NARFE chief prods top HR officials on phased retirement

The leader of a leading federal employees group is urging the government's top human resources official to help move along the implementation of phased retirement.

The leader of a leading federal employees group is urging the government's top human resources official to help move along the implementation of phased retirement.

Richard Thissen, national president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, directed the request to Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta in her capacity as chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council.

"In your positions as the chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and director of the Office of Personnel Management, you are in a unique position to both encourage agencies to utilize this tool, and track agency usage," Thissen wrote in a May 28 letter.

As Thissen noted in the letter, OPM did not issue final regulations and guidance for phased retirement until 2014—two years after it was signed into law—and in the time since those regulations were issued, the long-anticipated program still remains largely unimplemented.

"It has been nearly three years since the law passed and NARFE is aware of only one agency that has offered phased retirement to its employees," Thissen wrote. "After the law passed, and to this day, NARFE members continue to contact our offices, wondering when phased retirement will be available at their agency. Many said they were delaying retirement decisions until their employing agency provided more information on phased retirement options."

Thissen noted the keen interest those long-time employees had in passing knowledge on to successors while working part-time.

"Unfortunately, most of them have since retired, taking vast institutional knowledge with them, as their agency has not yet implemented phased retirement," Thissen wrote.

The NARFE chief asked Archuleta to work with members of the CHCO Council to find out when their agencies will implement phased retirement, and to make that information public. NARFE represents about 5 million federal employees and retirees, according to the organization.

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