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Are you interested in phased retirement? We want to hear from you

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Congress just passed a new phased retirement option that would allow federal employees to work part-time at the end of their career, while also earning a partial pension. This has the potential to significantly change how feds and their agencies plan for retirements.

If you’re a fed nearing retirement age, and are interested in the phased retirement option, we’d like to talk to you. How would a semi-retirement help you and your agency? Is there a dream project you’d like to wrap up before retiring once and for all? Are you busy mentoring younger employees? Are you just not ready to hang it up, but would like a little more spare time?

E-mail me at slosey@federaltimes.com if you’d like to talk.

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Comments

  1. Mike K. Says:
    June 29th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    If “part time” mean 3-4 days of work a week I am interested in this option. If my agency wants me to work 5 days a week at lets say 5-6 hours a day then what’s the point?

  2. roy Says:
    June 29th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Some old timers will never leave the government if they can stay and work part time for extra money and a larger retirement package at the end of the day.

  3. donald scaff Says:
    July 1st, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    This sounds good on paper but in reality i would like to have a life outside the post office world. Working nights with terrible off days, incompetent supervisors, long commutes, to a hot labor intensive job that will make a cripple out of you, no thanks to the part time, i’ve had enough of this misery. I”ll take my full pension I”ve earned every nickle of it, and just go away. I’ve already suffered two heats attacks , and if i had died on the job my wife would only get a one time lump sum,vs retired, a pension for her life time. Thanks for listening!

  4. PH Says:
    July 1st, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Who in their right mind would partake in this? I would never consider this an option. If I wanted to “phase into retirement” I would fully retire from civil service and come back as a support contractor temporarily.
    Just about a 0% chance I would be interested.

  5. MSGP Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 9:11 am

    My wife was working 4 10 hour days for over 5 years until new management would not allow her to have Friday’s off. We loved it. If she can work part-time and have Friday’s off she is all for it!!. When can she start!

  6. mary smith Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 9:53 am

    phased retirement is just another way of the government trying to get more for less. for half salary, you can be working a full time load, expected to be accomplished in half the time. the idea of training someone else at the same time, anyone who’s done it knows, is like working 2-1/2 jobs: yours, theirs, and the training aspect . . . retirement is supposed to be a different set of stresses, not all of the old ones, and new ones besides, in addition to the stress of retirement itself . . . “working” into it? right . . . oh, I’ve got this underwater bridge in California I’ve been wanting to sell . . .

  7. Don Wyman Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 11:39 am

    On the face this sounds like a pretty good idea. However, people retiring rigt now are not getting their full pensions because of the backlog at OPM. (They let a bunch of those folks go as well!) If OPM can’t get regular pension payments straight right now I don’t see how they will be able to handle this change down the road.

  8. Barbara Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    My boss and I would love this. I’d like to taper off rather than quit cold turkey.

    My agency used to offer a gradual retirement program which basically allowed you to work part-time (3-4 days work, 1-2 days LWOP) as a full-time employee and not screw up the pension. It’s a chance to get used to not coming to work everyday and also to get used to a lower income.

    The partial retirement or phased retirement sounds like the same thing except you get paid retirement benefits for the days you don’t work.

    I wonder about OPM’s ability to implement a new program quickly.

  9. Mike Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I might be interested but need specifics on the financial aspects. For instance, how would health insurance premiums work? What about ability to continue pre-tax TSP and catch-up contributions and at what limits? What about Roth IRA contributions? Would I still be eligible for the full transit subsidy?

  10. Mike Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    continued — what about annual and sick leave? Would it continue to be earned and at what rate? How would unused leave earned during semi-retirement be credited toward retirement?

  11. Bob Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    This has potential for addressing gaps in knowledge created by poor succession planning.

  12. Bonnie Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    if they offer to postal management definately count me in. I am to hyper to just call it quits all at once.

  13. Suzanne Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I would like to try it, however, I agree with the other comments– I have doubts about how it would be for line staff who might be expected to “accomplish the job” regardless of how many hours it takes. Presently, most staff in my office cannot get the job done in 40 hours –more like 50-60 per week. We have no protections, so who is to say we wouldn’t be on the books as ‘half-time’ but have to put in 30-35 hours to get it done?

