Going part-time: What are your odds, options?

After seemingly hibernating in the land of the lost, Uncle Sam's phased retirement program is popping up all over, says Senior Correspondent Mike Causey.

After seemingly hibernating  in the land of the lost, Uncle Sam’s phased retirement program is popping up all over. And the government’s giant operations like Defense, Homeland Security  and Veterans Affairs have yet to be heard from.

The phased retirement program is up and running at the Library of Congress. Environmental Protection Agency personnel got word last week that the program is coming soon.

Earlier, we said that the Office of Personnel Management had left it up to agencies to develop their own programs —within the framework authorized by Congress. One issue is how long individuals will be able to work/mentor on a part-time basis. It appears that will vary — from as little as six months to as much as three years — depending on each agency’s final guidelines. Another sticking point is the definition of “mentoring”. While that may strike some people at nitpicking, feds know that the program will be under congressional scrutiny and that somewhere down the road people may be grilled by a hostile congressional committee.

Housing and Urban Development’s phased retirement program is being checked out by several other agencies. Some have said it’s the most detailed and best guidance they’ve seen. It also tackles the definition of mentoring, calling it “a process that focuses specifically on providing guidance, direction and career advice, which includes a wide range of activities that allow for the transfer of knowledge and skills from one employee to another.” Union officials said they have been given the details of HUD’s phased retirement program:


  • Phased Retirement is not an entitlement and is entirely voluntary. The employee must have achieved a minimum rating of fully successful on their most recent annual performance evaluation.
  • The operational needs of the unit do not require the employee to work in excess of a part-time (50 percent) work schedule.
  • The staffing level is sufficient to accommodate the part-time work schedule of the phased retiree.
  • The employee has experience knowledge and/or skills essential to the organization and mission that need to be conveyed to others.
  • The employee is capable of being mentor.
  • If the applicant is a supervisor or manager – a deputy must be available or other qualified employee (who can perform the duties in an acting capacity), within the unit for the remaining percentage of the employee’s fulltime work hours.
  • Time limits may be set for any period up to a maximum of one year.  Additional time may be authorized by the approving office when an official request from the employee is received at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the time limit agreement. The maximum time an employee may participate in phased retirement under the HUD program will be three years.

Nearly Useless Factoid:

By Michael O’Connell

The tallest tree in the world is a giant redwood nicknamed “Hyperion.” Located in a remote corner of Redwood National Park, the tree stands 379 feet, 4 inches tall.

Source: NPR

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