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Lawmakers demand final phased retirement rules

Jul. 9, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
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Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., is one of six lawmakers who signed a letter urging faster progress on rules for phased retirement (Getty Images)

Some lawmakers are tired of waiting for the Office of Personnel Management to finalize rules on phased retirement and are pushing for the agency to take action.

Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., Rob Wittman, D-Va., Jim Moran, D-Va., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter to OPM and the Office of Management and Budget that the sluggishness on the phased-retirement rules was “unacceptable.”

Under OPM’s draft plan released in 2013, employees who are eligible for retirement and meet other requirements could work half-time while getting half of their pension. As they continue to work, phased retirees will continue to accrue service credit toward their final pensions.

While on the job, they will have to spend 20 percent of their time in “mentoring activities,” ideally with the employees who will take over for them when they leave for good.

The agency has said it is working hard to finalize a rule by the end of September, but federal employee groups have been pushing the agency to hurry up.

The lawmakers wrote in the letter that OPM contributed to a five-month delay to the final rules and that many federal employees have given up any hope that phased retirement will be finalized soon.

“These employees are choosing to completely retire in frustration that they will never have the opportunity to support their agencies in mentoring and training the next generation of civil servants on a part-time basis,” the lawmakers wrote.

The agency should state when they plan to finalize phased-retirement regulations and do it as quickly as possible, the lawmakers wrote. “The wait has been too long already,” they wrote in the letter.■

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