June 28, 2012

NTEU: Federal Employees, Agencies Will Benefit From Phased Retirement Option
The inclusion of phased retirement for the federal workforce in the new transportation bill (H.R. 4348) is a welcome option for federal employees and agencies said the leader of the nation’s largest independent federal union.

“This is a workforce management tool that allows a great deal of flexibility,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). “Under phased retirement, the employee continues to serve the agency and the public on a part-time basis and the agencies retain incredibly valuable knowledge and expertise.”

With this provision, that was included in the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget request and which received bipartisan congressional support, federal agencies will have the opportunity to permit employees who are eligible for retirement to work a reduced schedule while simultaneously collecting a portion of their retirement benefit. The employees would continue to earn retirement benefits for their part-time service and continue to be eligible to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan.

“The federal government is facing a retirement wave but many of these eligible workers are not ready to step completely out of the workforce. They have experience, knowledge and great insight to share with younger employees and phased retirement is a great way to manage that transition,” Kelley added.

Kelley also noted that she was pleased to see Congress use more appropriate measures to pay for the transportation legislation, rather than turning once again to federal employees who have already contributed $60 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years from the ongoing two-year pay freeze and an another $15 billion in pension contributions to offset a temporary extension of unemployment benefits. Early consideration of the transportation legislation included attempts to fund the bill by increasing federal retirement contributions and cutting benefits.

“NTEU fought efforts to pay for the transportation bill, and the student loan rate reduction which is included in this measure, by dipping into federal employees’ pockets. We were successful in our efforts, and we will continue to oppose future efforts to use the federal workforce as a ‘piggy bank’ to fund legislation,” Kelley said.

NTEU represents about 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

Phased Retirement Q & A