  14. Gator Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 1:26 am

    This is a wonderful idea!. I would love to be able to us this time to teach my younger co-workers the ins and outs of our program. But! it will have to be supported by management or it will never work. I would like to work tues-thur and have a four day weekend ever week. Heck, my wife might even let me do that… LOL

  15. nnifer Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I would consider this, depending on my personal circumstances in 5 years. So many people don’t give enough thought to retirement – how to fill the hours with meaningful activities. This offers a chance to still give back and mentor others yet have more downtime for personal leisure and get some pay. Think about how many retirees actually seek some kind of part-time work after they retire, whether to make ends meet or to stave off boredom.

  16. Laurie K Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I might be interested, since I don’t have a plan with what to do if I’m fully retired. However, I am cautious as well due to the OPM backlog of getting retirees paid. With this phased in retirment, there is no lump sum annual leave received to get you through until OPM does pay you, so you’d have to live on part-time income in the meantime.

  17. Lee Capraro Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Absolutely! I’d start tomorrow.

  18. Susan Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I cannot image a scenario where this would be good for anyone. If you run the numbers, your annual salary for part time work + partial retirement annuity is less than a full time retirement. Why would anyone choose to continue working for less pay?

  19. Lori Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I think that this is an option which should be available. I do believe that many employees would pursue this option. Like everything else, it would depend on the individual’s circumstances. But it definitely would be ascribed to.

  20. Rich S. Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Subject bill is not appealing to me. For example an employee who has a high 3 earnings of $80K with 36yrs, 11 months service would earn $56K in full retirement (70% of high three). If he takes a phased retirement on a half time basis, he would be paid half of both. So half of $80K and half of $56K would total $68K. The participant would be earning $12K more than his retirement pay and have to work 1040 hours a year (half time). That’s about $11/hr! That’s not a good deal for a guy making close to $40/hr.
    If the government wants an experienced, part-time mentor, let the employee retire and the government can hire him back for part time work at a fair wage. The worker gets a fair deal and the government saves one half a man year of labor cost. This bill heavily favors the government at the employee’s expense

  21. Bob Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:53 am

    What about LEOs, would it apply to these also? It may seem like an option, managers will be worried about losing FTEs to fill coveted openings with younger, more energetic workers. Of course if the G is not giving out FTEs like it used to then it’s more viable. For LEOs it would have to be purely an advisor role because cases are too time intensive to work at them a couple days a week especially if you got a call out on the case. I’d be concerned about amended retirement calculations with the current 8 month waiting time to receive the first pension check for retirees the G would probably screw it up even more and end up miscalculating benefits. The private sector phases in retirement allowing forms to be completed along the way and waiting time for first check has been a few weeks to no interruption. The delay is mind boggling.

  22. Far West Fed Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I think that a substantial number of employees will eventually take this, if FEHB and FEGLI participation are not altered. Additionally, if I read the bill correctly, it allows employees to take phased retirement for at least one year, and then upon full retirement place the entire annual leave lump sum payment tax deferred into their TSP account. If that made the final cut, that would be a huge incentive. But I don’t see how creating a part time workforce of advancing age really will benefit the government in the long term.

  23. Sulley Says:
    July 11th, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I don’t think the phased retirement proposal makes much sense for many FERSers who elect it before age 62, as doing so would lock most of one’s service into a lower annuity multiplier (one percent of high-3 for each year of service prior to taking phased retirement, 1.1 percent for each year at 62 and above). If my agency allowed me to work part-time, I would do so without taking phased retirement until I reached age 62. I wouldn’t want to find myself still working at that age and not getting the 1.1 % multiplier upon final retirement.

  24. dokein Says:
    August 17th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I’m still quite a few years from MRA, and can’t imagine staying any longer than required, even on a part-time schedule. But if they were to allow phased EARLY retirement, I’d definitely be interested… Even if it was just an entitlement to take a certain fraction of LWOP if desired during the last five years or so before MRA.

  25. Cheapshot Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Employee makes 100K if employee retires at 70% employee would receive 70K, under phased retirement employee receives 50% of retirement 35K, and receives 50% of pay 50K. Employee receives 85K for working 20 hours a week, seems like a no brainer. And employee has not had a raise in 3 years, but does receive a COLA on the 50% retirement, getting a raise each year, a meager rasie but a raise.