Tag: Phased Retirement

Phased retirement


Phased Retirement not Popular among Federal Employees

Recent data revealed by the OPM has highlighted that the phased retirement option offered to federal employees is not too successful. The number of workers who have opted for it is too low even despite the fact that the number has increased in the last few months. Phased retirement has been allowed by OPM since 2014 but it has not been implemented in all the agencies yet.

phased retirement How Many Federal Employees opted for Phased Retirement?

As per OPM data, only 90 federal employees have chosen to take the route of phased retirement until August 15, 2016. The agency revealed this information after a query was raised by Federal News Radio website. The agency also shared the fact that the employees from the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA showed a lot of enthusiasm for the program.

What is Phased Retirement?

Phased retirement is a program according to which the federal workers who are eligible for retirement are allowed to sign up for a program as per which they work part-time in their positions and collect half of their salaries. They also get only half of their accumulated retirement annuities. When the phased retirement of a federal worker is approved, he or she is required to spend 20 percent of their time in mentoring other employees who are supposed to take over the role played by the employee who is enjoying phased retirement.

The Law

The law was passed in the year 2012 by the Congress but the bill was approved by OPM at the end of 2014 only. The people eligible for the program would be 31 percent of the federal workforce by September 2017 and yet the number of people applying for the program is too low.

The Improvement

On January 31, 2016, the number of feds choosing this program was just 31. Now it is 90 which show some improvement over time. In January the data was unearthed by Government Executive website. Though the improvement is commendable, the numbers are still a disappointment for fed organizations that have supported phased retirement in the past.

The Choice

A reason behind the low number of federal employees in phased retirement program could be the fact that the federal agencies have complete control over whether they need to adopt the program or not. The Social Security Administration has not given the option to any of its employees.

Defense Department Allows Phased Retirement

The Defense Department has recently given a green light to phased retirement plan. In this plan, a person does not retire directly, the person works part time and gets paid accordingly until he fully retires. The phased retirement plan has been available for a few years now but OPM data states that only a few federal employees have signed up for it. Many other government departments may soon start the program as well.

phased retirementPhased Retirement for Civilians

Starting a few days ago, the Department of Defence began to allow civilian employees to phase into retirement. The details of this plan were mentioned by the Pentagon’s personnel office. These policies will be used for the hybrid arrangement in which the employees who are eligible for retirement would get the opportunity to cut back to part-time work for a while before they opt to retire fully.

The Policies

The policies mostly repeat the basic requirements that are set by law for government-wide regulations. The policies also include a list of factors the department will consider while deciding to offer the phased retirement option to an eligible employee.

How Phased Retirement Works?

For those who don’t know, phased retirees work half time and collect the exact half of their salaries. They also collect half of the annuities that they have accumulated until they decided to opt for phased retirement. When the phased retiree completely retires, the annuities are recalculated and it includes adding the part-time work.

Less Success of Phased Retirement

Phased retirement has not been a huge success across the government departments until now. Though the phased retirement was initiated a few years back, only 80 federal employees are using it as of now. This was highlighted in the data released by the OPM. It is pertinent to add that the 80 employees are from a workforce of 2.1 million outside the independent U.S. Postal Service. These 80 employees do not include 7 other employees who have completed the phased retirement stage and are now fully retired.

The Future

It is being predicted that the adoption of phased retirement by the Defense Department will prompt other government departments to start the program too. The Commerce Department has announced that the program will start there soon. The Defense Department can boost the program considerably because it employs around one-third of the non-postal executive branch workforce that comes down to about 77,000 employees. Over one tenth of these 77,000 employees are already eligible for phased retirement.

Can federal employees get phased retirement

We all know that the Moving Ahead for Progress program authorized the phased retirement program but are the federal employees of the US eligible to apply for it and eventually enjoy its benefits? In 2014, the office of personnel management released a comprehensive report that comprised of the final rules related to the program that will guide all the agencies and the employees about the people that should ideally elect phased retirement. It also included all the benefits that are provided by it, how the pension and the annuity is calculated during the whole phase and how the exit from the program can be made without any hassle.

The phased retirement program:

In general, all the agencies working under the umbrella of the federal government can offer phased retirement programs for their employees. However, this can’t be termed as a “right” of the employees. If it were, it would have meant that all the full-time employees who have worked for the preceding three years and meet the age and year of service requirements (for immediate retirement) and are part of the CSRS or the FERS can be considered eligible; however that is not the case. All the employees that are set to get mandatory retirement including firefighters, air traffic controllers or the law enforcement officers should not participate.

OPM indicated that all the participants must have spent around fifth of their service time mentoring coworkers for them to be considered eligible. Also, phased retirees are obviously going to have to deal with deductions in retirement annuity, social security and other funds. However the health benefits get provided in the same manner and are subject to no deduction.

While the phased retirement program has its pros, there are some cons as well and if you are eligible, you need to think long and hard before making a decision.




