LEO Retirement System: Why Not Integrated?

Why Not an Integrated LEO Retirement System?

leoWhy wouldn’t an integrated LEO retirement system exist?  The changing dynamics in our nation and around the globe call for not only duty mission changes, but changes in the way human resources standards and procedures are applied, including retirement.  The federal classification system entails position duties and summaries of those duties for perhaps any occupation one can think of.

I used to play a ‘what is most important’ game with myself as an HR Executive – what is the most important aspect of Human Resources-Human Capital Management, what is defined by what employees value most?  Initially, I voted for making certain payroll was always uninterrupted.  People want their paychecks.  But as times and circumstances have matured, I find that the paycheck is still a top draw, but a check after retirement is equally as important.  So a paycheck is a paycheck is a paycheck.

Human Resources personnel have a duty to make retirement systems as easy to understand as possible so that recipients of those systems will understand most emphatically how to optimize the benefits of those sytems.  Individuals in Law Enforcement have been particularly impacted by provisions that are not necessarily clear and easy to navigate.  This is where an integrated LEO retirement system would make such a positive impact.

In a previous post we attempted to list occupations covered or identifed as Law Enforcement Occupations for the purpose of retirement and those not-covered.  By definition in brevity, law enforcement officers have the authority to make arrests, detain and apprehend persons suspected of or involved in criminal activity.  Yet, there are other law enforcement officers who perform these same or very similar duties who are not classified as LEOs, or qualify as Federal Law Enforcement Officers.

Therefore, the LEO retirement systems appear bifurcated at best which gives way to a question of ‘equity and parity in pay’.  The occupation of Law Enforcement requires individuals that are physically vigorous and under the age of 37 upon entry into the profession.  With mandatory retirement provisions, many LEOs leave service as very young people with so much worklife left.

A question that always comes up in LEO retirement training classes is; Must we leave the federal service upon mandatory retirement age?  One provision HR personnel typically do not make crystal clear is that LEOs must leave their classification (except under special circumstances), but do not necessarily have to leave the federal service.

It is my experience that a great number of LEOs feel they must leave the Federal Government upon reaching full retirement age.  These highly-trained personnel have much to contribute to their nation in a countless number of ways.  Individuals who serve our country by promulgating law and order often put their lives at risk, even more reason for personnel officials and human resource policy makers to ensure a retirement system that is clear, transparent, easily understood with no ambuiguity as to do I qualify or not for provisions within a certain classification of employees.

As a past Federal Human Capital Leader, I am a strong advocate of consistent and regular communication between HR and the people we serve throughout the federal service.   There is no greater tool than open, proactive communication and information dissemination in establishing a seamless framework of effective operations designed to serve customers from stem to stern.  An integrated LEO retirement system would be a good place to start.

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

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