2009-10 Suspension of Employer-Matched Retirement Benefits

June 18, 2018

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As many of you know, Brandeis has over the past several months given serious consideration to whether and how it should address issues stemming from the university’s suspension of employer-matched retirement benefits during the period of July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 (FY10), a difficult decision driven by the economic impacts of the 2008 financial crisis.

The university both recognizes and greatly appreciates the sacrifices made by employees during the 12 months the employer match was suspended. Therefore, we have developed a plan to retroactively address, at least in part, the absence of the matching benefit. Brandeis is setting aside approximately $1 million for this purpose. This is a significant action on behalf of the Board of Trustees to recognize lingering faculty and staff concerns related to the suspension. While it does not fully erase the personal financial impact of the suspension, we hope you will find it to be a good-faith effort, given existing university financial constraints, to rebuild trust with faculty and staff.

Please note that the course of action outlined below applies only to Brandeis employees who were active in the university’s 403(b) Basic Retirement Savings Plan on June 30, 2009, or who would have become eligible to participate during FY10.

To any of these employees who are still on the Brandeis payroll as of June 30, 2018, the university will make a $1,000 contribution to their retirement savings plan.

In some cases, former employees — those who left the university in FY10 or later — may also be entitled to a prorated payment. The amount of the payment, which the university will distribute in the form of a check, is determined by the timing of the employee’s departure from the university. An employee who left in FY10 (the year the matching benefit was suspended) will receive $100. An employee who left in FY11 will receive $200. An employee who left in FY12 will receive $300. The $100 increments continue up to FY18: An employee who left the university during this period will receive $900.

Most former employees who left the university voluntarily, because of retirement or resignation, are eligible for the prorated payment. So are many of those who left the university involuntarily, because of a reorganization, perhaps, or performance issues. However, not all former employees are eligible for a payment. For example, excluded from the eligible pool are employees who left the university under a written agreement of any kind (regardless of whether their leaving was voluntary, such as during the early retirement program, or involuntary).

In July, the university will be sending letters to former employees who are eligible for a compensatory payment to let them know what the process for claiming it will be.

Current eligible employees will not have to do anything to claim their $1,000 contribution. It will simply be added to their retirement savings plan contribution on June 30, 2018.

If you have questions about any of this, please contact Kevin Pierson, director of benefits and wellness, or Marianne Pick, benefits manager.

Brandeis is fortunate to have dedicated employees who work tirelessly for the greater benefit of the university, even during lean times. This commitment does not go unnoticed. Thank you for everything you do to make Brandeis an institution of excellence and distinction.