I have kept an open ear about the life and death of Phased Retirement.  I don’t think all of its provisions are fully understood, at least not yet.  There are still some cracks and crevices to be filled by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Employees have voiced that managers have too much leverage and employees not enough when it comes to who can participate in phased retirement.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) took up the banner for its members and requested OPM construct a system that would give employees the right to appeal a decision made by authorized agency officials.  The regulation currently states that in order for an employee to participate in Phased Retirement or return to regular employment with the Federal government, an authorized agency official must give written approval.  Whatever decision is made, the employee has no appeals rights.

There are a number of provisions that either include or preclude employee participation in the program.  One of the issues cited by the NTEU is that it appears that those persons eligible for immediate retirement both under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement Systems (FERS) with certain age and tenure requirements are the only group pretty much guaranteed participation.  However, the NTEU asserts that OPM fails to recognize immediate retirement eligibility for those employees with five years of service and are age 62.

The NTEU has been very thorough in its review of the Phased Retirement regulation citing a number of critical elements such as participation by CSRS-Offset employees and how their annuity and Social Security offset would be handled.  The NTEU has urged OPM to consider a number of measures and amendments to make Phase Retirement a program that not only offers continuity of subject matter expertise by holding on to seasoned employees but an equal benefit to the employees as well.  Perhaps the first benefit could be allowing employees greater say in whether they can participate in the program or not.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Dianna Tafazoli

HUD Leads Phased Retirement Plan Implementation

HUD Leads Phased Federal Retirement Plan Implementation

DepartmentThe U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) is leading the way in implementing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) plan to offer eligible federal employees a phased retirement plan.

It’s no secret that federal employees at or near retirement have been left hanging by OPM and their employing agencies, who have taken no action as yet on implementing it.

OPM first took two years to come up with a final rule after Congress passed the law authorizing phased retirement and setting the rules and regulations for it. Now, a year after OPM’s final rule came into effect, all the major federal agencies and departments have still not unveiled plans for how they will be offering this and to which employees.


 How Will Phased Retirement Be Implemented by Federal Agencies? 

The way that phased retirement works is that eligible candidates will receive part-time pay and a partial annuity proportional to their work hours. For example, if a federal employee working 40 hours per week accepts it and cuts down to 20 hours per week, that employee would be eligible to receive 50 percent of the full-time salary while also receiving 50 percent of the federal retirement benefits he or she has earned up to that point.

Federal agencies have been in theory able to accept applications for this as of Nov 2014. But none of them have actually implemented it yet. That’s because each federal agency has wide latitude over how to do it. They can pick and choose which jobs to include, so each agency has to come up with its own plan. At the moment, people don’t know whether they should wait for this plan to kick in, or go ahead and opt for full early retirement.

This is where HUD’s partial implementation could serve as a trigger for other agencies and departments to follow. For now, HUD is only offering the phased retirement option for eligible non-bargaining employees and National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) bargaining employees.

Federal Employees Still Waiting on Phased Retirement Option

The head of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) Retirement Option

 RetirementThe OPM is taking heat for the failure of many federal agencies to offer phased retirement for eligible federal employees. The lack of clarity on this issue three years after the law was passed has led to many retirees being left in limbo, wondering whether they should wait for phased retirement.

The head of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) has written to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta requesting the OPM to work with members of the CHCO Council, find out if their agencies have plans for implementing phased retirement, and then make this information public.

It’s been three years since Congress passed the law offering phased retirement to federal employees. Under this program, retirement-eligible federal employees are allowed to continue putting in a reduced number of hours, as compared to their full-time schedule.

These phased retirees then receive part-time pay and a partial annuity proportional to their work hours. For example, if a federal employee working 40 hours per week accepts phased retirement and cuts down to 20 hours per week, that employee would be eligible to receive 50 percent of the full-time salary while also receiving 50 percent of the federal retirement benefits he or she has earned up to that point.

As part of the deal, these phased retirees are required to spend 20 percent of their work time mentoring other employees (read replacements). It’s a sensible arrangement that is a win-win for the agency, federal retirees, their replacements and the taxpayers served by said agency.

The law didn’t make it a requirement for federal agencies to offer phased retirement, so many agencies haven’t prioritized it. OPM had asked agencies who were willing to offer it to start accepting applications by Nov 2014. But many agencies haven’t even clarified whether they are willing or able to offer this program, let alone actually start accepting applications.

NARFE President Richard Thissen says in the letter to the OPM Director that NARFE members continue to contact NARFE offices, wondering when phased retirement will be available at their agency.

Many federal retirees are apparently putting off their retirement plans until such time as their agency is able to clarify the phased retirement options available.

What Are Your TSP Options With Phased Retirement? by June Kirby

New Phased Retirement Program

In allowing Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees to participate in the phased retirement program, there are certain requirements that must be met, as well as various options that can be chosen by the individual. It is important to have a good understanding of these guidelines, as they could have an effect on the amount that you receive, as well as whether or not moving forward will or will not even be beneficial for you and your specific situation.

What is Phased Retirement and How Does It Work?

The phased retirement program is essentially an agreement between you and your agency. When this option is elected, you will be considered as partially retired, and you will begin receiving half of your TSP annuity retirement income. At the same time, you will also be considered as employed part-time and will work at a 50% capacity and receive one-half of your pay. When you are ready to move into full retirement, you will at that time receive the remainder of your TSP retirement income.

