Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers want to pay feds more to leave government

Senate lawmakers have proposed a section of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act that would raise the caps on buyouts for feds to leave government service.

Currently, feds who choose to voluntarily resign or retire early from an agency looking to reduce staffing levels can receive a voluntary separation incentive payment of no more than $25,000. Under the Senate bill, that cap would be extended to $40,000.

This is not the first time that lawmakers have proposed to increase maximum buyout for feds, as the FY18 NDAA also included a similar provision that ultimately did not survive the negotiation process.

However, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee report, the maximum buyout hasn’t increased since it was first authorized in 2002.

The Trump administration has made significant efforts to reduce the size of the federal workforce, placing a four-month long hiring freeze on federal agencies in early 2017 and calling for policies that would make it easier to fire poorly performing feds. More attractive separation pay may prove the least disruptive method for reducing the size of the federal workforce.

The buyout provision is not included in the House version of the NDAA.

Military Times Capitol Hill bureau chief Leo Shane III contributed to this report.

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