The Employee’ Retirement Plan (ERP) is available to biweekly paid employees regardless of whether you are employed at Duke University or Duke University and Health System.


You are eligible to become a member in the Employees’ Retirement Plan as a biweekly paid Duke employee, if you:

  • Have reached age 21, and
  • Have worked at least 1,000 hours of service during your first year of employment or in any future fiscal year.

Membership in the Plan is automatic once you meet the eligibility requirements. There are no enrollment forms to complete. You will receive a letter notifying you of your membership date. Prior time worked as a monthly paid employee counts towards membership eligibility.

Who Pays the Cost

Duke completely funds the Plan. You are not required or allowed to contribute to the Plan. However, you are encouraged to make voluntary contributions to the Duke University Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan.


Being vested means you own, or have a nonforfeitable right to, the value of your retirement benefit. Participants are 100% vested in the ERP upon:

  • Completion of five years of continuous service
  • Attainment of age 65 while employed by Duke
  • Hired after age 65

If you have prior time worked as a monthly paid employee, that time counts towards vesting. All time worked for Duke counts towards vesting.

Continuous Service

Continuous service is used to determine your right to receive certain benefits under the Plan, including a vested benefit if you should leave Duke before you qualify for retirement. You earn a year of continuous service for each fiscal year in which you work at least 1,000 hours of service. In counting your hours worked, certain paid time off such as for sickness and vacation are included.

Credited Service

Credited service is used to determine your eligibility for early retirement and the amount of any plan benefit. Credited service includes all of your continuous service after you become a Plan member.

If you have fewer than 1,000 hours of service from your membership date to the end of the fiscal year in which you become a member, you will receive partial credited service for that year. If you are no longer an employee eligible to participate in the Plan, but you are still an employee of Duke, you stop accruing credited service when you are no longer an eligible employee, except for purpose of determining eligibility for early retirement.

Retirement Dates

The Plan offers a variety of retirement dates to give you more flexibility in deciding when to retire.

  • Normal Retirement – you will be eligible for a normal retirement pension on the last day of the month of your 65th birthday (your “Normal Retirement Date”). If you retire on your normal retirement date, your benefit payments begin on the first day of the month after your retirement date.
  • Early Retirement – You may retire at any time after you reach age 45 and complete 15 years of credited service. You may begin receiving your benefit payments on the first day of any month after meeting these requirements. However, your benefits will be reduced to reflect the longer period of time that they will be paid to you.
  • Postponed Retirement – You may decide to continue working past your Normal Retirement Date. During this time, you will continue to earn benefits as provided under the terms of the Plan. This is known as deferred retirement.