As an example, as a FERS employee, if you had a current annual salary of $60,000 and you opted to go into the phased retirement program, you will work part-time and receive a salary of $30,000 per year.

At the same time, if your current TSP annuity would have paid you $24,000 per year at full retirement, you would instead receive $12,000 per year at 50% of that annuity. Therefore, during your phased retirement time, you would be receiving $30,000 in salary, and another $12,000 from your TSP annuity.

While working during your phased retirement, it is required that at least 20 percent of your time be spent on mentoring activities. These can include working with current employees on transferring knowledge, as well as assisting them in further developing their careers.

Taking the Next Step – How to Participate in the Program

If you opt to participate in the phased retirement program, the next step is to discuss the option with your manager. You should also obtain an estimate of your TSP annuity in order to determine the amount of your income during the time of your participation, well as the amount of your income during your full retirement once your participation in the program has ended. In addition, completion of a phased retirement election form and approval by your agency will also be required.

June Kirby Articles

FEGLI – The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Ugly – by June Kirby

Could Taking Early FERS Retirement Cost You Your SRS Benefit? by June Kirby

Survivor Options for Married Federal Spouses – By June Kirby

Determining the True Cost of Waiting to Buy Back Military Benefits – by June Kirby

Who Is June Kirby

June Kirby has well over a decade of experience serving as a Federal Employee Retirement Trainer and expert.  June Kirby has extensive knowledge in both TSP and other Federal Retirement benefits.  Ms. Kirby tirelessly travels the Country making herself available to Federal & Postal Employees, Federal Agencies, Unions and Organizations and partners with PSREducators.com (PSRE), and as one of the top providers of PSRE’s services, June Kirby continues to generously make herself available to hundreds of deserving Federal and Postal Employees each and every year by offering consultation on federal retirement benefits and TSP maximization strategies.

Federal Phased Retirement Program Now Available, by Kevin O’Leary

Federal Phased Retirement Program now available

By: Kevin O’Leary

Retirement In many industries, phased retirement programs are now being used that can allow employees who are approaching retirement age to continue working, but with a reduced workload, while they transition into full-time retirement. The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) has begun to offer a phased retirement program to its employees.

With the phased retirement program, full-time employees will be able to work part-time schedules, while starting to draw on their retirement benefits. In doing so, those who are “phasing out” will also be able to mentor current employees with their knowledge, while at the same time preparing themselves for retirement. This option also allows these individuals to essentially keep a portion of their retirement annuity for the time when they entire into full retirement.

When an employee elects the phased retirement option, he or she will be considered as “partially” retired, and will start to receive approximately half of their annuity. They will work at 50 percent, or on a part-time status, and will receive approximately one-half of their pay. Twenty percent of their working time must, however, be spent in mentoring activities.

Regarding TSP considerations the employee is still considered working and can continue to contribute and receive matching contributions but cannot access the post service withdrawal options until fully retired.

For the purpose of the phased retirement program, mentoring is considered to be a “process that focuses on providing guidance, direction, and career advice.” This can provide an opportunity for problem solving and goal achievement for both the current employees, as well as for the retiree.

Some of the activities that can meet the mentoring requirement include the transfer of particular knowledge, the management of knowledge, succession planning, and even career development for the employees.


Who is Eligible to Participate in the Phased Retirement Program?

In order to be eligible to participate in the phased retirement program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been a full-time employee for at least the three years prior to entering into the phased retirement program;
  • You must be eligible for immediate retirement as per either of the following:
  • FERS: You must have met your minimum retirement age and have at least 30 years of service, or be at least age 60 and have a minimum of 20 years of service;
  • CSRS: You must be at least age 55 and have 30 years of service, or be at least age 60 and have a minimum of 20 years of service.

There are certain employees who are specifically excluded from the phased retirement program. These include:

  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Nuclear Materials Couriers
  • Capital Police and Supreme Court Police
  • Some Customs and Border Protection Officers

Those employees who wish to participate in the phased retirement program are required to pay all civilian deposits, military deposits, and redeposits prior to beginning the program.


More about Kevin O’Leary

Kevin O’Leary is a Federal retirement expert who works out of his Southern California office, but helps federal employee clients throughout the country.  Kevin O’Leary is a regular contributor to PSRetirement.com and Kevin O’Leary is a highly sought after speaker and advisor on federal retirement benefits.

You can reach Kevin O’Leary

[email protected]

Gov EB Network

30300 Point Marina

Canyon Lake, CA 92587


Other Kevin O’Leary Articles

Married Fed’s with Fed Spouses Have More SSB Options, by Kevin O’Leary

Taking Early FERS Retirement Could Cost You Your SRS Benefit, by Kevin O’Leary

The High Cost of Waiting – “Buy Back” Military Time Early To Avoid High Interest Charges by Kevin O’Leary

The Good, The Bad and the FEGLI, by Kevin O’Leary


Is There an Advantage to Phased Retirement for Retirees

Phased Retirement for RetireesWell, first and foremost you cannot be a retiree and participate in Phased Retirement.  There are a number of rules in order to participate in Phased Retirement. First, the agency must grant the request for a worker to take part in the program.  Only those individuals eligible for regular voluntary retirement can participate in the program having the requisite age and service requirements.  The age and length of service requirements differ between CSRS and FERS.

