After a long delay while regulators developed rules for phased retirement, federal workers will finally be able to file their applications in November.
The OPM issued its final regulations for phased retirement on August 7, a hulking 129-page document that details how retirement eligible workers can work part-time while drawing on their pensions.
The regulations do not provide specifics on every “administrative detail” of the process. OPM will issue separate guidelines to agencies and employees that provide precise information on administrative and procedural issues.
“Phased retirement provides a new tool that allows managers to better provide unique mentoring opportunities for employees while increasing access to the decades of institutional knowledge and experience that retirees can provide,” said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta in a statement announcing the newly minted rules.
The law and rules governing phased retirement are more than two years in the making. Eligible employees will be allowed to work 20 hours a week, earn half their pay and half their pension in order to make up for their halftime salary.
The option is entirely voluntary. However, agencies can approve or deny a worker’s request. They also have “broad discretion” to craft their own eligibility standards as well as discretion to determine how long a worker can remain as partially retired, according to Government Executive.
Eligible workers will have to mentor up-and-coming employees, a component of the rules that will be hard for agencies to get around. The Obama Administration pitched the law as a way to stem a seemingly runaway brain drain among federal agencies as older workers increasingly seek retirement.
Agencies can begin sending their phased retirement applications to OPM on November 6. The agency’s website offers detailed information regarding eligibility.