Health, Education and Welfare finally has been given permission to offer early retirement to many of its senior workers in Grades 12 and above.

HEW is the largest federal operation in Washington. The early-out will benefit many employes in headquarters units here at Social headquarters in Baltimore. Jobs that open up because of the early-out will mean promotions for some employes, and make it easier for HEW to avoid layoffs or demotions of less senior workers as it reorganizes.

The early-out will run for a 120-day period, which began April 26 when the three Civil Service commissioners gave HEW the special retirement authority it has been seeking for several months. CSC approved it on grounds that HEW is undergoing a major RIF (reduction-in-force) and the retirement nudge is needed to protect jobs of younger, short-service workers.

During the limited earlier out, many HEW employes will be able to quit sooner than is normally allowed by law and draw immediate pensions. In addition to the requirement that they be in Grade 12 and above ($21,883) or equivalent, employes must be 50 with 20 years of service, or can retire at any age with 25 years of U.S. service. Pensions will be reduced for each year the retiring worker is under age 55.

Federal agencies cannot offer the early-out on their own. They must get approval from CSC, which, by law, is stingy with them. They can only be granted when a major layoff is in process or in the works. HEW requested the early-out several months ago, but CSC kept asking officials for more data to justify it.

Not all HEW units will be allowed to offer the earlyout. Here are the offices, organizations and units that will allow eligible employes to retire early.

Office of the Secretary . . . Human Development Services . . . Health Care Financing Administration . . . Office-Assistant Secretary for Education . . . Institute for Museum Services . . . National Institutes of Education and NIH . . . Office of Child Support Enforcement . . . Social Security Administration headquarters . . . Regional SSA offices but not district and branch office, teleservice center or the Bureau of Headings andoffice, teleservice center or the Brueau of hearings and Appeals offices . . . SSA date processing centers . . . Office-Assistant Secretary for Health . . . Health Resources Administration . . . Center for Disease Control . . . Food and Drug Administration headquarters and Health Services Administration headquarters . . . Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Mental Health Administration.

To be eligible employes must meet the age and service requirements, be at Grade 12 or above and have been on the HEW payroll 30 days before Nov. 23, 1977 (when the request was first made). If you don't work for one of the units listed above, the early-out will not apply to you even if you meet all other requirements.

Civil Service Reforem From the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee session yesterday this report from Kathy Sawyer who has been covering the "reform" hearings.

Kenneth Blaylock of the American Federation of Government Employes is maintaining his lukewarm support of the Carter plan, while pressing for additional job protections for employes, an increased bargaining clout for unions.

Blaylock says the White House plan to shake up and streamline the civil service is, as recently modified, "on the whole meritorious" to workers and taxpayers. He said AFGE will continue to negotiate for more improvements.

Some independent unions have accused the giant AFGE of selling out to management in its support of the Carter plan. Blaylock, however, indicated yesterday that White House desires to keep the AFL-CIO on its side have been responsible for most of the major improvements, and concessions, to date.