Promotions, Transfers and Retirement

This section of the toolkit provides information and transaction guidance for employee promotions, transfers, and retirement.

Processing Transitions

Columbia University's policy is to ensure opportunity for internal mobility consistent with the University's commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Promotions may result from an upward reclassification of an existing position or from an employee applying for, and becoming the successful applicant for, a new position posted either internally or on the Jobs @ Columbia website. Contact your Human Resources Client Manager or the CUMC HR Office with specific questions.

Reference the Managing Transfers, Internal Mobility and Re-Hires Policy for additional information.

Process

Obtain your Client Manager or CUMC HR approval either on the reclassification of the position or the selection of the employee as the Selectee for a posted position.

  1. Generate an Active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of the People @ Columbia system. For information on how to print PAFs, access the MSS guide
     
  2. Enter the Action / Reason codes and effective date at the top of the PAF (see the chart below)
     
  3. In the appropriate sections of the PAF, draw/type a single line through information that needs to be changed and print/type the new information in the updated fields. Verify that the form is complete, sign it, attach the appropriate documentation and route it to the appropriate office for approval, along with the required supporting paperwork for the transaction

Reference the Completing a PAF job aid for information on field entry.

Action/Reason Codes

Enter these on the top of the PAF form to indicate the purpose for the submission.

Columbia University’s policy is to ensure opportunity for internal mobility consistent with the University’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. A Transfer is used when an individual has resigned from one department and has accepted a position in another department in the University, with no break in service.

Reference the Managing Transfers, Internal Mobility and Re-Hires Policy for additional information for Administrative employees.  For academic personnel, contact the Provost’s Office (Morningside campus) or the Office of Faculty Affairs (CUMC) for guidance when academic personnel are transferring between departments.

Process

Obtain your Client Manager or CUMC HR approval either on the reclassification of the position or the selection of the employee as the Selectee for a posted position.

  1. Generate an Active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of the People @ Columbia system. For information on how to print PAFs, access the MSS guide
     
  2. Enter the Action / Reason codes and effective date at the top of the PAF (see the chart below)
     
  3. In the appropriate sections of the PAF, draw/type a single line through information that needs to be changed and print/type the new information in the updated fields. Verify that the form is complete, sign it, attach the appropriate documentation and route it to the appropriate office for approval, along with the required supporting paperwork for the transaction.

Key Points for Transfers:

  • The department that the employee is transferring from prints an Active PAF for the employee and forwards it to the departmental approver for sign-off, along with the employee's resignation letter and a Balance Memo detailing the employee’s vacation, sick, and personal-day balances.  This is known as a “Transfer PAF”
  • The final approver for the department that the employee is transferring from sends the PAF and the Balance Memo to the department that the employee is transferring to
  • The department that the employee is transferring to updates the information on the Transfer PAF to be in accord with the employee’s new position, signs the form, attaches the appropriate documentation and sends it to the departmental approver for sign off
  • The approver for the department that the employee is transferring to sends the Transfer PAF (and the attached Balance Memo) to the PAF final approver, who will send it to the HRPC

Reference the Completing a PAF job aid for information on field entry.

Action / Reason Codes

Enter these on the top of the PAF form to indicate the purpose for the submission.

For Internal Applicants

Hiring managers should follow Columbia’s Managing Transfers, Internal Mobility and Re-Hires Policy. Schools and departments may contact their HR Client Manager for assistance.  

In general, to be eligible for Officer Retiree Medical Benefits, an employee must be age 55 or older and have completed 10 years or more of full-time benefits eligible service with the University after the age of 45.

To be eligible for Support Staff Retiree Medical Benefits, an employee must be age 55 or older and have completed 10 years or more of continuous benefits eligible service with the University after the age of 45.

Please check with the Benefits Department if you have specific questions regarding the benefits policy. Support Staff employees in bargaining units, should consult the appropriate collective bargaining agreement for more information on the benefits to which they are entitled.

