Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive Program (TERI) FAQs
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283

References

  • SC Code of Laws 9-1-2210


  • State HR Regulations Section 19-719.01 (B)(1)(b) and (B(6) Adobe Acrobat


  • Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program Guidelines

  • General Information

    Q: What is the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program?

    A: The TERI Program is designed for employees who retire from the South Carolina Retirement Systems, but want to continue employment with the agency and retain the same positions they held prior to entering the program. Participation in the TERI Program is generally for a period not to exceed five years, but it is not guaranteed employment for the specified program period.

    Q: Who is eligible to participate in the TERI Program?

    A: An active contributing member under the South Carolina Retirement Systems who is eligible for service retirement may participate in the TERI Program. Effective July 1, 2012 the program is not available to new hires. New enrollees in the program after June 30, 2012 must end their participation within five (5) years or by June 30, 2018, whichever is earlier

    Q: How does an employee participate in the TERI Program?

    A: Participation in the TERI Program is voluntary between the employee and the employer. The employee must retire for purposes of the South Carolina Retirement Systems, and the employee's normal retirement benefit is calculated on the basis of the employee's average final compensation and service credit at the time the employee enters the TERI program.

    Q: What benefits does a TERI participant receive from the TERI Program?

    A: A participant in the TERI Program retains the same status and employment rights he held upon entering the program, with the exception of grievance and reduction in force rights for employees who become TERI participants after June 6, 2005. The TERI employee will earn annual leave and sick leave at the rate consistent with his years of State service and be eligible for active State employee health insurance benefits and active employee group life insurance benefits; however, he is not eligible for disability retirement benefits.

    Sick Leave

    Q: Upon entry to the TERI Program, is an employee required to apply 90 days of unused sick leave towards his retirement service credit?

    A: An employee may apply up to 90 days of unused sick leave towards his retirement service credit. Should the employee wish to retain an amount of sick leave for use while in the TERI Program, the amount he applies to his retirement service credit will be deducted from his leave balance. The remainder of the employee's sick leave will be retained for use while in the TERI Program.
    Annual Leave

    Q: At what rate does a TERI participant earn annual leave?

    A: A TERI employee continues to earn annual leave at a rate consistent with his years of service according to the State Human Resources Regulations (Refer to Section 19-709.02).

    Q: Upon entry to the TERI Program, is an employee required to be paid out for all unused annual leave up to 45 days upon retirement?

    A: An employee beginning participation in the TERI program after June 30, 2005 will not receive payment for unused annual leave upon retirement and entering the TERI program. The employee will maintain his current annual leave balance.

    Q: When does a TERI participant receive payment for unused annual leave?

    A: After the employee terminates from state employment and ends participation in the TERI program, the employee will be eligible to receive payment for up to 45 days of unused annual leave.
    Q: What should be included when calculating the annual leave payout for an employee leaving the TERI Program?

    A: The annual leave payout should be calculated based on the employee's final rate of pay, including longevity, temporary salary adjustments, or any other compensation that the employee is receiving upon leaving the TERI Program.
    Break in Service

    Q: What constitutes a break in service for a TERI employee?

    A: A TERI employee may experience a break in service in the same manner as other State employees according to the State Human Resources Regulations. An employee does not experience a break in service when entering the TERI Program. In addition, a TERI employee will not experience a break in service when moving from an FTE position to a temporary, temporary grant, or time limited position within 15 calendar days since a TERI employee can continue employment with any employer participating in the SC Retirement Systems during the program period. (Refer to Section 19-719.01 B.)
    Compensatory Time

    Q: Must compensatory time be paid out upon entry to the TERI Program?

    A: An agency can pay a non-exempt employee for unused compensatory time at any time. However, since an employee entering the TERI Program retires for retirement system purposes only, an agency is not required to pay an employee for unused compensatory time upon entering the TERI Program.

    Grievance and Reduction-in-Force Rights

    Q: Does a TERI participant have grievance and reduction-in-force rights?

    A: Any employee who entered the TERI program after June 6, 2005, is exempt from the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act and therefore will not retain grievance or reduction-in-force rights. A participant in the TERI Program who entered the program before or on June 6, 2005 retains the same status and employment rights he held upon entering the program.

    A TERI participant at a four-year post-secondary educational institution maybe covered by their institution's grievance procedure for academic employees under Section 8-17-380 of the SC Code of Laws. However, the employee would not have reduction in force rights.

    Q: If a TERI employee who has reduction in force rights is separated by a reduction in force, does the employee have recall rights to the same position?

    A: If a TERI employee who entered the program prior to or on June 6, 2005 is separated due to a reduction in force and begins receiving his retirement benefits, his participation in the TERI Program ends. However, the employee will have the same reinstatement and recall rights afforded to any employee with reduction in force rights who is affected by a reduction in force.

    Completion of the TERI program

    Q: What happens to a TERI participant at the end of his participation in the program?

    A:
  • The employee must separate from employment. Both state and federal laws require a severance from employment before a TERI participant can receive a distribution of his or her accumulated TERI funds or draw an annuity. Based on these requirements, HRD's position is that state agencies should require TERI participants to separate from employment for at least one regularly scheduled workday before returning to employment covered by the S.C. Retirement System.
  • The employee will experience a break in service and will not automatically retain the same position held while in the TERI Program.
  • The employee will be eligible to receive payment for up to 45 days of unused annual leave. For employees who enter the TERI Program after June 30, 2005, the annual leave payment will be used in recalculating the average final compensation of the member to determine the benefit the member receives after participation in the program.

  • Returning to Employment

    Q: What rules affect former TERI participants who have returned to work in a FTE position after June 30, 2005 as well as other retirees who have returned to work in a FTE position?

    A:
  • The employee would be considered a new hire and would be subject to State Human Resource Regulations regarding initial employment or reemployment into a full-time equivalent position, except for probationary status.
  • The employee will not be subjected to an earnings limitation, if the employee entered TERI or retired before January 2, 2013.
  • For retirements on or after January 2, 2013, a retiree may return to work after being retired for 30 days and receive a benefit subject to a $10,000 earnings limitation; however, the $10,000 limitation does not apply if the retiree was at least 62 years of age at retirement or has returned to certain elected or appointed positions.
  • The employee will be required to pay the employee contribution to the South Carolina Retirement Systems.
  • The employee will be exempt from the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act and therefore will not retain grievance or reduction-in-force rights.
  • The employee will receive credit for all State service in a FTE and for any time as a certified employee in a permanent position of a school district of this State for purposes of earning annual leave.
  • The employee will not receive payment for unused annual leave following termination for any reason from state employment, except for retirees hired before or on June 30, 2005.