Last week, the Office of Personnel Management finally issued regulations implementing a phased retirement option for federal employees. Under the rules, eligible employees will be able to draw half of their retirement annuities while working half time at federal agencies. Employees will be able to begin submitting applications for phased retirement on Nov. 6.
So what has to happen between now and then? OPM has put the ball in the court of individual agencies to provide specific direction on how they will implement the option. This will be the key to the success of this program.
Agencies have a lot of work ahead of them. In their written plans for implementing phased retirement, they must do the following:
- Identify the types of positions eligible to participate in the option.
- Set clear criteria for approving or denying an employee’s request to enter phased retirement.
- Define the requirement in the regulations that those in phased retirement status must spend 20 percent of their 20 hours a week on the job mentoring those coming up in the ranks behind them.
- Determine if employees entering phased retirement will be required to fully retire at a certain time.
- Set any restrictions or limitations on phased retirees’ return to full-time federal employment.