Phased Retirement

The Arizona Board of Regents Phased Retirement Program enables eligible Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) participants to reduce their workload and hours, remain employed for up to three years, and concurrently take distributions from their ORP retirement account(s). 

If you are eligible, your participation is:

  • voluntary
  • subject to negotiation with and approval by the applicable dean or vice president
  • established by a binding, written legal agreement

The dean or vice president retains the authority to balance college and division business continuity needs with requests for phased retirement. Consequently, the final decision is made jointly between the participant and the applicable dean or vice president.


To participate in the phased retirement period, you must:

  • be at least 62 years old
  • be fully vested in the ORP
  • enter into a written Phased Retirement Agreement with the University

The agreement must be finalized, approved, and accepted by the University and submitted to Human Resources before the beginning of the employee’s next contract period.  

Phased Retirement Program step-by-step Instructions
Phased Retirement Agreement 

Duration of the phased period

The maximum duration of your phased retirement period is three years. You may request a period less than three years.

Once the phased retirement period has begun, you may choose to accelerate retirement, but may not extend retirement past the date in your written agreement. Any plans for accelerated retirement will be shared as early as possible with the applicable dean or vice president to accommodate college or division business continuity needs. This allows for unforeseen circumstances, such as a participant's illness, that may prevent a participant from fulfilling the negotiated phased retirement period.

Reduced workload and hours

Your salary and workload will be reduced at the beginning of the phased retirement period. The specific amount of reduction is subject to negotiation between you and the applicable dean/vice president.

Unless otherwise requested by you in writing, your employment status will be no less than 20 hours per week, allowing you to retain university and Arizona Department of Administration benefits eligibility.

Tenured faculty and individuals with continuing status

A tenured faculty member or professional with continuing status irrevocably relinquishes all status rights at the end of the phased retirement period.

Year-to-year professionals

Year-to-year professionals continue to be subject to annual employment contract renewals during the phased retirement period. Participation in phased retirement by non-tenured/non-continuing personnel does not create a guarantee or implied agreement of continuous employment during the phased retirement period.

Access to ORP accounts during the phased retirement period

Participants may take distributions from vested ORP account(s) as desired during the phased retirement period.

Contributions to ORP accounts during the phased retirement period

Both employee and employer contributions to the ORP continue through the participant's retirement date in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes 15-1628C and the Arizona Board of Regents ORP policy.