Staff Employees' Pension Plan
The University’s Employees’ Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code in which staff may receive a specific monthly benefit upon retirement age, based on years of service and salary history. Through the years, the plan has been changed to reflect both the federal laws governing pension plans and the University’s needs and desires to attract and retain employees. In July 1997, the plan was changed so that employees were no longer required to assist in funding the plan. The University has funded the entire cost of the plan since July 1997.
To be considered eligible for participation in the Employees’ Pension Plan, you must be a non-exempt employee of the University and at least 21 years old. Additionally you must complete 12 months of service with the University in which you are credited with 1,000 hours of service. The 12 month period is first measured from your date of hire and thereafter for each plan year (July – June.) Upon earning eligibility, the plan participation entry date is either January 1st or July 1st.
Vesting is used to determine when you are fully entitled to plan benefits. It is counted in full years of service from your first day of work to the date you retire or leave the University. To receive benefits from the plan, you must be 100% vested. To become 100% vested, you must complete five years (60 months) of vesting service.
Your Pension Resources (YPR) Estimator Tool
Active Pension Plan participants have access to YPR, an interactive online tool the University of Notre Dame offers through our contract with Aon Hewitt. With this web-based tool you can estimate your pension benefit on a future eligible retirement date to see how much you may receive at retirement. This is an important tool to help you with your retirement planning.
Retiring at Age 65
Plan benefits are determined according to a formula. When you retire at age 65 with at least five years of vesting service, your annual pension benefit will be calculated in the following way:
1.45% x Final Average Pay x Years of Credited Service = Annual Retirement Benefit
Final Average Pay: This is the average of your pay for the five consecutive highest paid calendar years out of your last 10 calendar years of plan participation.
Credited Service: Your pension benefit is based, in part, on the amount of credited service you have earned. It is counted in completed full years of service. You earn one year of credited service for each plan year in which you complete 1,000 or more hours of service after age 21.
Retiring Before Age 65
You can choose to retire and commence your pension benefit before your normal retirement age (65), if you are at least age 55 and have completed 15 years of credited service, or you are at least age 62 and have completed 10 years of credited service. You can choose to have your pension benefit payments begin any time after you become eligible for early retirement. However, if you want your benefits to start before age 65, your plan benefit is reduced. This reduction reflects the fact that plan payments are anticipated to be made over a longer period of time.
The University provides a disability retirement benefit to protect staff members from loss of income in the event they become permanently, continuously, and totally disabled. To be eligible, the staff member must be a participant in the Employees’ Pension Plan, have at least 5 years of vested service, have become disabled while an active employee of the University and have been determined to be totally and permanently disabled by the Plan Administrator. A disability approval by either the University’s Long Term Disability Insurance or the Social Security Administration is generally considered approval for a University disability retirement. The disability retirement benefit is determined by using the same formula as if the staff member had reached age 65 on the day the disability began.
For additional information, please contact:
200 Grace Hall