Phased Retirement

Ease into retirement with a phased approach that allows you to reduce your work hours for a specified time period before you retire from Emory.


Emory's phased retirement program is for university staff members only (faculty members interested in a phased retirement approach should contact their Dean's office).

In order to participate, you must:

  • Be at least 60 years old
  • Have 10 or more years of service to the university*
  • Be in a benefits-eligible position
  • Have a history of acceptable work performance

* Note: In order to retire with benefits from Emory University, the sum of your age and your years of service must equal 75 or more.

How it Works

  • Your phased retirement must be for a specific, limited timeframe that is for at least six months but not more than three years in length (see Thresholds below).
  • During the timeframe, you will reduce your work hours by anywhere from 10% to 50% but you must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • If you participate, you agree to retire at the end of the specified timeframe.
  • Your pay will be reduced accordingly during the phased retirement period.
  • The arrangement must be mutually agreed upon by both you and your manager/department.
  • Written approval (a letter signed by your manager) with an attached job description is required. Download Sample Letter

Not all jobs are suitable for a phased retirement and it is up to your manager/department whether or not to permit this type of arrangement. If you are interested in a phased retirement, you should discuss it with your manager.

This approach should be thoughtfully developed before beginning the phased retirement transition.


Length of Phased Retirement Arrangement

  • Minimum of 6 months
  • Maximum 3 years

Percent of Time Reduction

  • Minimum of 10%
  • Maximum 50% but not less than half time

Other Requirements

  • Your participation in the program must meet the needs of the department, school or unit.
  • The actual percentage of time reduction and length of the arrangement must fall within Emory's established thresholds and is at the discretion of the department, school or unit
  • Participation in the phased retirement is not a guarantee of employment. If a layoff, reduction in force or reduction in hours is necessary, the employee will be subject to the same criteria as all other employees.
  • You are expected to adhere to all department and university policies regarding attendance and performance and will be subject to the same disciplinary processes as all other employees.
  • You have the option to accelerate your retirement date
  • The final retirement date may only be extended if there is a compelling business reason or some other extenuating circumstances in the work unit (unfinished project, staff shortage, etc.). The extension must have a set end date and requires approval by management.

Impact on Pay and Benefits

If you choose to participate in a phased retirement, you need to be aware of how it will impact your pay and benefits:

  • Your salary will be based on revised job responsibilities, if applicable, and adjustment of work hours
  • Merit increases will be based on your new, phased retirement salary.
  • You may be able to use vacation leave to offset the reduction in salary.

  • Your contribution amounts for health coverage (medical, dental, and vision) will be based on your employment status at the time you begin phased retirement. For example, if you are a full-time employee when you begin phased retirement, you will continue to pay full-time employee rates (not part-time rates) even though you are working reduced hours.
  • Benefits based on salary (life insurance, retirement contributions, long and short term disability benefits) will be based on your new, reduced salary.
  • Vacation, sick and floating holiday accruals will be based on your new, reduced work schedule. Your available leave balance going into the program will be available for use during your participation in the program.
  • Eligibility for the Courtesy Scholarship and Tuition Reimbursement will be based on your eligibility status prior to participation in phased retirement.
  • You will remain eligible for other voluntary benefits (Long Term Care, Flexible Spending Accounts and others).
  • If you have a workers’ compensation claim during a phased retirement, the benefit will be based on your new, reduced salary.
  • Social Security and Medicare employer contributions will be based on your new, phased retirement salary.

  • Eligibility to participate in the Emory University 457(b) and 403(b) plans will not be impacted by participation in the phased retirement program.
  • Employees may begin withdrawing employer contributions (in addition to their own contributions) from their 403(b) funds while participating in the program.

If you have a significant vacation leave balance, you may be able to offset the reduction in salary by using leave for a portion of the year. Discuss this option with your manager when considering phased retirement.