Office of Personnel Management -- The agency that monitors federal personnel actions, layoffs and furloughs -- will give out layoff notices today to more than 200 of its 3,100 staffers here.
Most OPM workers who escape firing will be put on furloughs of up to 22 days beginning early next month.
OPM is one of many federal agencies hit with a 16 percent spending cut for this fiscal year. Many other departments are planning RIFs and/or furloughs but are holding them up, in hopes Congress will give them more money. OPM and the General Services Administration, however, did not appeal their cuts. GSA, with 12,000 people here, already has fired 235 people and is planning furloughs later this year.
Census Bureau next week begins 10-day furloughs (one day per pay period) for most of its 3,800 people here. Census also is planning to RIF about 450 people, most of them from the Washington area.
Department of Transportation in late January issued RIF notices to 237 of its 1,100 workers in the Office of the Secretary, and officials estimate that 113 will be fired, the rest demoted.
Turnover at OPM has been heavy--about 180 departures--the last two months. Some workers, anxious to avoid furloughs that amount to a 10 percent pay cut, are hunting for jobs in the RIF-proof Department of Defense.
OPM is offering many long-time workers the option of retiring early between now and March 25. Federal agencies can let workers retire on immediate annuities if they have 25 years' service or if they are at least age 50 with 20 years' service--subject to the approval of OPM.
OPM's self-approved early-out offer does not apply to many low-level clerical workers, lawyers, computer types or people involved in claims processing or handling vouchers.