Phased Federal Retirement Proposed to Offset ‘Brain Drain’

Susan Hall

The expected flood of federal retirements has not materialized, though a recent uptick has renewed fears about brain drain within the federal government.

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"It does seem to be emerging as more of a slow trickle as opposed to a massive opening of the water faucets," Peter Leeds, a senior research psychologist at the Merit Systems Protection Board's Office of Policy and Evaluation, told Federal News Radio.

It remains a concern, though, since nearly 80 percent of federal cyber security workers are over the age of 40 and a third of them will be eligible for retirement within the next three years. And though the Defense Department plans a massive boost in cyber security hiring, the Feds still struggle to attract and retain a new generation of workers.

New proposed rules from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued Wednesday, however, could help alleviate the brain drain, Nextgov reports.

The rules would allow for phased retirement, aiding in knowledge transfer and offering the potential to mentor younger workers.

Previously, retirement benefits often were higher than those available through part-time work. The new rules would pro-rate retirement benefits in a way to provide an economic incentive to stay on, but with reduced hours.

The employee “would receive more income than he or she would earn by simply changing to a part-time work schedule or by simply retiring, while continuing to share knowledge and expertise with the next generation of federal leaders via mentoring and role-modeling,” the OPM wrote in the Federal Register.

OPM is taking comments from the public on the proposed rules for 60 days.



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