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2020 Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)

As you are aware, state tax fund revenues have declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Utah State Legislature has been forced to reduce the budgets of state agencies and institutions, including Utah State University.  To respond in part to these challenges, the University is offering a limited, one-time only Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) to benefited employees. 

This summary table of VSIP options shows the eligibility requirements and incentives for each option.  While all benefited employees are encouraged to evaluate these VSIP options, participation in this temporary incentive program is not an entitlement, and decisions and approvals are at the discretion of the appropriate dean or vice president.  To be considered and approved for this program, voluntary separations must either financially support the University's budget reduction requirements or create strategic opportunities for the department.

Employees who are contemplating full, early, or phased retirement, or who are willing to voluntarily sever their employment relationship with the University, now have the opportunity to voluntarily apply for this incentive program under the following eligibility and terms: 

Eligibility

Employees eligible to apply: all salaried, benefit-eligible employees—faculty, administrators, exempt or non-exempt staff; particularly those employees contemplating full, early, or phased retirement, or who are willing to voluntarily sever their employment relationship with the University.

Employees not eligible to apply:

  • Non-faculty employees in the introductory period
  • Non-benefited (wage/hourly) employees in any capacity
  • At-will employees, as defined by USU Policy 390: Employment-at-Will  
  • Employees who have received notice of involuntary separation for misconduct or poor performance

Terms of the Program

  • The window of opportunity to apply for a VSIP option begins Thursday, July 9, 2020, and ends Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 5:00 PM. There will be no extension of this deadline, nor will USU accept late applications. To be considered for a VSIP option, eligible employees must submit a completed application within this period. 
  • Applications will be considered as submitted. Since departments may not be able to accommodate all VSIP requests due to funding availability or the potential impact on productivity, eligible employees are encouraged to apply as soon as they determine they would like to be considered for a VSIP option.
  • After this limited, one-time opportunity, access to early or phased retirement programs may be severely restricted. The future of existing early or phased retirement programs is uncertain once this window closes.
  • Applying for separation under this program is strictly a voluntary action on the part of an employee.
  • Those employees applying for voluntary separation under this program may select one of six options (see attached table).
  • Employees who are approved for this program will have the option for COBRA coverage upon termination of their institutional-provided medical benefits, if applicable.
  • Any conditions or terms specified under University policy regarding any termination benefits, such as annual leave balance, will be paid according to current institutional policy.
  • Applying employees who are subsequently approved to participate in this program will be required to sign a voluntary separation release agreement with the University. The agreement will address the legal and institutional requirements for the VSIP and will require the employee to release all claims against the University.  It will also address legal protections for the employee under such an agreement.
  • Approved participants will need to comply with any tax laws or legal requirements regarding withholding deductions. 

How to Apply for this Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)

All interested and eligible employees can apply by completing the VSIP Application FormApplications must be made no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 1, 2020. Any questions regarding this program should be directed to one of the following individuals in Human Resources:

Doug Bullock
AVP of Human Resources
(435) 797-1812
doug.bullock@usu.edu

Lisa Leishman
Assoc. Director of Benefits
(435) 797-5475
lisa.leishman@usu.edu

Angie Clayson
Benefits Supervisor
(453) 797-0110
angeline.clayson@usu.edu 

Additional Information

  • VSIP approval does not automatically disqualify an employee when applying for unemployment compensation—as is usually the case when an employee voluntarily leaves employment. Separating employees must still meet the eligibility requirements of Utah's unemployment compensation program in order to receive those benefits. We encourage applicants to direct their questions regarding unemployment compensation to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
  • In reviewing VSIP applications, the University will comply with federal and state law regarding discrimination based on protected classes and with University policies on equal employment opportunities.