Faculty are ordinarily expected to retire at the end of a term of instruction in order to avoid disrupting the curricular programs of their department and school, unless illness prevents them from performing their normal teaching. Retirement during a term of instruction requires the special permission of the Provost. For more information please refer to the Faculty Handbook, Chapter 3.

Process

  1. Generate an Active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of the People @ Columbia system. For information on how to print PAFs, access the MSS Guide
     
  2. Enter the Action / Reason codes and effective date at the top of the PAF (see the chart below)
     
  3. In the appropriate sections of the PAF, draw / type a single line through information that needs to be changed and print / type the new information in the updated fields. Verify that the form is complete, sign it, attach the appropriate documentation and route it to the appropriate office for approval, along with the required supporting paperwork for the transaction

Additional Documentation: The first step an employee needs to take in order to retire is to submit a letter to their Department Head stating the date they intend to retire.  Once the employee has submitted that letter of intent, please refer the employee to the Benefits Service Center at 212-851-7000, to speak with a Benefits Specialist regarding their benefits.

Note that once an employee is retired, they will no longer appear on the current View Employee Listing in MSS.  If you need to retrieve information for the retiree, generate the View Employee List using a date when they were active.  Reference the MSS Guide for additional information.   

Reference the Completing a PAF job aid for information on field entry.

Action / Reason Codes

What is Phased Retirement?

Officers of Administration who are age 55 or over, have completed 10 years of service with the University, and are now contemplating retirement can now explore the possibility of a "phased retirement," in which they gradually decrease their workload instead of going immediately into full retirement. During this period, the Officer retains his or her full-time status. Salary and any salary-dependent benefits are prorated to reflect the decreased workload. The Officer can supplement any decrease in pay with pension or annuity money, which can be withdrawn without incurring a tax penalty. This period ends with the Officer's full-retirement date, which is established at the outset in the officer's Phased Retirement Agreement. 

Considerations

Phased retirements can benefit departments as well as Officers. It may give a department time to hire and train a replacement—or to restructure positions within the department—with the benefit of the retiring officer's continuing input. On the other hand, a department is under no obligation to grant a phased retirement that's unworkable from its standpoint.

For the arrangement to work, detailed decisions must be made in advance. Will the department still be able to meet its needs given the officer's reduced schedule? If the department plans to hire a part-time employee to supplement the work done by the retiring officer, can this be worked out both in terms of budget and work space? If a phased retirement proves to be unworkable from the department's standpoint, it is no longer an option. Accommodating the needs of both the officer and the department requires adequate planning. 

Agreement Checklist

A phased retirement goes into effect according to the terms of written Phased Retirement Agreement, agreed to by the Officer and the department and approved by the Vice President for Human Resources. The Agreement must address the following issues:

  • The effective date of the agreement must be included.
  • The decrease in workload and salary. Agreements typically specify work commitments of one-half, two-thirds, or three-fifths of a full-time schedule (or the equivalent of days per week), although other arrangements may be negotiated.
  • The Officer's eligibility for future merit increases must be addressed in the agreement.
  • The Officer's full retirement date, generally no more than two years after the start of the agreement must also be included.
  • A confidentiality agreement. 
     

Impact of a Phased Retirement

  • The Officer's continued participation in full-time fringe benefits. Note that the Officer's medical salary tier, group life and long-term disability will follow the Officer's pre-phased retirement income. The Officer's University Retirement Plan and Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan benefits will reflect the Officer's actual salary during the phased period.
  • Vacation time is pro-rated to reflect the Officer's decreased work commitment.
  • The date at which the Officer can begin drawing on his or her retirement plan benefits must be included in the agreement. 

Procedures

Departments should contact a Retirement Benefits Specialist by calling 212-851-7000.

Any final agreement must be approved by the department's dean, chair, or vice president, as well as by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Once approved, a copy of the agreement should be submitted to Human Resources with the PAF to implement changes in salary and benefits. The department should place the Officer on a partial leave of absence in accordance with the terms of the agreement. 

Full Retirement

As with full-time Officers, a standard retirement letter should be submitted to Human Resources three months before the Officer's full retirement date so that the appropriate benefits can be activated.