126-8.5. Discontinued service retirement allowance and severance wages for certain State employees.

(a) When the Director of the Budget determines that the closing of a State institution or a reduction in force will accomplish economies in the State Budget, he shall pay either a discontinued service retirement allowance or severance wages to any affected State employee, provided reemployment is not available. As used in this section, "economies in the State Budget" means economies resulting from elimination of a job and its responsibilities or from a lack of funds to support the job. In determining whether to pay a discontinued service retirement allowance or severance wages, the Director of the Budget shall consider the recommendation of the department head involved and any recommendation of the Director of the Office of State Human Resources. Severance wages shall not be paid to an employee who chooses a discontinued service retirement. Severance wages shall not be subject to employer or employee retirement contributions. Severance wages shall be paid according to the policies adopted by the State Human Resources Commission.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of the State's retirement laws, any employee of the State who is a member of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or the Law-Enforcement Officers' Retirement System and who has his job involuntarily terminated as a result of economies in the State Budget may be entitled to a discontinued service retirement allowance, subject to the approval of the employing agency and the availability of agency funds. An unreduced discontinued service retirement allowance, not otherwise allowed, may be approved for employees with 20 or more years of creditable retirement service who are at least 55 years of age; or a discontinued service retirement allowance, not otherwise allowed, may be approved for employees with 20 or more years of creditable retirement service who are at least 50 years of age, reduced by one-fourth of one percent (1/4 of 1%) for each month that retirement precedes his fifty-fifth birthday. In cases where a discontinued service retirement allowance is approved, the employing agency shall make a lump sum payment to the Administrator of the State Retirement Systems equal to the actuarial present value of the additional liabilities imposed upon the System, to be determined by the System's consulting actuary, as a result of the discontinued service retirement, plus an administrative fee to be determined by the Administrator.

The salary used to determine severance wages under this section is the last annual salary except that if the employee was promoted within the previous 12 months, the last annual salary is that annual salary prior to the promotion. If the annual salary prior to the promotion is used, it shall be adjusted to account for any across-the-board legislative salary increases. Excluded from any calculation are any benefits such as, but not limited to, overtime pay, shift pay, holiday premium, or longevity pay.

(b) Any employee separated from State government and paid severance wages under this section shall not be employed under a contractual arrangement by any State agency, other than the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and the constituent institutions of the North Carolina Community College System, until 12 months have elapsed since the separation. This subsection does not affect any reduction in force rights that the employee may have. (1979, c. 838, s. 22; 1983, c. 761, s. 225; c. 923, s. 217(R); 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1034, s. 251; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 981, s. 1; c. 1024, s. 20; 1987, c. 177, s. 2; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1066, s. 36(a); 1998-212, s. 28.28(a); 2006-203, s. 6; 2013-382, s. 9.1(c).)