Federal Employees News Digest

DOD phased retirement policies debut

The Defense Department last week released guidelines for its phased retirement program

According to the policies outlined in the memorandum, which became effective June 21, those eligible for DOD phased retirement include: (1) Civil Service Retirement System employees who are at least age 55, and eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service; or who are at least 60 with at least 20 years of service; (2) Federal Employees Retirement System employees eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service, and who have reached minimum retirement age (55 to 57, depending on birth year), or who have at least 20 years of service and are at least 60 years old.

Those employees also must have been employed on a full-time basis for at least a consecutive three-year period ending on the effective date of entry into phased retirement status.

The directive noted that employees who qualify for retirement under the special retirement program for law enforcement officers, firefighters, nuclear materials couriers, and air traffic controllers are not eligible for the program.

With rare exceptions, employees in the program will work half the number of hours worked before entering phased retirement, and will spend 20 percent of their time in mentoring activities.

To apply, eligible employees need to complete and submit Standard Form 3116, “Phased Employment/Phased Retirement Status Elections,” along with any appropriate documentation, to an authorized DOD component official—who must approve the application in writing and establish a time limit for the period of phased retirement. If the application is approved, the employee then will work with his or her human resources office to transition into phased retirement status.

DOD components will decide whether or not to grant phased retirement to an employee based on a range of criteria, such as whether an employee holds a mission critical or emergency essential position, or has knowledge that needs to be transferred, among others factors.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association National President Richard Thissen, himself an Army Department retiree, applauded the new policies.

“Since phased retirement became law four years ago, NARFE’s phones have rung off the hook with calls from federal employees wondering when phased retirement will be available at their agencies,” Thissen said in a statement. “While this is long overdue, I’m pleased that I now can tell employees at the Department of Defense that phased retirement is available to them.

“For many other federal employees, however, this news will add to their frustration because the future of phased retirement at many agencies is still uncertain,” he added. “In recent weeks, the Commerce Department also announced it will implement phased retirement. I urge every federal agency to join DOD, Commerce and a handful of other federal agencies and embrace this innovative human resources tool.”

See the memorandum at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/DTM-16-004.pdf.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
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