The National Labor Relations Board recently made an announcement that it will allow employees who meet the stipulated requirements to retire early or separate from their jobs voluntarily.
During the announcement, NLRB also mentioned that it had requested and received the authority from both Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) in order to manage its caseload and workforce needs more effectively.
Over the years, the shortages that were caused by flat funding of the agency have been taken care of by voluntary personnel attrition. This has resulted in an imbalance in NLRB’s staffing in both the headquarters and their regional offices. To make sure that they’re able to carry out their mission, they’re utilizing the VERA and VSIP to realign their staff members.
On top of addressing the current imbalance in staffing, the board said that utilization of VERA and VSIP would make it possible to relocate its limited resources and give the employees all the tools they need. This is inclusive of training and improvement in technology.
The NLRB is offering the VERA and VSIP opportunities to employees in specific job categories. The application process is voluntary, and the requests from the employees will be processed on a first come first serve basis.
VERA and VSIP
The Voluntary Early Retirement Authority can have an effect on an entire agency or just a part of it. If the reorganization only affects a part of an agency, it will be limited to that part of the agency.
Considering that only a limited time is allowed to accept the early retirement offer, one has to be ready to make a decision quickly. When such an offer is made, it only targets the employees who meet the set criteria.
The requirements, according to NLRB state that one needs to have served for a period of 20years and be over the age of 50. Alternatively, they could be under 50 but must have served for at least 25 years to qualify.
FERS systems are quite complex; if you are stuck on whether you should apply for early retirement or not, consult with your HR offices before you can make a decision. An employee who is under the older CSRS retirement system usually gets a 2% penalty per annum for being under the age of 55.
FERS employees do not get penalized. However, they have to wait until they turn 62 for the cost-of-living-adjustments to begin.
The Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments gives a financial incentive to employees who separate early from service either by resignation, voluntary early retirement, or optional retirement. In most agencies, the maximum amount is $25,000 as was set in 1993 by Congress.
The VSIP pay is usually referred to as a “buyout” in the federal community. This means that the employee is given a financial incentive to leave. There are many reasons why an agency could offer buyouts to its employees; these could include downsizing or reshaping the workforce.
Before any of the employees can receive a buyout, they have to some basic eligibility requirements as required by the agency. Not all employees are entitled to this financial incentive. The buyout is very attractive making employees to speed up the decision to leave employment.