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Lehigh offers early retirement to hundreds of staffers

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Lehigh University in Bethlehem. (File photo)
Lehigh University in Bethlehem. (File photo)

Lehigh University is offering six months' severance and a continuation of benefits to around 270 employees as part of early retirement incentives aimed at lowering costs and assessing staffing needs.

Patricia Johnson, vice president of finance and administration said the effort will allow the school to better address its emerging needs as the university continues to grow.

“Lehigh is growing and changing, as all institutions need to do if they are going to thrive in a rapidly evolving higher education environment,” said Johnson in a statment on the university’s website.

Johnson said that senior administrators will conduct a careful review of each position that comes open, and will fill some, but not all of the newly created vacancies.

Lehigh said the voluntary retirement plan excludes employees of the Centennial School, research scientists/scholars/engineers and pre- and post-doc research associates.

The formula for eligibility is that an employee must have their age and years of service add up to 75. An employee would have to have at least 10 years of service to be eligible.

Chris Halladay, associate vice president of human resources at Lehigh said the main focus of the offer isn’t on saving money.

“We anticipate most of the savings will go back into salaries,” he said.

What the offering is expected to do is speed up the time table of expected retirements so that school administrators have a pool of vacancies at the same time. This will allow Lehigh to better structure positions and duties to meet future needs.

“The position’s structures might just look a little different,” he said.

Future employment at the university would not be allowed. Final decisions by employees accepting the deal must be made by June 14.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Reporter Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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