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By Judith Welles

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From retiring to rehiring: An insider's guide

Judging from the comments I’ve received on my recent blog post about “bridge retirements,” the idea of allowing retirees to return to government jobs part-time with no loss of annuity is a winner. In response, I looked for more details on the provision in the recently-enacted 2010 Defense Authorization Act, especially on any limitations.

First, the provision takes effect immediately. Agencies have the authority right now, with the bill’s enactment, to hire federal retirees without any reduction in salary to offset pension benefits.

But in reality, how quickly agencies act on that authority will depend on whether they have vacancies to fill, funding to use and a need for people with critical skills. Agencies also might want to wait until the Office of Personnel Management provides some guidance.

No one should wait too long, however. In the next five years, 60 percent of federal employees will be eligible to retire. Agencies may need to use the new provision and hire skilled retirees sooner than they thought.

“This is among many tools available to enable agencies to respond to workforce needs and fill critical positions” said Dan Adcock, legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employee association. NARFE and the Federal Managers Association advocated strongly for the retirement changes in the bill.

Adcock spelled out the specific limits on hours a re-hired retiree can work without any salary offset. The legislation permits no more than 520 hours during the first six months of service; no more than 1,040 hours in any 12 month period; and no more than 3,020 hours as a lifetime limit. Basically, that’s part-time work for three years.

Some agencies already have programs allowing retirees to be rehired without a salary offset for an annuity, but only with a waiver from OPM.

The largest current program is at the Defense Department which, under the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act, provided the Pentagon with specific re-employment authorities, including the ability to waive salary offsets without going to OPM. The defense program limits appointments to 2,087 hours (that adds up to one year full-time service or two years part-time).

Posted by Judith Welles on Nov 10, 2009 at 12:12 PM

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Reader comments

Thu, Nov 12, 2009

This is a great option for agencies who are forced to terminate firefighters and law enforcement personnel at the age of 57, even if they are still functioning and want to work. We have lost so many skilled workers because of the mandatory FF & LE retirement, so glad to see that we can bring our skilled workers back, even if it is part time.

Thu, Nov 12, 2009

I retired in 01/07. I have been waiting for his part time law since then. Would I be eligible to be re-hired as a PT employee under this provision? I read somewhere where it seemed like it only applied to employees retiring now. What is correct? Thanks so much.

Thu, Nov 12, 2009

this program is a joke and should be carefully reviewed. It's a "good old boy network" in terms of who gets hired. Sour grapes you say? Nope, just needs some review and they will see for themselves!!

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