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WSU will offer early retirement

Faculty and administration employees of Washington State University will be offered incentive to retire early under a program approved by the board of regents Thursday amid state funding cuts.

To be eligible, employees must be 55 or older and have been members of the WSU retirement plan for at least 10 years. The university estimates it has about 600 eligible employees.

Under the plan, WSU will make a one-time $18,000 payment to a tax-exempt medical-expense plan for an employee who voluntarily retires between March 1 and May 31.

“This is a proactive and comprehensive approach to a challenge that I think we all have to accept is going to result in some staff reductions at Washington State University,” Regent Michael Worthy said.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked state universities to plan for about a 12 percent budget cut in the coming biennium as the state copes with a $6 billion revenue shortfall.

WSU President Elson Floyd said he would ask the Legislature to let the university extend voluntary early retirement to civil service and administrative employees who are members of a state or federal retirement system. He said the incentive is just one means to address the cuts.

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