School employees can get lump sum payoff
Published 12:00 am Monday, October 23, 2006
By KERI CHAMPION
RESERVE-Employees of St. John Parish Schools who have accrued vacation pay with a buyout amount of $10,000 or less will be eligible to receive their checks in a lump sum upon retirement from the system.
The board approved the motion as an amendment to retirement policy in a unanimous vote Thursday night.
School Board Member Matthew Ory proposed the vote for the new amendment to award the $10,000 lump sum payout to ensure that employees participating in the five year program who do not have a large amount of money due them will have needed income available upon retirement.
The current retirement policy states that an employee can accumulate 25 vacation days a year and that accrued vacation pay must be payed in staggered amounts over a five-year periods.
William Farlow, an employee about to retire approached the board to ask for his retirement in one lump sum and said, “I am only asking for the money due to me. You’ve gotta pay anyway. There are not a lot of people retiring at same time so if they retire before the buyout period just pay them the money.”
Farlow was one of the employees whose buyout money due was less than $10,000 and the amendment passed will allow him to receive all his money in one sum.
The buyout program affects 65 employees of the parish who have accumulated large amounts of vacation. 70%, or 45, of the employees have opted to have their funds dispersed to them over a five-year period after retirement.
“We wanted to ensure that we were not punishing those employees with unused vacation who would have to wait five years for small amounts of money when they really need it,” Ory said.
The cost to the school system for the buyout is $138, 130 annually at this time. Total liablility is $864,216.
“Previous retirement policy allowed employees to accumulate large amounts of vacation time that was costly to the system so we changed the policy. We originally adopted the five year policy to alleviate double payouts when replacing retiring employees, said Russ Wise.
“By adopting this amendment, our employees will be able to get the lump sum up to $10,000,” he said.