By the close of business today, 2,100 state workers will have opted to leave government employment and retire early. The governor says he’ll authorizing hiring over a thousand people to fill vacant positions that provide “essential services.”
Those 2,100 retiring workers account for about 10% of the workforce in the executive branch of state government. Governor Culver says the state will save about $88.6 million that would otherwise have been paid in salaries and benefits to those workers.
“We are going to exceed our goal in terms of cost savings related to the early retirement package and that’s because hundreds of additional people signed up,” Culver says.
The early retirement incentive program was announced this spring after legislators and the governor agreed on a package that included a bonus of up to $25,000 for each executive branch worker with at least a decade’s worth of service who retired early. The workers were paid $1,000 for each year they had worked in state government, up to that $25,000 limit. The retiring workers will also have state-paid health care coverage for up to five years.
The number of workers who agreed to retire early was double what officials had expected. Culver says the state will hire new workers to fill about 1,100 vacant positions. “I want to thank those dedicated public servants that have worked so hard for the state of Iowa on behalf of the people of Iowa that are retiring. I think it’s important that we thank and acknowledge their tremendous service to the state of Iowa,” Culver says. “At the same time, we’re now going to provide exciting opportunities to more than a thousand people who are looking for good-paying jobs.”
None of the 2,100 workers who have retired early may be rehired in state government.
Eligible employees who are at least 55 years old and who worked for the state for at least 10 years were eligible for $1,000 for each year of service, up to a $25,000 maximum paid in five equal yearly installments. The first of the five installment will be paid in September. They also will get paid for unused vacation time and up to five years of health insurance.
State officials say the data isn’t completely final, but it appears 113 of the 2,213 executive branch workers who had signalled this spring that they planned to retire changed their minds and will stay in their jobs. That means initial calculations put the number of early retirements at 2,100.