Will I be eligible to express an interest in the Early Retirement Scheme?

Yes, you are eligible to express an interest if you are currently on paid or unpaid leave.

I am on a fixed-term or casual contract, am I eligible to apply?

No, the scheme is restricted to Academic staff who hold continuing appointments.

I am aged over 65 – can I apply for early retirement under the VERS?

Although staff aged 65 years or older are not eligible to participate in the Scheme, the University is open to discussing options to support any plans to transition to retirement. Please contact Melissa Mesiti on vers@mq.edu.au or ext. 9734 or to understand your options.

I used to be employed full-time and now work part-time. What hours will be used for calculations?

The lump sum payment will be calculated based on your appointment fraction as at the date of termination of employment. Staff members will not be permitted to change their current employment fraction for the purpose of increasing any payment made under the Scheme.

Will my casual service prior to commencing in my continuing appointment count towards the calculations?

Calculation of the lump sum payment will be based on continuous service with the University. This includes paid service (including casual service), periods of approved leave and breaks in service of up to 3 months.

Is my continuous service affected by any periods of parental or other unpaid leave?

Calculation of the lump sum will consider your continuous service which includes periods of approved leave including periods of approved unpaid leave.

I am currently acting in another position on secondment or receive a higher duties allowance. How does that affect the value of my entitlements?

The lump sum payment will be calculated on your substantive classification and will not include your higher duties allowance or secondment, as this is a temporary allowance or arrangement and not part of your ongoing role.

I currently receive a salary loading, will this be included in the calculation of my payment?

No. Your lump sum payment is calculated on your substantive base salary only. Any payment for accrued Annual Leave or Long Service Leave will include your salary loading.

Am I able to withdraw my application for Early Retirement once it has been submitted?

Within the 4-week application period, a staff member may withdraw their expression of interest, however once the 4-week period has ended, a voluntary withdrawal from the Scheme will not be permitted.

If I submit an expression of interest, am I guaranteed an offer of early retirement under this scheme?

No. Expressing an interest in the Scheme does not guarantee that any staff member will be made a formal offer. There is no obligation on the University to make an offer of early retirement.

If I am offered an early retirement under the Scheme, when will my employment cease?

It is expected that the majority of staff who accept the offer to retire under the Scheme will end their employment approximately 4 weeks after accepting their offer. However, each individual actual date of retirement will be set by the University subject to the operational needs of your Faculty.

If I accept a formal offer of early retirement, can I be employed with Macquarie University again?

No. Staff members who accept an offer of early retirement will not be eligible for re-employment.

If I accept an offer of early retirement, will I be eligible to apply for an honorary appointment with the University?

Yes. If you accept a formal offer of early retirement, you may be eligible for appointment in an honorary capacity at a later time with the University. The offer of any honorary appointment will be made in accordance with the University’s Honorary, Visiting and Clinical Appointments Policy.

Further assistance and information

We recognise that making a final decision about early retirement may be challenging and encourage you to access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  EAP is a confidential counselling, coaching and wellbeing service free for all for Macquarie University staff and their immediate family members. To access our Employee Assistance Program, call Benestar on 1300 360 364.

Need more help?

For information about the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme, contact vers@mq.edu.au or Melissa Mesiti, Senior Employee Relations Consultant on ext. 9734.

For information relating to your Superannuation, Andrew Syarief, Macquarie University’s on-campus UniSuper consultant, is available to provide free superannuation information that is general in nature. Make an appointment to meet with Andrew online.

UniSuper also has super advisers who provide personal financial advice on a limited number of topics and private client advisers who can provide comprehensive tailored financial advice. These services are available for a fee. Please call 1800 823 842 (1800 U ADVICE) to make an appointment.

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