Because of the way the defined benefits programs (pension plans) are designed for CSRS and FERS employees, the salary amount would differ between the two for a Phased Retirement calculation as it does under ordinary circumstances.  Individuals contemplating participating in Phased Retirement must do their homework and be just as diligent as they would be if they were retiring under traditional protocol.

It is always wise counsel to put the numbers on paper so they become real as individuals calculate the pros and cons of participating in Phased Retirement or simply retiring with the knowledge that their annuity will look decidedly different than their biweekly paycheck.  However, adding on additional time for FERS employees who have already reached their FERS retirement age will not have the same impact as it would with CSRS employees.   The same kind of analysis is needed here that is apparent when persons eligible for Social Security benefits decide if it is good to take the benefit now or wait until later.

You are the best advisor – you the Federal employee – because you know more about your finances and your issues than anyone else.  There are private affairs you perhaps do not feel comfortable sharing maybe not even with a financial advisor.  However, workers and their spouses, partners or family members should have an evaluation session that involves what you have and or likely to have weighed against your expenses.  Although some expenses will decrease in retirement, others will increase, particularly medical expenses and no matter how you slice the pie, your annuity will not be as much as your biweekly paycheck.

There are a lucky few who will have enough savings and investments to ride it out and enjoy a secure and safe retirement.  For the rest of us it is merely a wish list.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Dianna Tafazoli

Recommended Articles

Federal Phased Retirement Program now available, by Kevin O’Leary

Married Fed’s with Fed Spouses Have More SSB Options, by Kevin O’Leary

Taking Early FERS Retirement Could Cost You Your SRS Benefit, by Kevin O’Leary

The High Cost of Waiting – “Buy Back” Military Time Early To Avoid High Interest Charges by Kevin O’Leary

Orientation Retirement Training

Orientation Retirement TrainingFor years as a human resources professional, I have advocated for Orientation Retirement Training.  The Federal Government for a number of years has taken the position of preparing workers for retirement 5 years out from their estimated retirement date. That is simply an accident waiting to happen.  The time-frame does not give a workforce who has not been acculturated to prepare for retirement time to do it.

The approach is like putting a band-aid over a wound that is infected; merely covering up the problem to encounter a bigger problem down the road.  We need to teach employees how to retire from the moment they are recruited and become members of the organization.  The work-life cycle or the horizontal context of managing performance encompasses a comprehensive approach from recruitment to retirement.  Organizations not adhering to that approach fail their employees on a number of levels.

Retirement Training for Newly Hired Federal Employees


If organizations and agencies expect to engender a workforce that is both productive and loyal to the enterprise, then organizations and agencies must take care of their most prized asset – the employees.  The Architect of the Capitol is doing it – Orientation Retirement Training is a part of the welcoming platform for new employees.  That is a strategy worth celebrating.  Although, the Architect of the Capitol operates according to Congressional statue, there is concerted effort to adhere to many of the guidelines issued by the Office of Personnel Management.

Orientation Retirement Training can put out a number of fires.  Employees have the opportunity to prepare for retirement during the entire tenure of their work career.  When federal employees are financially and emotionally prepared to retire, then the push to scramble for incentives and other ways to move them off the rolls would be eliminated.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Recommended Articles

Understanding The Thrift Savings Plan, By Todd Carmack

Social Security for FERS Employees by Todd Carmack

A Little-Know Opportunity Can Increase Your Retirement Income – By Mark Sprague

FEGLI…If What You Thought To Be True. by Marty Duggan

Phased Retirement Questions – Who is Responsible?

Who Is Responsible for Making it Work?

During the public comments period for phased retirement there were a number of questions and comments that surfaced either from agencies, unions or individuals.  It might add to our information to discuss a few of them and also use the questions and comments as a teachable moment.

Phased Retirement and the TSP


One question was about the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).  Will those employees participating in phased retirement still be able to participate in the TSP?   The program is designed to allow phased retirement participants to work part-time and draw a part-time federal retirement annuity giving them perhaps the best of both worlds – work and retirement.  Since the TSP administered by the Thrift Savings Investment Board is a defined contributions plan where contributions are made via payroll deduction, then if you are working and getting a paycheck, you can participate in the TSP.  The individuals are not fully retired as in receiving a total annuity carrying the distinction of annuitant, where there are no payroll deductions. Therefore, these individuals still qualify to participate in the TSP.

Phased Retirement and Taxes

Another question came up about taxes and how OPM would look at taxes.  The Office of Personnel Management in its role as custodian of all federal human capital is statutorily required to provide the Internal Revenue Service with such relevant information as requested.  However, the Office of Personnel Management has no jurisdiction over administering the tax code, that matter falls completely within the auspices of the Internal Revenue Service.  How the IRS manages phased retirement regarding the taxation of Social Security or a Federal Annuity has yet to be seen.

