Michigan State to pay back retirement benefits cut during pandemic

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A sign at the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Michigan.

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University is planning to return retirement benefits that were cut during the COVID-19 pandemic to faculty and staff.

During an MSU University Council meeting Tuesday, Provost Teresa Woodruff read a statement from President Samuel Stanley Jr. announcing plans to return the benefits by midsummer.

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., speaks Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, during an interview on the back porch of the Cowles House on the campus of Michigan State University.

MSU cut its retirement contribution match in half for 18 months, from July 2020 to January 2022.

It’s unclear how many months’ worth of benefits will be returned to staff.

Support staff at MSU are also currently receiving reduced retirement benefits, which began in January. MSU is working to end those cuts as well, according to Emily Guerrant, a university spokesperson.

MSU is still working out the details of the payments, but plans to share more information in the near future, Guerrant said.

“I’m appreciative of the voices involved in these ongoing discussions,” Stanley wrote. “In particular, I want to note the active engagement with the (University Committee on Faculty Affairs) budget subcommittee (with whom Senior Associate Provost Thomas Jeitschko just met), At-Large members of the Faculty Senate, and the university community. Additional details are being finalized and will be forthcoming”

University officials originally estimated a $43 million budget shortfall when COVID-19 hit and a $63 million tuition loss. As a result, retirement contributions were halved and non-union faculty and academic staff saw their salaries cut by 1% to 7% between September 2020 and July 2021. For deans and executive managers, those cuts were between 2% and 10%.

Read more:

MSU staff want back pay for COVID-19 wage cuts

MSU announces raises following COVID-19 pay cuts. Faculty wants lost wages returned, too

MSU giving $1,500 bonuses to staff; faculty senate continues call for back pay

Salaries returned to pre-pandemic levels on July 1, 2021, but MSU’s faculty senate continues calling on the university to return those lost wages.

In December, MSU announced it was distributing $1,500 bonuses to faculty and staff totaling $27 million. In November, the university announced 2% raises for all non-union faculty and academic staff hired on or before June 30.

Contact Mark Johnson at (517) 377-1026 or majohnson2@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkJohnson.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Michigan State returning cut retirement benefits to faculty, staff