New rule helps prevent government brain drain

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The Office of Personnel Management proposed June 5 a rule to implement a human resources practice permitting full-time employees to work on a part-time basis, while beginning to draw retirement.

Phased retirement will allow the government to continue to benefit from the expertise of longtime civil servants who would otherwise move straight into retirement. Prior legislation discouraged feds eligible for retirement from working part-time because an employee’s potential retirement benefits would often equal or exceed his or her part-time salary.

OPM’s proposed rule would now allow participants in a phased retirement program to continue to earn retirement benefits proportional to their additional part-time work and to receive one-half of what their annuity would have been had they retired completely. This practice provides an economic incentive for individuals to continue their federal service because upon retiring completely, they will be entitled to a greater annuity than if they had fully retired.

Government benefits from the proposed legislation because experienced federal employees will continue to provide their expertise and skills, train newer employees and help to ensure continuity of operations and knowledge management. The main goal of phased retirement is to foster mentoring and training of the employees who will fill the positions of more-experienced feds when they retire.

The proposed regulations also explain phased retirement eligibility and benefits, how an annuity is calculated during and after phased retirement, and how individuals retire from phased retirement. The proposed rule can be found in the Federal Register.

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Agencies, Departments, Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
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