Retirement Programs Procedure - 63.07.11
College Policy Number/Title:
Retirement Plan Options
Howard Community College full-and part-time budgeted employees are provided with membership in a retirement system at the time they commence employment with the college. Employees become members of either the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP). The ORP is available only to professional employees with baccalaureate degrees or higher who are in positions that require at least a baccalaureate degree; eligibility is determined by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). If employees do not elect a plan by the communicated deadline, they will automatically be placed into MSRPS. Once you elect either MSRPS or the ORP, it is an irrevocable step, unless you are later employed in another position at the college or at another MSRPS participating agency that does not offer the plan originally selected. All plans are described in pamphlets distributed at benefits orientation and available in the human resources office.
Supplemental Retirement Annuities (SRAs)
Employees may increase their retirement savings by enrolling in supplemental retirement annuities (SRAs) which are tax deferred annuity plans. Howard Community College offers several different plans from which employees can choose. Through a properly executed salary reduction agreement, available on the human resources portal page, employees divert part of their compensation before taxes to the purchase of the SRAs. Specific information about these plans is available in the human resources office.
Retirement Definition and Process
Employees initiate the retirement process through the human resources office. Employees should try to initiate this process at least six months prior to the planned retirement date if possible in order to avoid any delays in benefits.
Retirement is defined as separation from the college with either:
- The eligibility to draw retirement benefits under the MSRPS; eligibility criteria are defined in the MSRPS BENEFIT HANDBOOK; or
- The eligibility to draw benefits under the ORP after reaching age 59½.
- Annual leave accumulated will be paid as a lump sum, with appropriate notification, on the second scheduled pay date following the time of separation.
- Unused sick leave is not payable upon resignation or other termination of employment; employees have no vested ownership or entitlement to their accrued sick leave. Sick leave is also not payable upon retirement. However, for members of the MSRPS, unused sick leave may be creditable toward service time for retirement. In the optional retirement plan, sick leave carries no credit of any kind.
- Personal leave accumulations are voided at the time of resignation or retirement.
- See procedure 63.07.04, Extension of Group Health Benefits, for information on continuing group health benefits coverage for retirees and family members.
- Lifetime membership in the Alumni & Friends Association with benefits.
- Scholarship, for tuition only, to a Howard Community College course of the retiree’s choice during each year.
- Wellness classes and use of fitness center.
- Invitation to certain college events.
Also see procedure 63.04.15, Phased Retirement/Knowledge Transfer.
Effective Date: 05/11/18
President's Office Use: VPAF