Travia Leave is a retirement benefit provided to full-time instructional staff at CUNY (faculty, HEOs, CLTs and other annual F/T titles) under the New York State Education Law. It is named after Anthony Travia, former Speaker of the NYS Assembly, who wrote the law which specifies that permanent instructional staff who are members of a retirement system “…shall upon application be granted a retirement leave of absence with full pay consisting of one-half of their accumulated unused sick leave, up to a maximum of one semester….”
The maximum number of sick leave days a full-time employee represented by PSC can accumulate is 160 days, so the maximum Travia Leave you can use is 80 days, which equals one semester for faculty. If you have less than 160 sick leave days, you are still entitled to Travia Leave. Your paid leave will be for one-half of your accrued sick leave days, no longer equivalent to a semester. With 140 days of sick leave accrued, you will be on Travia Leave for 70 days.
To be eligible for Travia Leave, full-time instructional staff employees must meet retirement system eligibility requirements: they must be at least 55 years old and EITHER have 5 years of pensionable, credited service at CUNY if they joined a pension system prior to 4/1/12 (Tiers I-IV) OR must be at least 63 years old and have 10 years of pensionable, credited service at CUNY if they joined a pension system on 4/1/12 or later (Tier VI). You must inform the college of your intention to retire, both your department chair/supervisor and the HR Office which will provide forms for you to fill out and which your chair/supervisor must sign. Chairs/supervisors do not “approve” Travia; their signature is an acknowledgement that they are aware of your intentions. Deadlines for notification vary by college, but if you intend to take Travia Leave in the fall, you are encouraged to contact HR by spring break; if you intend to take Travia in the spring, go to HR by Thanksgiving.
Faculty remain on payroll through the summer annual leave period if they take Travia for the full spring semester. Faculty taking Travia for the full fall semester stay on payroll through the fall semester (the end of January). HEOs and CLTs must take their accrued annual leave before the start of their Travia Leave. No one earns additional sick or annual leave during Travia.
Your paycheck while you are on Travia should look the same as when you were working full-time—all the same deductions (taxes, pension/annuity, etc., including Social Security, even if you are receiving Social Security payments.
You are allowed to work at CUNY for pay while you are on Travia—up to one course or 75 non-teaching hours, subject to the approval of the college.
You also have the “right to return” under the law at the end of your Travia Leave. The law states “A retirement leave of absence shall be cancelled when a member on such leave…files an application for reinstatement to active service….” However, also under the law, you forfeit your right to future Travia leaves from CUNY, and you will have used all your sick leave. (When you return to active employment, you will start accumulating sick leave again, but it cannot be used to take another Travia Leave from CUNY.)