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Voluntary Early Separation Program (VESP) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the Voluntary Early Separation Plan (VESP)?

For an employee who voluntarily separates under the Pomona College VESP, Pomona College will make a one-time payment of 50% of one year’s salary based on the employee’s salary effective January 15, 2021, plus covering COBRA premiums for 6 months for the employee beginning February 1, 2021 through July 31, 2021. (Employees over the age of 65 are not eligible for COBRA, and will be paid a one-time lump sum of $3500 to pay for the supplemental insurance benefit.)

Who is eligible for VESP?

Pomona College regular benefits eligible staff, faculty, non-tenured, and non-tenure-track faculty are eligible, who have a combined total of age and years of service with Pomona equal to 70 years on the separation date. For the purposes of this Voluntary Early Separation Program continuous service is defined as current employment at Pomona College and have combined continuous service with Pomona College, another Claremont college and/or The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS). The employee must have worked for the College for a minimum of one year to be eligible.

Faculty in a phased retirement plan are eligible for this arrangement.

When will my employment end with the College?

Eligible employees will receive a package, including a voluntary early separation agreement. These will be distributed to eligible employees on November 1, 2020.

Employees who wish to receive the incentive payments must submit a signed agreement to Human Resources by close of business on December 15, 2020 no later than 4:30 p.m.

Voluntary separation must be effective no later than January 15, 2021 (with the last day of employment being January 15, 2021).

When will I receive payment if I choose to separate from the College under the VESP?

Employees will be paid out in one lump sum. The payment will be made no later than January 15, 2021.

How was the annual salary payment for the VESP calculated? What if I think it is incorrect?

The annual salary payment in the VESP agreement was calculated based on the annual salary budgeted for the position.

For Exempt employees, it is the monthly salary times 12, then factored by the FTE (whether at 100%, 85%, 75%, etc.).

For Non-exempt employees, it is the hourly rate times the annual number of hours your position is budgeted. For example, a full-time employee who works 40 hours per week, the hourly rate is taken times 2080 hours. For any other non-exempt employee, the FTE is factored into that equation using the FTE rate of less than 100%, i.e. 83%, 75%, and so on.

If you feel the calculation is in error, please contact Brenda Rushforth immediately to go over the calculation for the annualized salary amount in your agreement.

I have worked for The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS) for 8 years, but I have only been at Pomona College for 3 years. I am over age 59. Am I eligible for the VESP?

Yes. If your age and continuous employment with Pomona College and another Claremont college or The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS) is a combined total of 70 or more years, you are eligible.

I worked for Pomona, then had a break in service and came back to work at the College, will my prior years of work at Pomona qualify me for the VESP?

No, only your current continuous years of service at Pomona, TCCS, or the other Claremont Colleges without a break in service will qualify you for the plan.

If I retire under the VESP, will I be able to return to work with Pomona College in the future?

An employee who receives this incentive payment is not eligible return to service at Pomona College within 1 year of the date of separation either as an employee, as an independent contractor, consultant, teaching in any capacity, or advising students or programs. However, after 1 year, employees who left the College under this program may be eligible for re-employment at Pomona College. If an employee returns to the College, that employee will not be eligible for future early separation programs, if any are offered during their employment.

Exceptions to this policy will require approval in writing in advance by the President of the College and may require re-payment of the separation payment.

If I retire under the VESP, can I work anywhere else?

You will be free to work anywhere else if you choose, and without affecting any payment under the VESP.

Will I be eligible for unemployment compensation if I retire under the VESP?

No. Your status with Pomona College will be as a voluntary separation which makes you ineligible for unemployment compensation.

Am I required to draw from my retirement plan to be eligible for the VESP?

No. The payment does not require you to use any retirement plan funds until you choose or are required to under the terms of any applicable plan.

How are the retirement plans coordinated with the frozen Staff Retirement Plan, the Academic Retirement Plan, the Tax Deferred Annuity, and Social Security?

Since each person has an individual profile that is unique to that person, it is important to not give general information and to guide you to contact the TCCS Retirement and Benefits Office who will discuss with you your individual retirement needs and to assist you in filing for retirement benefits under each of the plans that you are eligible for. To contact the TCCS Retirement Office, please call for an appointment at extension 77641. or by email at benreps@claremont.edu

If I want to accept the VESP, what are my next steps?

Agreements for the VESP will be available beginning November 1, 2021. If you are within the group of employees that is eligible for this program, you will receive an agreement on that date. To request an agreement, or if you did not receive an agreement and believe you are eligible, please contact Brenda Rushforth at extension 71686 or email brenda.rushforth@pomona.edu

If I don’t want to leave the College at this time, what are my next steps?

Technically, you are not required to do anything. However, you have until the final day of eligibility at close of business of the HR office (4:30 p.m.) to turn in the signed VESP agreement.

Can I leave the College earlier than January 15, 2021?

No. It is anticipated that those who choose to leave the College under this program will work through the end of the day on January 15, 2021. You may choose to leave earlier, but you will not be eligible for this VESP program.

If my normal work year ends prior to January 15, 2021, will I work until January 15, 2021?

Yes, it would be the intent of the College to have you work until January 15, 2021 to finalize your work and update your supervisor and co-workers on your work prior to your departure and transition your workload.

If I sign a separation agreement, can I change my mind later?

Once you have signed the separation agreement, you have 7 days to revoke the agreement in writing. Otherwise, the agreement is a binding contract between you and the College.

If I have a home loan through Pomona, how will my separation from the College affect it?

The provisions of the home loan document will govern how the loan is to be repaid. If you have a home loan through Pomona, please contact Dana Wood at extension 18206 or email her at dana.wood@pomona.edu for additional information, if you feel you qualify.

If I have a student in college, will my separation end my tuition benefit?

Yes, that benefit would end on January 15, 2021.

Will I be compensated for left-over vacation, personal, or sick time?

Per Pomona policy, all accrued but unused vacation and personal time will be paid out to eligible staff on the final check on January 15 ,2021. Sick time balances are not paid out.

May I choose the option to have monthly payments and not a lump sum?

No. All participants in the VESP will receive a lump payment on January 15, 2021.

Could I change my tax withholdings prior to the final lump sum payment?

Yes, you may make those changes to state or federal withholding by logging into Workday and submitting the change. If you have questions on how to do this, please contact Lawrence Youhanna in Payroll at extension 73408 or by email at Lawrence.Youhanna@pomona.edu Deadline to submit changes to your withholdings is no later than close of business on Monday, January 4, 2021.

May I stay on the College’s health insurance and not elect COBRA coverage?

No. Your options are to elect COBRA insurance through the TCCS health insurance plans if you qualify, or obtain your own health insurance, and/or enroll in Medicare. To learn about your retiree insurance options, please contact Alicia Silva in the TCCS Benefits Office at extension 77353 or by email at alicia.silva@claremont.edu

If my spouse or partner is still employed by one of the Claremont Colleges or TCCS, could I be enrolled as their dependent on their insurance?

Yes, your retirement is a qualifying life event that entitles your eligibility to be enrolled in your spouse or partner’s plan, which in this case would be with the TCCS benefits plans sponsored by the Consortium.

Who should I contact to see if I am eligible for the VESP, and if I have more questions?

You may contact Brenda Rushforth in Human Resources with any questions at brenda.rushforth@pomona.edu or call extension 71686.