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Division of Human Resources

FAQ for Cost Savings Programs

Retirement Incentive Programs (RIP), Voluntary Separation programs (VSP) and Reduction in Force (RIF) are all cost savings programs designed to assist departments in managing costs and tailoring the workforce to better meet current and future needs.

General Information 

Both the Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP) and the Retirement Incentive Program (RIP) are strictly voluntary. Please ensure these are presented as a voluntary options to employees and nobody is pressured into participating. The message should be that this is a “win-win” situation, as employees can receive a financial incentive to voluntarily leave, while the department can realize cost savings through voluntary attrition.

This is a personal decision for each person. For example, If I am eligible for retirement and I am given incentive money for leaving today, I may be convinced to retire earlier than originally planned.

Yes. If a department is offering both programs, it would be the employee’s option to choose whichever program best fits their situation. An employee can only participate in one program, but not both. Typically, however, a department will offer either a VSP or RIP, but not both at the same time. The employee will need to make their decision based on what has been approved and is offered by their department.

Yes, BOT approval is required for VSP and RIP due to the cost of the programs. Reduction in Force (RIF) is not required to go in front of BOT for approval. VSP and RIP must receive final approval from the Division of State Human Resources prior to being announced and implemented by a department.

Central HR would need to discuss with State HR if there are employees that are not eligible, as there may be exceptions due to COVID-19.

 
Payments 

Yes, payment is made in lump sum. Also, when the employee separates, they will be paid out any accrued annual leave and taxes will be taken appropriately.

It will be more than the amount paid out, not the exact equivalent. For example, if an employee receives a $50,000 incentive payout, then the department must demonstrate the ability to save at least that amount within two fiscal years.

 
State Service Time

Qualified time is service credit purchased if you have worked in the public sector or State service while not under the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS). For example: the State Optional Retirement Program (ORP) does not earn service time, so if an employee had 3 years in ORP, but transferred to SCRS, they can purchase back the time with the State while they were under ORP. You could also purchase qualified service credit for military services, time as a teacher from other states, or other public service. Non-qualified time is not tied to any prior service and is more expensive to purchase because it is not based on public service. The PEBA Member Access website has a SCRS Service Purchase Cost Estimate calculator to show the estimated cost to purchase different types of service credit.

No. Temporary, research grant, and time-limited employment does not count towards continuous state service. Only the time in an FTE position, without a break in service, makes up the continuous state service.

No, it is whatever the approved plan allows. For example, if a Class Two member already has 27 years of service credit, and the PEBA calculator estimates they can purchase 3 additional years, then they could purchase the full 3 years. Additionally, if an employee had 29 years of service, they could still purchase additional years if applicable. Whatever the rate/amount that is offered in the plan is what would be applied.

When purchasing service credit, if the employee’s salary is $50,000, and we are purchasing qualified or non-qualified time, the calculator on PEBA Member Access website will calculate the amount of the time equivalent to $50,000. Calculations are partially based on an employee’s age, so the estimated cost will be different for every employee.


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