Early Retirement Incentive update
Initial deadlines set by Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) for the Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) program are fast approaching.
MAPE members worked with MMB in late 2020 to finalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on an Early Retirement Incentive that would serve as a cost-saving tool for agencies operating in deficits to use to avoid layoffs. The ERI was an idea brought forward by members at the beginning of the pandemic as the state faced a volatile budget. MAPE members, leaders and staff advocated for this tool to be made available to agencies, and thanks to their persistence, the benefit is now available to state agencies.
The ERI must be passed by the Legislature this year. While legislation is being drafted, agencies may offer ERI because it was not rejected by the Subcommittee on Employee Relations, a legislative committee that reviews state employee benefits, etc.
With few agencies having chosen to offer ERI to eligible employees so far, MAPE will continue to push agencies to utilize ERI before making any non-voluntary staff reductions. We expect agencies to deploy every voluntary tool before resorting to any layoffs.
There is a sense that the slightly better budget forecast in November 2020 has put us on track to no layoffs, but if 2020 taught us that things are very unpredictable with COVID, so together we will continue to advocate for the ERI as a cost-saving measure.
If you are interested in the ERI, but have yet to hear from your agency, please follow up with your HR.