Pension Plan

Last Updated 12/18
Applies to Staff
Related Policies:

The UND Employees’ Pension Plan was closed to new entrants effective December 31, 2017. Active Pension Plan participants who elected, as part of the Retirement Plan Choice offering, to remain in the Pension Plan continue to earn credited service. This policy pertains only to those Pension Plan participants.

The Pension Plan for non-exempt staff is a defined benefit plan which guarantees that benefits will be paid to eligible plan participants when they reach retirement age. Prior to July 1, 1997, employees contributed to the plan. No employee contributions have been required since that time, and the University maintains sole responsibility for both funding the plan and bearing the investment risk.


  • Year of Credited Service – a plan year in which an accruing participant employee works 1,000 (July – June) or more hours
  • Normal Retirement – age 65 with at least five years of vesting service
  • Early Retirement – either age 55 with 15 years of credited service or age 62 with 10 years of credited service, whichever occurs first. Early retirement requires a reduction in the amount of retirement income because the benefit will be paid over an extended period of time.
  • Pay – W-2 earnings.
  • Vesting – participant’s right, usually earned over time, to receive some retirement benefits regardless of whether the individual remains with the employer. Participants are 100% vested after 5 years (60 months) of service.
  • Final Average Pay – average pay for the five consecutive highest paid years out of the last 10 calendar years of plan participation.


The Employees’ Pension Plan bases the retirement benefit on the participant’s “Final Average Pay.” As that average pay increases, so does the benefit applied to all their years of service. The retirement benefit formula is:

1.45% X Final Average Pay X Years of Credited Service = Annual Retirement Benefit

Payment Options

A participant can receive retirement benefits from the Employees’ Pension Plan through a number of payment options: Single Life Annuity, Joint and Survivor Annuity, and a Life and Ten Years Certain Annuity.

Life Annuity – pays benefits for employee’s life only

Joint and Survivor Annuity – pays reduced benefits for the lifetime of the employee and upon the employee’s death either 100%, 75%, or 50% of the reduced benefit for the lifetime of their beneficiary based on option selected at retirement.

Life and Ten Years (120 months) Certain Annuity – pays a reduced benefit for the lifetime of the employee, and if the employee dies before receiving 120 monthly payments, continues the reduced benefit to the beneficiary for the remainder of the 120 month guaranteed period.

Your Pension Resources (YPR) Estimator Tool

Active Pension Plan participants have access to YPR ,a web-based tool to estimate a pension benefit on a future eligible retirement date.

Disability Retirement (Employees’ Pension Plan)

An employee is eligible for a disability retirement under the Employee’s Pension Plan if they have at least five years of vested service as of the date of their termination of employment with the University due to disability, and are determined to be totally and permanently disabled.

Death Benefits for Employees’ Pension Plan

Under the Employees’ Pension Plan, if an employee dies while actively employed, any pre-1997 employee’s contributions to the plan may be refunded to the employee’s designated beneficiary, or a survivor benefit may be paid. Certain factors such as the employee’s marital status, age and years of vesting service will determine the payment of the death benefit.

Staff who made contributions to the plan before July 1, 1997 may change their beneficiary designation by contacting the Office of Human Resources. Those who began participation after July 1, 1997 and are married must designate their spouse as their beneficiary.

The Plan Document and Summary Plan Descriptions are available for review at the Office of Human Resources, 200 Grace Hall.


Staff should contact the Office of Human Resources three months before their anticipated retirement to obtain information about their retirement benefit, to discuss retirement benefit options, and to select the preferred payment method option. Final benefits will be determined at the time of retirement.

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