The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: If someone is receiving a retention allowance because they have a needed skill, training and credentials, why is the retention allowance not considered part of their salary for retirement purposes?

Reg’s Response: Because it’s an allowance - like a bonus - whose sole purpose is to encourage someone to either come to work for an agency or, if already onboard, to stay on the job.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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