More Agencies Offer Buyouts and Early Retirement

soo hee kim/Shutterstock.com

The Environmental Protection Agency will offer buyout incentives to thousands of employees, offering workers up to $25,000 to separate from the organization.

The cash-strapped agency will target employees from its regional offices to trim its workforce, though some workers at “headquarters-type offices” will also receive separation incentives, according to a union official.  

EPA is currently finalizing its incentive packages with the Office of Personnel Management, according to Karen Kellen, president of the local American Federation of Government Employees union that represents EPA employees. Kellen expects OPM later this week to approve the packages, which were submitted by all but three of EPA’s regions and offices.

The packages include both buyouts -- which offer varying cash separation incentives up to $25,000 depending on length of service to employees who have worked in federal government at least three years -- and early retirement incentives, which do not offer payments but allow employees to collect retirement benefits earlier than otherwise allowed.

The EPA was particularly hard hit by sequestration in 2013, forcing employees to take six unpaid furlough days. The agency was appropriated $8.2 billion in fiscal 2014, a $300 million boost from its spending cap last year but still $143 million less than its pre-sequestration level. EPA has seen its appropriations cut by more than 20 percent since 2010.

EPA’s Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sent an agency-wide email to announce the buyouts, according to Greenwire, saying the more targeted approach would benefit the agency more than its previous attrition efforts.

“This approach has been difficult to manage because of the unpredictable nature of attrition, and it has challenged our ability to acquire new talent, build diversity in our staff, develop new skills and provide all of the necessary tools to do the job of protecting human health and the environment," Perciasepe wrote in the email. "We can and must make long-term changes to support you and the vital work you do for the American people."

Kellen did not find this argument comforting.

“There’s only so much restructuring you can do,” she told Government Executive. “At a certain point we just can’t do everything we’re supposed to do with the number of employees we have.”

Kellen expects hundreds of employees to accept the separation incentives, but predicted EPA would fall short of its goal.

More Reductions

The Broadcasting Board of Governors will also offer buyout and early retirement incentives to its employees in February.

The agency received “voluntary early retirement authority” that will allow employees at least 50 years old with 20 years of federal service, or any employee with at least 25 years in federal government, to retire at any point through Sept. 30, 2015.

OPM also granted buyout authority to BBG, which would, similar to EPA, provide employees up to $25,000 to separate from the agency. The buyout window opened Jan. 30 and will close Feb. 14. Employees must leave the agency by Feb. 28 and can, if eligible, combine the early retirement and buyout incentives. The buyouts are specifically targeting employees at Voice of America, the International Broadcasting Bureau and a few other offices, though every employee may apply, according to an agency memo obtained by Government Executive.

“Buyouts and early outs are ways to work to help out workforce evolve as we adjust our operations in a challenging fiscal climate and adapt to rapid technology changes while serving our global audience,” said Tish King, a BBG spokeswoman.

King added there was no way to predict how many employees will apply for a buyout, but only 34 workers did so in 2013 during its last buyout opportunity

(Image via soo hee kim/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.