Phased Retirement – Overtime and Holidays

Then there was the concern about overtime and holidays for part-time employees or phased retirement participants.  According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) those persons falling within the category of non-exempt employees receive overtime when they have worked more than 8 hours per days or more than 40 hours in a work-week. The same would apply for compensatory time.  Since the phased retirement participants are scheduled to work part-time then this factor should not impact them.  If, however the situation arises, the same guidelines would be followed in accordance with FLSA. Certain categories of employees, particularly those designated as supervisors and managers are exempt from the requirements of FLSA.

If a part-time employee is scheduled to work on a day that falls on a holiday, then the day is also a holiday for the employee.  If the employee works 4 hours per day, then 4 hours would serve as holiday pay.  If the holiday falls on a nonworking day then the employee is not entitled to an in lieu of holiday.

The Office of Personnel Management is tasked with handling all human resource and human capital issues for the United States Government, all other matters fall within the respective agencies.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

Phased Retirement – Has Its Time Come?

The Phased Retirement Annuity

FERS and CSRS – Phased Retirement

CSRS and FERS Phased Retirement Eligibility

Someone asked whether both CSRS and FERS employees could participate in the phased retirement program.   Yes they can, all things being equal.  OPM was required to publish regulations and guidelines implementing phased retirement both under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS).   Employees who participate in phased retirement are able to retire fully after being a part of phased retirement.

Currently OPM’s regulations state that participants work half time and receive a half-time annuity.   Those percentages may change in the future according to OPM as program needs shift to align with the challenges of the 21st century.  One of the strongest parts of the phased retirement program is that what might be appropriate for one agency might not be appropriate for another in terms of implementation.   The agencies have a rather wide-expanse from which to customize their programs within the guidelines and parameters set by OPM.

Because retirement is always a sensitive subject and one that requires much thought and planning; entering into an agreement with your agency to participate in phased retirement must be given careful consideration.  Since phased retirement is a new program, a new tool, it does not negate the primary action of taking good care of yourself by educating yourself.  The more you know about anything, a more informed decision you will be able to make.

Phased retirement is certainly the new kid on the block and there are many lingering questions about what it means for employees participating on a number of fronts.  What appears most important is the definition and purpose of phased retirement.  It is no secret that every organization would be wise to protect, preserve and pass on institutional knowledge.  That is exactly what the driving force is behind OPM’s push to create this new program or what they term a human resources tool that will protect the federal government’s institutional knowledge.  Therefore, the program has little or nothing to do with anything else.

The Federal Government like many organizations realized on the back end that the passing on of institutional knowledge is a huge, irreplaceable component of any sound succession management plan.  We are not going to stand in line to throw rocks at the Federal Government because I can assure you that many other organizations are guilty of a similar infraction or oversight.  The difference is that the Federal Government just so happens to be the largest employer in the world.  When an entity carries that distinction, operations might have to be carried out with greater efficiency.  Now that OPM has implemented phased retirement which is also a work in progress, it hopefully will be a staunch reminder that the knowledge you gain in the work place, the skills you acquire in order to accomplish the duties and responsibilities of a position; be you a part of the federal, private, academic or non-profit world, do not belong to you, but to the institution.  You don’t hold a patent on that information in this regard and in the end it does not make you indispensable.  What it does create is a culture of  costly inefficiency.

In actuality the world should have never become acquainted with the term ‘phased retirement‘ from the Federal Government particularly for the purpose for which it was created.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

Phased Retirement – Has Its Time Come?

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Explanation of Phased Retirement


Explanation of Phased RetirementPhased Retirement is a human resources tool that allows employees to continue working on a part-time basis while receiving a part-time retirement annuity.  Participants receive additional service credit towards their full retirement.  Participants also begin receiving their retirement annuity payments consistent with the payments they would otherwise be entitled to prior to becoming a part of the phased retirement program.  Prorated service credits will be calculated for the additional time worked during phased retirement.


Individuals must collaborate and consult with their agency managers to determine eligibility for Phased Retirement and assigned duties and responsibilities.  Years of service and the retirement system you belong in also determine eligibility and participation.

Speaking to your agency management and human resources will let you know what your options are.  Completion of an application processed by OPM is necessary.


Employees participating in Phased Retirement get their same benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) and the Federal Employees‘ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program.  The shared contributions from the participant and the government will remain the same.  As for pay and leave, Phased Retirement participants are treated as part-time employees.


There is no particular time limit for participating in the Phased Retirement program.  The decision as to how long you will participate in the Phased Retirement program will be a decision made by you and your agency.

Persons contemplating participating in Phased Retirement should consider every aspect of the program to gain a detailed understanding.  Discuss the program with your agency representative or human resources and your family so that you can make the best decision for your retirement future.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

For Additional Phased Retirement Related Information Click HERE

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Retirement's DebutOne of the incentives offered to gain employee participation in the Phased Retirement program is the more generous annuity at full retirement.  Federal annuities are calculated based on years of creditable service and the high-three average salary.  Therefore, the longer you work the better things might look in the end for you.

Employees participating in the phased retirement program will have a larger federal annuity than had they retired prior to transitioning into the phased retirement program.  A simple equation – additional time means a more handsome annuity.  However, if the employee had continued working full-time, then the annuity would be even more generous.

