“Our HR folks sent out an email to all employees with an overview about phased retirement. The actual process of applying is daunting: 5 or 6 different forms going to different places and agencies. First your supervisor has to agree and write a justification, then it gets sent to next-level management, which also has to sign off. Then it goes to a panel that consists of an SES/a lawyer/two other panel members. That being said it is a bit much to apply. However, my real issue is only 2 employees in all of my department have been accepted into the program. Really?? It’s like they really don’t want employees to pursue the benefit at all. Why offer it, if you are not going to approve people to use it? I would have loved to work part time 20 hours a week for a year to ease into retirement.”
I’m sorry that you’ve had such a hard time. While phased retirement is an option provided by law, it’s up to each agency (and within an agency to its sub-units) to decide if granting such a request is in their interest. Unfortunately, that authority has been of more interest to employees than it has been to managers.
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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, 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.