Impacts of Voluntary Early Retirement (VERA)
Retirement isn’t always voluntary. Microsoft announced recently that it was laying off 18,000 workers. When the Information Technology Industry (IT) begins to lay-off workers, then the country has to get pretty scared. IT is the industry to be in. We know that Silicon Valley at one time was almost overkill, but colleges and universities are still getting an extraordinarily large amount of students majoring in Computer and Information Technology. There seems to be a lot of early-outs and lay-offs recently. That might suggest the country is in great need of creating jobs. If we are laying off people, I gather all of those people are not retirement age, then where will they go for work? We know that layoffs mean increasing the unemployment rolls in many instances. There is not in reality a job waiting for every person who has been laid off.
Does Industry follow Government or does Government follow Industry? It matters not, but more that the layoffs are layoffs and the economy continues to hurt. When the economy hurts, families hurt There are a number of agencies offering voluntary early retirement (VERA). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Social Security Administration SSA) to name a few.
The Federal Government is working fervently to cut the size of government in order to minimize cost and streamline the budget. TSA employees qualify for VERA if they have completed at least 25 years of service at any age and 20 years of service at age 50. Employees meeting these qualifications are under a special category of retirement. The TSA employees are classified as Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). However, air marshals and specialists working in intelligence do not qualify for VERA at TSA.
Employees at the National Geological Survey are also being offered voluntary early retirement. There are many other federal agencies that are either planning or have already begun sending out VERA notices. The Federal Government needs agencies to think seriously about trimming staff, hopefully avoiding a reduction-in-force (RIF) that is always a morale killer in any agency.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is quickly approving agencies’ requests to offer VERA in order to help them create efficiency in their organizations. Employees participating in VERA must be very careful to analyze their retirement action plans. They must evaluate the impact VERA might have on their plans to live well in retirement. VERA offerings might help agencies create efficiency and balance the budget, but those same results might not be achieved for the federal retiree.
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