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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee employees with at least 20 years of continuous service are being offered up to $7,500 if they resign or retire before June 30.

UT President John W. Shumaker announced the Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan Wednesday in an email to employees at all university campuses and units. The program is part of UT’s effort to cut $38 million from next year’s budget.

“When I asked for cost savings suggestions in February, I was looking for creative ways to cushion the impact of upcoming budget reductions,” Shumaker said in the email. “One of your most frequent suggestions urged us to provide an ‘incentive’ that would encourage those who planned to separate from UT in the near term to do so now.

“While this is a proactive approach to achieving budget reductions, it nonetheless is sure to hasten the departure of some of our most knowledgeable and experienced faculty and staff whose loyalty and dedication to the university will be greatly missed.”

Employees who elect to participate in the plan will receive $5,000 plus the amount of their longevity pay for the 2004 fiscal year. After 36 months of service, employees receive an annual longevity check of $100 for each year of full-time state service up to a maximum of 25 years.

Approximately 2,500 UT employees across the state meet the qualifications for the plan, officials said.

The incentive program is open to full- and part-time faculty and staff. Employees must apply for the plan by June 6, and their last day of work will be June 30, 2003. UT may extend the date of separation for up to 60 days if an employee is required to maintain essential services.

The plan is self-financed, meaning the dollars to fund the plan must come from salary and benefits savings gained by keeping positions vacant. Shumaker’s email said over the long term, annual savings from not filling the positions could save UT $10 million or more annually.

Details of the program are available from campus human resources offices.

Click here for the VSIP plan or paste this link into your web browser’s address bar: