USDA cuts buyout amount for employees slated to be relocated

Those employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who are scheduled to be reassigned outside of Washington, D.C., and were offered early buyouts, have been told to expect less than what they were originally offered.

Earlier this summer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that USDA will move more than 600 employees from the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to the Kansas City area.

Employees that are eligible for a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment or Voluntary Early Retirement Authority were offered $25,000 for their departure.

However, the agency, in a confirmation update, rescinded that offer.

“Due to the volume of applications and in an effort to afford all employees who applied the opportunity to receive the incentive payment, the amount approved for all applicants has changed from $25,000 to $10,000,” USDA wrote in the update, which is being distributed by the American Federation of Government Employees.

Those who are approved for a VSIP have until Aug. 26 to accept the buyout and must leave or retire from the agency between Sept. 16 and 27.

AFGE released a statement condemning the lower amount.

“Employees now have less than a week to decide whether to accept the reduced buyout, which also bars them for working at another federal agency for five years. Many of these employees have spent their careers devoted to agricultural research and furthering their agencies’ missions, and they deserve to be treated better than this.”

The Economic Research Service conducted a staff tally last month and found that most of employees slated to be relocated to Kansas City will decline the move.

With that in mind, AFGE said the agency had enough time to budget and plan accordingly.

2021 Digital Almanac

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