PURPOSE: To define the requirements for participation in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
Trident Technical College (TTC) employees who meet eligibility requirements may participate in the State’s Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program. The TERI program is designed for employees who wish to access their contributions from the South Carolina (SC) Retirement System, but desire to continue employment with the agency and retain the same position they held prior to entering the program. Participation in the TERI Program is for a period not to exceed five years; however, a TERI program participant is not guaranteed employment for the specified program period. Effective July 1, 2012, the TERI Program is not available to new hires. New enrollees in the program after June 30, 2012, must end their participation within five (5) years or by June 30, 2018, whichever is earlier. An employee may only participate in the TERI program once.
To be eligible to participate in the TERI Program, employees must be active, contributing Class Two members under the SC Retirement System who are eligible for service retirement. Participation in the TERI Program is voluntary. To participate, employees must retire for purposes of the SC Retirement System and employees’ normal retirement benefits are calculated on the basis of the employees’ average final compensation and service credit at the time employees enter the TERI Program.
Employees who wish to participate in the TERI Program must complete a State Retirement Application either with TTC’s Human Resources Office or the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA).
Annual/faculty leave is not paid out upon entering TERI. Instead, the annual/faculty leave will be carried over, and up to forty-five (45) days of annual/ faculty leave will be paid out upon completion of the TERI program. Up to 90 days of unused sick leave may be applied to a state employee’s service credit upon retirement and entering the TERI program. The employee’s sick leave balances will be reduced by the amount of sick leave used to calculate the employee’s retirement benefit.
Participants in the TERI program will be eligible to earn and use annual/faculty leave and sick leave if they are in positions that are eligible for leave benefits. TERI program participants who are eligible for leave benefits will earn annual/faculty leave at the rate consistent with the employees’ years of state service for leave accrual purposes. State service while participating in the TERI program will constitute state service for bonus leave accrual purposes only.
Upon termination of employment, a TERI program participant who has earned annual/faculty leave will be eligible to be paid for up to 45 days of unused annual/faculty leave and all unused sick leave will be forfeited. In accordance with State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education (SBTCE) Policy and Procedure 8-3-106 and 8-3-106.1 (Employee Leave Transfer Program) respectively, excess leave may be donated.
III. EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS AND BENEFITS
Employees who enter the TERI program gain no new employment rights and are subject to the employment policies and procedures associated with whatever position(s) they occupy during the program period, to include those policies and procedures related to salary and benefits. TERI program participants have no grievance rights or reduction in force rights.
If a TERI employee separates due to a reduction in force and begins receiving retirement benefits, the employee’s participation in the TERI program ends.
Participants in the TERI program are eligible for active state employee insurance benefits and group life insurance benefits; however, they are not eligible for disability retirement benefits. Additionally, TERI program participants will continue to make contributions to the SC Retirement System.
IV. MOVEMENT FROM ONE POSITION TO ANOTHER
In accordance with Division of State Human Resources guidelines, if a TERI program participant is selected to fill another position either in the same agency or with another agency, the employee may continue in the TERI program so long as the employee does not experience a break in service of fifteen (15) calendar days or more.
V. ENDING TERI PROGRAM PARTICIPATION
The SC Retirement System requires a TERI program participant to separate from employment (terminate) for a minimum of one regularly scheduled workday at the end of the participant’s pre-selected TERI program period. Upon separation, the following will occur:
- Employee will experience a break in service and will not retain a full-time position.
- Employee forfeits all unused sick leave;
- Employee shall be paid out for up to 45 days of unused annual/faculty leave. This payout will be calculated based on the employee’s final rate of pay. The annual leave payment will be used in recalculating the average final compensation of the member to determine the benefit the member receives after participation in the program.
VI. VACANCY REVIEW
When the employee ends the TERI program, the employee’s former position is reviewed and revised as necessary. If it is determined that the vacancy is to be filled, the position will be posted and advertised consistent with the college’s local hiring policies and procedures.
Trident Technical College is not required to rehire an employee whose TERI program period has ended. TTC may rehire a previous TERI employee but only to fill temporary positions. The employee requesting to be rehired must fill out the Application to Return When TERI Ends form in order to gain approval. The re-hired TERI participant shall be eligible for any benefits available to the new temporary position. The President may approve exceptions to this procedure in extenuating circumstances. Decisions to re-hire a previous TERI program participant will be made in a non-discriminatory manner.
If the previous TERI program participant is approved for rehire, and is selected to fill a temporary vacancy, the employee will be subject to the same policies and procedures governing temporary employees.
In addition, the following will apply:
- The temporary employee will be considered a new hire and subject to human resources regulations regarding initial employment;
- The temporary employee will be exempt from the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act and therefore will not retain grievance or reduction-in-force rights;
- The temporary employee will not be subjected to earnings limitation if the employee entered TERI before January 2, 2013;
- For TERI retirements on or after January 2, 2013, a TERI retiree may return to work after being retired for 30 days and receive a benefit subject to a $10,000 earnings limitation; however, the $10,000 limitation does not apply if the TERI retiree was at least 62 years of age at retirement;
- The temporary employee will be required to pay the employee contribution to the S.C. Retirement System;
- Previous TERI employees rehired in faculty positions will be rehired as adjunct faculty in accordance with TTC Procedure 8-4-2, “Employment of Temporary Faculty”; however, additional non-teaching duties and work hours may be assigned as approved by the President. Previous TERI employees rehired in staff positions will be rehired as temporary employees in accordance with TTC Procedure 8-4-3, Employment of Temporary Classified Employees.”; and
- The temporary employee will be eligible for health coverage benefits in accordance with the Public Employee Benefits Authority (PEBA) guidelines unless they work less than thirty (30) hours per week. Information regarding health insurance coverage is located in TTC Procedure 8-4-2, “Employment of Temporary Faculty” and TTC Procedure 8-4-3, “Employment of Temporary Classified Employees”.
If the previous TERI program participant is hired into a temporary position that is eligible for benefits, the employee may elect active employee coverage, in lieu of retiree coverage, within 31 days of the hire date provided the employee is less than 65 years of age.
A TERI program participant retires for purposes of the SC Retirement System when entering the TERI program, if the employee has been in the TERI program for at least 30 consecutive calendar days, the employee has met the waiting period requirement for being rehired pursuant to Section 9-1-1790 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.