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Federal-employee union wants broader eligibility for phased-retirement program

The National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement on Tuesday that more federal workers should be able to qualify for the “phased retirement” program, which Congress and President Obama approved last year.

The Office of Personnel Management plans to complete guidelines for the program by the end of the year. The NTEU is pushing to make changes to the draft rules before the Aug. 5 deadline for submitting comments.

The labor union expressed concern that the proposed guidelines would limit phased-retirement eligibility to employees with 20 or more years of service with the federal government. “NTEU supports broadening the eligibility,” said the group’s president, Colleen M. Kelley.

The NTEU also took issue with a proposed rule that would require workers to spend at least 20 percent of their part-time employment on mentoring, saying the policy wouldn’t make sense for all the participants at a time when the government is trimming its workforce.

Kelley said the guidelines should “allow agencies to waive the mentoring requirement when severe budget restrictions prevent an agency from hiring new employees.”

The NTEU also called for the creation of an appeals system that would allow employees to challenge adverse decisions about their eligibility for phased-retirement.

Phased retirements could reduce the federal deficit by $200 million over the next four years, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which calculated the effects last year for an analysis of proposed legislation.

An article from the Post’s Eric Yoder explains the phased-retirement concept in greater detail.

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