Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ask CJ: is it possible to ask to move the start date sooner?

From the inbox, a technical question about offer acceptances and pension plans (redacted for privacy, edited for clarity):
I am looking at an academic job, and currently at a tenure track position with a pension plan. I know these are becoming harder and harder to get.  Without getting into the details too much, for a new position I am looking at, the state is going to switch to a hybrid plan soon [in late June].  
If the academic start date in the positing is for August, would there be any way to possible to push the official start date to [early June] (maybe teach a summer course or do whatever).  This start date would literally be worth 500,000 to 750,000 to me over the course of my retirement.  Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.  I was thinking that a dean would have the power and authority to make this happen potentially, I really want to see what the forum thinks about this.
 Seems like a reasonable thing to ask, once the offer is made. Readers, what do you think? 

4 comments:

  1. No problem to ask, but there is a very good chance that the early months would be treated in such a way that would prevent the new employee from sliding into the pension plan. Sometimes such an appointment (to teach a summer course) would ultimately be handled as a temporary appointment for the early months that would convert to one with full benefits at a later date.

    It sounds as if much of the terms of employment have been negotiated already, but you certainly should receive a higher starting salary than was offered to starting faculty in the past if your retirement benefits are going to be devalued over your entire career.

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  2. If you never ask, the answer is always, "No."

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  3. It is very likely that granting the pension money will be no skin off the decision maker's nose, so go ahead and ask. The pension may be the university's money and not the department's, and will be paid out in the distant future either way.

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  4. Seems like something that would be easier to negotiate at a private school vs. a state school, but even there, it might be feasible. (IIRC, cops often get imputed years of service for pension purposes if they switch agencies; if you can document this, it gives you a counterargument for a dean's "we can't do that.")

    Also, this seems like something that should be spelled out in the offer letter in order to avoid any later "confusion."

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