Retirement Plans - Service and Maintenance

Service and Maintenance (S&M) employees in benefit eligible positions have several retirement plan options.

Yale University Retirement Plan for Staff Employees

The Yale Retirement Plan for Staff Employees (YRPSE) is a “defined benefit, non-contributory plan” in which the amount of pension payment for each participant is determined by a formula that gives weight to salary, length of service and age at retirement.

Employees are eligible for “normal retirement” at age 65 or hereafter with 5 years of service. They may retire at any time after age 55 when the sum of age and years of service equals or exceeds 75. Such “early retirement” may require a 4% “discount” of payment for each year before age 65 (to offset the actuarially extended life expectancy during which benefits will be paid). Pensions for employees who retire with at least 30 years of service are discounted 2% per year. Pensions for employees who retire at age 60 or later with at least 25 years of service are not discounted for early retirement.

Participants in the Plan “vest” after five years of service. Vesting gives a participant the right to a pension at age 65 (or when the sum of age and service equal 75) even if he or she leaves Yale employment.

The current formula for calculating a monthly pension can be found in the Yale University Retirement Plan for Staff Employees plan document.

The costs to Yale for the Plan are determined by an annual actuarial review (the “valuation”) which considers such factors as number of participants, salary levels and their probable growth, earnings on Plan assets, probable ages at retirement and mortality expectations for retirees.

Significant features of the plan are:

  • Lower salary increments are weighted at higher multipliers than higher salary increments providing a kind of “safety net” for retirees at lower salary levels.
  • Terminated vested employees are eligible to “cash out” their pension benefit if the present value of their account balance is less than the plan limit.

Yale University Matching Retirement Plan

In a 403(b) Defined Contribution Plan, both employer and employee know how much will be contributed to the Plan. Local 34 , Local 35, Local 502, C&T non-union and members of the Yale Police Benevolent Association who are regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week in a benefits eligible position are eligible to participate in the plan. There are many advantages to participating in the Plan: pre-tax employee contributions are tax-sheltered from federal and state taxes, earnings are not taxed until withdrawn. Roth 403(b) contributions are taken out of your paycheck after federal and state taxes are taken.

Employees can contribute up to 75% of eligible earnings to the Matching Retirement Plan, not to exceed the annual IRS limit. If you are age 50 or older, you can make an additional IRS Catch-up Contribution at any time during or after the calendar year in which you reach the age of 50. You may contribute a fixed-dollar amount, a percentage of your salary, or the IRS annual maximum amount. Contributions by the employee and the University may not exceed the limitations imposed by the Internal Revenue Code and applicable Treasury Regulations.

To view Annual Compensation Limits and Contribution Limits, please visit the IRS website.

For employees with at least two years of service at benefit level, a dollar for dollar match of employee contributions will be made up to 2% of the base annual salary.
For employees age 45 or older with at least 5 years of continuous service at benefit level, there will be a dollar for dollar match by the University of the employee contributions up to 4% of the base annual salary.

Participants in the Plan are immediately vested with respect to both their own contributions and University contributions. In this case, vesting means that the total accumulation follows the participant despite employment termination.

Withdrawals from your retirement account, however, must meet Federal Regulations, such as: age 59-1/2, termination from employment, death, disability, financial hardship as determined by the IRS.

Employee and university contributions may be invested in a wide range of Vanguard and TIAA investment options through TIAA (Teachers’ Insurance Annuity Association).

Additional design features


  • Contributions can be made on a pre-tax basis, after-tax basis through the Roth 403(b) option, or both. You can elect to contribute a flat dollar amount, a percentage of your salary, or the IRS annual maximum amount.


  • In most cases, you can borrow certain amounts from your 403(b) savings plan account. Plan loans are administered by TIAA and are subject to the terms of the TIAA loan program. For further information, please contact TIAA.
  • The number of loans is limited to three general purpose loans.

Full distribution rights at termination and retirement

  • The University will allow you to take your retirement account balance with you upon termination or retirement.

In-service distributions at age 59½

  • During active employment at age 59½, you will be able to take a distribution from the Plan. This is limited to employee contributions only.

Enroll in a retirement plan or make investment changes.

Yale University Tax-Deferred 403(b) Savings Plan

Employees who are not eligible for the Matching Retirement Plan may choose to contribute to the Yale University 403(b) Tax-Deferred Savings Plan.

The Yale University Tax-Deferred 403 (b) Savings Plan allows you to invest contributions from your pay in a wide range of Vanguard and TIAA investment fund options. There are no university contributions. You may contribute a fixed-dollar amount, a percentage of your salary, or the IRS annual maximum amount.

Employees may enroll in the 403(b) Tax-Deferred Savings Plan at any time during the year . To get started or make investment changes, see below.

How to enroll in a retirement plan and make changes to your investments

TIAA provides a customized website designed specifically for Yale participants where you can view and manage your Yale University retirement program contributions and investment options in one place. The site offers detailed fund information with Vanguard and TIAA investment fund options and retirement planning calculators.

To enroll in a retirement plan, update your beneficiary information, and view or change your investment options, go to the TIAA website. Log in instructions are provided on the website. First-time users will need to register for secure online access.

For assistance navigating the TIAA website, please contact TIAA at 855-250-5424, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., or Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you have any questions regarding your retirement benefits, contact Employee Services at 203-432-5552.