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House panel approves bill allowing semi-retirements

Apr. 19, 2012 - 03:38PM   |  

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow employees to work part-time at the end of their careers while earning partial pensions.

HR 4363, the Federal Employee Phased Retirement Act, introduced by committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., passed by a unanimous voice vote.

The committee also approved an amendment by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., that would allow the part-time retirees to transfer unused annual leave into their Thrift Savings Plan accounts once they fully retire.

Last month, the Senate passed a transportation bill containing the phased retirement provision, 74-22.

If the provision becomes law, it will represent a significant change in how federal employees and agencies plan for retirement. Instead of abruptly moving from full employment to full retirement, older employees would be able to ease into retirement over several months or even a few years.

The Obama administration, which proposed phased retirement as part of its fiscal 2013 budget proposal, hopes it will alleviate the government's "brain drain" by giving employees with decades of experience more time to pass on their expertise and wrap up crucial projects.

Employees phasing into retirement would be required to spend at least 20 percent of their working hours mentoring younger employees.

Employees would have to be eligible to retire and must have worked full time for the preceding three years to elect phased retirement.

The committee also approved:

HR 538, the Federal Customer Service Enhancement Act, which would require the Office of Management and Budget to create customer service standards and hold agencies accountable for meeting them.

HR 4365, which clarifies that Thrift Savings Plan accounts are subject to certain federal tax levies.

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