Individuals participating in the phased retirement program must meet similar retirement eligibility criteria as employees fully retiring.  Participants in the phased retirement program receive half pay and half their annuity.  It should also be noted that the phased retirement participants continue to benefit from their Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) with no changes incurred due to their part-time status.  The cost for FEHB remains the same as it was as a full-time employee.

NARFE (The National Active and Retired Federal Employees) are supportive of the final ruling.  NARFE believes the phased retirement program will help to streamline the surge of federal employees leaving the service over the next few years.  NARFE has expressed a concern about the enforcement of the mentoring portion of phased retirement via individual agencies.  The whole premise of phased retirement is to pair very knowledgeable, long-tenured personnel with less seasoned employees.  Therefore, if mentoring is not heralded by the agencies and the program itself – then the entire purpose of the program is forfeited.  Protecting and harnessing institutional knowledge cannot possibly happen without a commitment from all concerned to understand, support and promote the idea of mentoring.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

Phased Retirement – Bring On The Confetti

Phased RetirementOPM Director Katherine Archuleta has given agencies permission to send their applications in for Phased Retirement as early as November 6, 2014.   Employees who are eligible to participate in Phased Retirement must receive permission from their agencies.  The employees who participate continue to work part-time in order to increase and preserve institutional knowledge.

The participating employees will receive a Phased Retirement partial annuity and continue accruing additional service credit toward their final annuity. The employees or phased annuitants will render 20 percent of their time towards mentoring employees to acquire critical information needed to do the work of the agency.  Agencies will have the latitude and flexibility to fashion their mentoring programs to suit the needs of individual agencies.

It will be interesting to get a report of the number of applications received after November 6, 2014.  The employees, however must have worked a minimum of 3 years before retirement and have accumulated enough time in order to qualify for retirement.  Individuals who take voluntary early retirement do not qualify to participate in phased retirement.  There must also be a written agreement between the agency and the employee outlining the duties and responsibilities to be achieved during phased retirement.  The term of the agreement depends solely upon the parties involved as to how long the assignment will last.

Although OPM processes the applications for phased retirement, those persons desiring to participate must talk to their managers and supervisors to determine what opportunities might exist for them within their own agencies.  Each agency will have the responsibility to decide which positions will actually be a part of phased retirement.

It took two years for OPM to issue a final ruling although Congress approved the law in 2012.  This is a new program where agencies will have, it seems, a tremendous amount of latitude to define and set parameters for their programs.  Although the final ruling has been issued agencies still have a lot of work on their hands to develop programs that will support the goals and objectives of OPM‘s Phased Retirement.

This is a wait and see game.  How many employees will participate?  What metrics will be used to determine and capture the effectiveness of the program?  How many years will it take to collect and analyzing data sufficient to report real outcomes? What are the factors that will determine the continuity of the program?   Are there circumstances or factors that will render the program ineffective and pull the plug on it?     These questions might have already been asked during the public comment period, but might be worth revisiting for those still trying to get their arms around Phased Retirement.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

Phased Retirement – Has Its Time Come?

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Phased Retirement’s Debut

RetirementThe Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the final regulations on Phased Retirement on August 7, 2014.  Phased Retirement will allow full-time employees the opportunity to work part-time while drawing retirement benefits.   Phased-retirement debuted as a mentoring tool to preserve the government’s institutional knowledge.  As I stated previously, it is a start to something because institutional knowledge certainly needs to be preserved.  Creating another method of harnessing that knowledge with an additional price tag may not be the answer.  I have no idea what the cost of implementing Phase Retirement will be.  As a matter of fact, perhaps the cost with will be nominal to none.

Phased Retirement is yet another example of not catching the red bird before it flies away.  In other words, every agency within the Federal Service knows that employees come into the system and then eventually leave.  Knowing that and the tremendous wealth of knowledge employees have who have labored in the Federal workforce for an average  tenure of 30 years; why is it that the harnessing of such knowledge is not an ongoing part of operations, strategic planning, succession planning?

How is it that such an important aspect of -knowledge transition- would escape the wonderful minds inside of the Federal service?  There was absolutely no need to engage in phased-retirement. For what?  It seems par-for-the-course that information should be passed on simply as a normal course of business.  Is that not part of the definition of supervision – mentoring, championing, directing, pairing more experienced workers with less experienced workers.  It is no secret that seasons exist in the entire continuum of life.  Somehow, that very notion slipped through the cracks.  Although corporate conglomerates like Coke, Pepsi and KFC have trade secrets that are the underpinnings of their success; competitors don’t know the inside secrets, but the insiders know what it takes to keep the vats churning.  It is a passing on, as a matter of course, the necessary information to keep the business going.

The dynamic should be no different for the continuity of the Federal Government than it is for Coke, Pepsi and KFC.  Information must be passed on from the largest part of the entity to the smallest unit.  There is no enterprise capable of continuing without a strategy to pass on necessary and critical information.  To allow the red bird to fly away with all the information in his head, needed to build the most intricate and sophisticated nest possible, and then try to get him back after he has flown away is almost suicidal.  The institutional knowledge the Federal Government is now trying to harness via Phased Retirement has always been there.  The problem is that the entire Federal Government failed to develop a strategy that would preserve the necessary knowledge needed to keep the agencies of the Federal Government going in the same manner as the Chief Executive Officer of the United States, the Office of the President.   The transition from President to President from the days of George Washington to Barack Obama has always been seamless.  The same transition of knowledge is possible for the entire Federal Government through Phased Retirement.

