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Correction appended.

The University unveiled a new early retirement program for eligible staff members Wednesday as part of its larger effort to cut costs.

Workers who qualify for the program would receive a lump-sum payment equal to a year's base pay as well as $15,000 to aid their transition into retirement, according to an e-mail sent to the entire staff yesterday morning by Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration.

To be eligible, workers must be over 60 years of age, have worked at Brown for at least 10 years and currently work at least half-time — requirements that approximately 250 of the 3,000 staff members fulfill, Huidekoper said.

The retirement incentive plan comes as the University is  "trying to absolutely minimize the number of terminations," Huidekoper said. The Organizational Review Committee is identifying areas that could be rendered more efficient as Brown attempts to slash $30 million from its budget, she added.

This retirement program will help by "reducing compensation costs and creating additional vacancies to be used in the redesign of our administrative structures," which the ORC will execute, Huidekoper wrote in the e-mail to the staff.

In addition to the payments, early retirees will be able to keep Brown's health insurance plan until they are 65. Former employees would pay the full premium, except for $83 per month contributed by the University, according to Huidekoper.

"We're really hoping this is perceived as positive and supportive for the community," Huidekoper said.

Many eligible staff members declined to speak with The Herald, though they expressed strong interest in the package, which was frequently described as "generous."

But Fred Yattaw, 60-year-old manager of the University Mail Services, said that despite the proposal's appeal, his financial situation prevents him from retiring early. "I like the thought of retiring early," said Yattaw, who has worked in Mail Services for 41 years. "But it wouldn't be the prudent thing to do, financially."

Eligible employees who do opt for early retirement must sign an agreement by Dec. 23 and choose to retire either Apr. 15 or June 30, according to Huidekoper. "It's really voluntary, totally up to the individuals," she said.

As of Wednesday, Huidekoper said she had only received a couple of e-mails from staff — but "I can assure you that people are talking about it," she added.

— With additional reporting by Brigitta Greene

A previous version of this article indicated that the University would pay all but $83 per month of the health-care premiums for employees who take the buyout offer. In fact, the employees would be responsible for the full premium, with $83 contributed by the University each month.


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