GAO: Agencies rarely use waiver to bring back retired feds at full pay

Rehired federal employees who draw annuity payments could be paid full salaries as well, despite a rule against it, but agencies are rarely using their waiver power, GAO finds.

Many retired federal employees, already drawing annuity payments, decide at some point to return to work. And although agencies have the authority to waive a requirement to deduct the annuity amount from the salary, few are taking advantage of it, according a report the Government Accountability Office submitted to two congressional committees. 

To address some of the challenges in hiring and retaining talent in a time of increased retirements, federal agencies have sought to rehire retired government employees. Typically, when retirees are rehired their salary is subject to a deduction in the amount of the annuity. Under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010, agencies are able to waive this requirement on a temporary basis to allow for dual compensation of the salary and annuity as necessary.

GAO officials set out to determine which and to what extent agencies used the waiver, and talked to officials at the Office of Personnel Management, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Small Business Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, Treasury Department and the U.S. Postal Service. 

The findings, published in a report titled "Reemployment of Retirees: Six Agencies’ Use of Dual Compensation Waiver Authority is Limited," showed the NDAA waiver authority wasn’t widely used in any of the six agencies. Treasury made the most use of the authority, but still in a limited fashion: 167 waivers in fiscal year 2010 and 214 waivers in fiscal year 2011.

USPS used the authority just once in fiscal 2010, while three agencies didn’t use it all.

In commenting on the report, NRC Executive Director for Operations R.W. Borchardt acknowledged the limited use of the authority but added the agency “nonetheless finds this a valuable human capital tool and hope that we continue to enjoy access to it.”

 


 

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