P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Phased Retirement Implementation

Phased Retirement ImplementationThe Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is pushing hard to implement the new Phased Retirement program.  Information has not yet been released concerning the number of employees who have expressed an interest in participating in the Phased Retirement program.  OPM is trying desperately to bring younger workers to the service.  By retaining some of the older more experienced workers, training of the new employees and getting them up to speed might help with retention through Phased Retirement is both rational and a good potential solution.

It will be very interesting to find out if the phased retirement program offers enough of an incentive to make older workers stay in the Federal service a while longer.  For those of us who are Federal watchers the buzz has not been much of a buzz.  The Federal workforce does not seem to be too excited about the impending new venture to keep the Federal Government relevant and attractive to a new generation of workers.

The Office of Personnel Management perhaps has not kept up with the changes in the world of work.  I can recall when I got my first real job, HR offices were called personnel offices tasked with pushing papers, processing papers without much interaction with people.  You went to personnel and filled out your paper work and some woman would ask you about your eye color and your hair color.  If she did agree with your eye color she would say something like – who told you your eyes were such and such a color.  As personnel evolved, the lady in charge of eye and hair color faded into the woodwork.

After personnel took a back seat, then human resources surfaced.  Human resources housed specialists (Classification and Compensation Specialists, Employee Relations Specialists, etc).  Then the field found that specialists needed to broaden their base back to be being generalists.  The new title became Personnel Management Specialists meaning at least two fields of human resources should be apparent for each management specialist.  Human Resources was slowly becoming more involved with people and not just paper behind a glass partition.

After a number of years, personnel evolved into Human Capital Management certainly suggesting a greater involvement with people.  Human capital was to hold equal status to financial capital.  Given titles and responsibilities have changed, it might be time for the Office of Personnel Management to put on an entirely new face if they expect to attract the millenniums.  Perhaps OPM could start by changing its name to the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM).  We stopped using the word Personnel about 10 stop lights back.

I don’t know if phased retirement will do a whole lot for leveraging OPM’s goal of protecting institutional knowledge and passing it on to a new generation.  I do know that young people are driven and called to automation almost to the extreme. If we want their knowledge, skills and commitment to public service then leadership had better learn how to drive an Aston Martin wearing skinny jeans and a Mickey Mouse sweat shirt.

P.S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know,


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Phased Retirement

Phased RetirementOn one hand OPM Director Archuleta talks about pumping new blood into the Federal Government and then there is the potential roll-out of phased retirementPhased retirement will keep older workers in the workforce to train younger workers to take over their positions.  A strategy as I previously stated that should be an ongoing part of the Government’s strategic operations.  It is not forward preparation to allow one or two employees to own all of the information and know-how to perform a task exclusively.  That kind of information and how-to strategy must be shared across the division or section.

Team building really does mean that information is shared, analyzed, adjusted and supported by all the stakeholders.  When one individual leaves the team, the leaving should have absolutely nothing to do with continuity of services.  Life does not work that way and neither does work, but is intended to keep going.  The idea of the golden boy or girl is a recipe for failure.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating the acumen of individuals at whatever level they happen to be at.  But to simply have only one person you can call on to perform a task is ridiculous.  You may call on one person to teach so that others can learn and know how to perform the tasks, but it must never be only one person who knows how to do anything.  Mercy on us if that person suddenly becomes unavailable and we can only respond by saying – We cannot do it because ABC is no longer available to us.

I see some merit in phased-retirement in terms of keeping people who desire to work working.  The part about needing to stay or come back to Federal service to train others to do your job is completely beyond my realm of comprehension.  That part of the job should have already been fulfilled.  I am now going to pay you to do something I should have had you do as part of the normal course of business.  The primary duty and responsibility of a supervisor is to train.  We see that duty being abrogated virtually over the entire Government because the culture has been and remains, I am not going to teach anybody anything.

Now I am not going to simply pass that sentiment off as irrational.  The workforce did use a strategy for many years that called for more seasoned personnel to train new hired personnel and after the training was done, the new hire was made the supervisor over the more experienced worker.  That should not have happened and is perhaps why so many workers are reluctant to pass on information.  Even though things might not have been handled correctly in prior years, training and passing on information really is what needs to happen to promote the continuity of work and elevate excellence.

While phased-retirement may not be a costly venture for the government and we won’t know that until the program starts and sufficient data is collected to draw a conclusion.  What we do know is that if the appropriate protocol of sharing information and truly creating effective teams were used, the cost would have only been the salaries already there and the benefit would have far outweighed the cost by leaps and bounds.  It is never too late to start something that will benefit the nation ad infinitum.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Closing the Knowledge Gap

Phased Retirement – Participation

Phased Retirement – Has Its Time Come?

The Phased Retirement Annuity

The Aging Federal Workforce

The Aging Federal WorkforceThe Federal Workforce is losing a tremendous number of employees to retirement.  The Federal workforce is aging and leaving in record numbers.  The Federal Government has not had great success in recruiting younger people to the workforce.  The Federal Government has many self-imposed barriers to recruiting and retaining younger workers, future leaders of the Federal workforce.

