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Federal Eye
Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 05/18/2012

Phased retirement plan falls out of defense bill

The House has set aside a proposal to allow federal employees to phase into retirement, a plan some see as an innovative cost-saving measure that could also allow older staff members the opportunity to help train younger ones.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) offered the proposal as an amendment to the defense spending bill, but the amendment was not among those accepted by the Rules Committee for consideration during House floor voting this week.

The plan, initially proposed by the Obama administration, would allow retirees to continue to work for the government part-time while receiving both a prorated annuity and a prorated salary.

The proposal has made progress on other avenues, however, having passed theSenate in March as an amendment to a transportation bill. In April the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved it as a freestanding bill with bipartisan support.

“I will continue to push for this TSP/phased retirement proposal to become law whether that is in the form of other legislation or as a stand-alone bill,” Lynch said in a statement. “The TSP lump sum transfer proposal is popular in the private sector and will bring parity for retiring federal workers.  The  phased retirement option is a very basic and commonsense feature that will save taxpayers millions and will allow us to retain our most skilled and experienced workers.”

Under the proposal, phased retirement would be offered at management’s discretion. Eligible retirees typically would work half-time, collecting half of the annuity they have accumulated plus half of the salary for the position. However, with agency approval they could work between 20 percent and 80 percent of the time, with both the annuity and the salary adjusted accordingly.

Currently, with some exceptions, federal retirees who return to work for the government receive their full annuity but have their salaries reduced by that amount.

Another part of the proposed amendment would have allowed employees who separate from the government for retirement or other reasons to invest in the Thrift Savings Plan the value of unused annual leave due to them.

That language also was part of the bill passed last month by the oversight committee, and further was included in a spending-cutting bill that passed the House last week, but that the Senate does not plan to consider.

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This post has been updated since it was first published.

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 05/18/2012

 
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