Return to work after retirement

Updated July 1, 2020 to reflect COVID-19 related changes

After retiring from the UW, you can return to work at the University. While reemployment can be advantageous to both you and the UW, you’re not guaranteed to find a job, and you’ll have to follow the same application procedures as any other candidate.

The exact policies governing reemployment depend on which retirement plan you have.

Members of state DRS plans (PERS, TRS, SERS, LEOFF, or WSPRS)

If you have a retirement plan that’s managed by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS), state law and UW policy govern your reemployment.

Both state law and UW policy require that you follow all the normal UW procedures while applying for a job. You can’t, for example, make an agreement before retiring that stipulates that you’ll later return to work at UW. Also, while applying for reemployment at UW, you’re required by law to inform the UW that you are retired from a DRS plan.

Once you’re reemployed at UW, there are limits to the number of hours you can work. Unless you choose to use the 2008 ERF at retirement, PERS and TRS retirees are limited to 867 hours of employment in a calendar year. Once you reach your annual limit, you have to decide whether or not to continue working. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 867 hour limit of post-retirement Washington state employment and the employment restrictions for those who use the 2008 ERF was partially waived and suspended from March 31, 2020 until July 1, 2020 at midnight (see RCW 41.40.037 section (2) and the governor’s proclamation section 1 for reference).

To see reemployment details specific to your retirement plan, visit thinking about working after retirement on the DRS website.

Benefits for re-employed DRS plan members

When you return to work at UW after retiring, you’re eligible to participate in Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) benefits if your new position meets PEBB eligibility rules. However, if you exceed the work-hour limits for your DRS plan, your pension may be temporarily suspended. In a benefits-eligible position, you may temporarily defer participation in the PEBB retiree health plan, if your previously enrolled in the PEBB retiree coverage.

UW Retirement Plan members

If you retired with the UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) and you want to return to work, UW policy governs your reemployment.

Once you’re reemployed at UW, there are limits to the number of hours you can work. You are limited to working a maximum of 40% of full time (for hourly employment this is 832 hours per year) over the plan year, which begins January 1 and ends December 31. This applies to all positions at UW.

If you are a retired UW faculty member, please visit the website for academic human resources and see working after retirement to understand how your 40% is calculated.

Benefits for re-employed UWRP members

When you return to work at UW after retiring, you’re eligible to participate in PEBB benefits if your new position meets the PEBB eligibility rules Once you become PEBB benefits eligible, you can defer your PEBB retiree health plan, if you previously enrolled in this plan.

Social Security

If you are receiving Social Security payments, there may be a limit to what you can earn through active employment and still retain your full Social Security income. It is your responsibility to understand and keep track of potential income limitations. For further information, visit the official Social Security website.