It is reported that only 7% of the Federal workforce is under the age of 30 as of 2013 as compared to 20% in 1975.  Workers under 30 in the private sector was estimated at 25% in 2013.  The Federal Government is losing the ability to fuel the pipeline with young workers talented in technology implementation.  The world is becoming increasingly digital with a need for talent to fill the digital divide.  It is in indictment of the American workforce and the education system that technology work would be farmed out to countries outside of the United States.  Farming the work out provides employment opportunities for young adults in those countries, denying opportunities for young Americans.

There is certainly not a deficit of young people absolutely skilled in technology and automation.  Perhaps the Federal Government should have an all-out-cry to young people engaged in automation.  If recruitment means providing education and training to bring the employee up to par, then it should be done.

The Government has a long, drawn-out convoluted process of hiring even through their automated systems.  By the time the process of hiring comes through, talent is no longer available.  On average, it takes the Federal Government 6 months or longer to bring on a new hire.  Often times, when new hires are brought on board, the job offer may be rescinded because of hiring errors due to no fault of the new hire.   Many times the hiring error is in indeed a hiring error which by law should be rectified with no adverse impact on the new hire.  Often these hiring errors are motivated by internal politics.  A person inside of the agent might have wanted the position and was not selected.  When the new hire is selected, the environment is made uncomfortable and hiring error is used as the culprit.

When a hiring error is made, like the unintentional selection of a non-Vet over a Vet, then the non-Vet should not be removed from the position.  The Vet who was passed over should be given priority consideration for the next position or if a similar position is open within the agency, the Vet should occupy that position.  There are many horror stories told about the conduct of Federal personnel offices and selection committees that cause many young people to turn away from the process.

If the Federal Government wants to increase the pipeline with younger workers poised to become leaders, then the hiring process must be transparent, consistent, uncomplicated with immediate job placement.  Individuals looking for employment do not want to wait one to two years before getting an interview and still not be selected.  The lengthy process of hiring employees and engaging them once they are hired, is one of the barriers to bringing talent to the Federal Government.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.


Explanation of Phased Retirement

Phased Retirement’s Debut

Phased Retirement – Participation

The Phased Retirement Annuity

Older People and Work

Do older people work to survive or because they want to stay in the game?

I believe the answer is YES to both.  In our society we segment people often without giving it much thought.  There are older people in the Congress, even in the White House just moments away from the most powerful seat in the free world.

We look at individuals in seats of power differently because of their status.  But the answer to the question is just as true for positions of power as it is for an older person working at the Walmart.

Whether you are rich, currently without adequate financial resources, or somewhere in between, older people work either to survive or because they want to stay in the game.  A few things to consider about older people who work to survive.

Medicare is a program for persons who have reached the age of 65 or older and for persons of any age with certain medical conditions and or disabilities, e.g., end stage renal failure.  However, every person who reaches the age of 65 does not necessarily qualify for Medicare.  Emphasis is placed on age not being the only determining factor to qualify for Medicare – an assumption many people are suprised to learn is not true.

You or your spouse will only qualify if you have worked under a Medicare covered employment, earning 40 Social Security credits or Medicare equivalents normally acquired after working ten years.  If you don’t qualify for Medicare, you may qualify for state-sponsored Medicaid programs based on your income.

The irony and a sad commentary is that many people work for years and years on jobs that offer no retirement or pension.  In addition, they may not even qualify for Social Security benefits because they have not paid into the system, but were paid in cash.

If you know someone who works and gets paid in cash, ask if they have plans for retirement and how do they intend to survive when they are no longer able to work.  Am I My Brother’s keeper?  We should be because what affects your brother affects you whether you know it or not.

If you see or hear of high crime and poorly funded schools, homelessness, high unemployment or any other social-ills, form a coalition to at least talk about it and perhaps do something about it.  If these issues don’t exist on your side of town – they exist in the larger economy which impacts all of us either directly or indirectly.

The cost of services and goods increase in areas where crime is high because there is a greater security or insurance risk.  Taxes and higher costs to deliver a service is eventually passed on to us whether we like or not.  For example, in the city where I live, close to the nation’s capital, I never saw homeless people.  I used to say – “We don’t have homeless people in my city – until one day I saw a makeshift shelter beneath an underpath.  There it was, homelessness had taken a ride across the bridge into my city.

How many of us look at a problem and say it’s not mine.  I did until it smacked me in the face and summoned my senses to understand that all humanity is intricately and perpetually linked.  So when the question comes up again – Do Older People Work to Survive or to Stay in the Game?  Ask another question – Can I pass along anything that might help somebody survive a little easier.

The people in so-called high places whose retirement futures are secure surely work to stay in the game and survive in the way they have become accustomed to.  Others work to keep from slipping off the cliff.  As federal workers we might be privy to many services that can help our communities that the average citizen might have absolutely no knowledge of.  Passing on knowledge should be a border without walls – help where you can, it makes the world we live in better for all of us.  Using knowledge to retire well is a benefit of enormous proportions.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

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