Human Resources » Benefits & Retirement » Optional Retirement Program »  Retirement Service Credit

ORP: Retirement Service Credit

Retirement credit for Educational and/or Workers' Compensation Leave may be established by filing a claim for such service with the retirement system, and by satisfying all the requirements of the law.

Authorized Educational Leave of Absence

Any member who is a full-time employee may receive credit for retirement purposes for an educational leave of absence provided such authorization is approved by the Board of Trustees under the following conditions:

1. The leave of absence must be for the purpose of attending school or engaging in academic research related to the member’s employment which will increase the employee’s efficiency to the employer;
2. Employment was interrupted by leave period. The member must return to service with the same employer within one year following the leave and work for one full year after the leave has been taken;
3. If the member is on leave from an educational institution supported by the state, he will be deemed as returning to the same employer if the member returns to service, with an educational institution supported by the state, within one (1) year following the leave period and remains employed for at least one (1) year thereafter.
4. A claim form certifying the approval of the leave by the granting agency is furnished to and approved by the TCRS.  Required Form
5. Any member shall be entitled to receive retirement credit for educational leaves of absence not to exceed an aggregate of two years credit during a working career.
6. Contributory Member. Contributions should be made during the leave of absence based on the annual salary in effect for the year prior to going on the leave of absence; or after completion of the leave, contributions may be made by a backpayment equal to the contributions which would have been made based on the previous year’s salary, plus interest at the rate of 7½% interest per annum from the date contributions should have been made.
7. Noncontributory Member. The member will be credited with salary and service after he has returned to work for one full year; however, any employee contributions made by the employer on behalf of a member will not be credited to the member’s account for the time he is on a leave of absence. Since some members who are employed by noncontributory departments make contributions above the 5% paid by the employer, the member may be required to make a back payment of contributions above 5% plus interest. EXAMPLE: A class B employee of a noncontributory department who is required to pay 7% contributions based on his earnings (5% employer, 2% employee), prior to leave would be required to make a back payment of 2% of his salary which he would have made had he been employed during the time he was on leave. Interest on this amount will be included in payment.

Temporary Disability

State Employees, Higher Education Employees and Teachers: Periods of time when an employee is receiving a temporary disability benefit from the division of claims administration or worker’s compensation may be established for retirement credit. The member must return to active service or retire immediately following cessation of the temporary disability benefits. No member may receive more than one year of service credit for each occurrence of temporary disability.   Required Form 

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Campus/Institute Contacts:
Family Practice- Chatt. 
Health Science Center  
Knoxville Area    
UT Memorial Hospital

Deferred Compensation (401k, 457, 403b) Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Insurance Forms:
     Insurance & Retirement
     P115 Andy Holt Tower
     1331 Circle Park
     Knoxville, TN  37996-0100

Retirement Forms:
     Total Rewards/ Benefits & Retirement Office
     600 Henley St, #115
     Knoxville, TN  37996-4115

Other Links:
Deferred Compensation (State site)
Deferred Compensation (Empower Retirement site)
Optional Retirement Program (ORP State site)
Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS State site)
Office of Personnel Management- OPM (CSRS & FERS)