Lawmakers Pressure OPM to Begin Phased Retirement

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

This story has been updated with comment from OPM. 

A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers is ramping up pressure on the Office of Personnel Management to put out final guidance that would allow federal employees to partially retire while training their successors.

Four Democrats and two Republicans wrote a letter to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta and Office of Management and Budget acting Director Brian Deese calling the agency’s delay in implementing final phased retirement regulations unacceptable. The lawmakers asked for a specific date to expect the final rule and offered to assist in OPM’s efforts.

“As you may be aware, many federal employees have given up hope that OPM will ever take final actions,” Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.; Jim Moran, D-Va.; Rob Wittman, R-Va.; and Frank Wolf, R-Va., wrote in the letter. “These employees are choosing to completely retire in frustration that they will never have the opportunity to support their agencies in mentoring and training the next generation of civil servants on a part-time basis.”

The Office of Personnel Management issued a proposed rule in June 2013 outlining the new option for eligible federal employees who want to partially retire, collecting prorated pension payments and working part-time for the government. The so-called phased retirement provision, included in the 2012 transportation reauthorization act, allows eligible federal employees to work 20 hours per week, receiving half their pay as well as half their retirement annuity.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote a separate letter to Archuleta last week charging her specifically with finalizing regulations “in a timely manner.”

“It has been two years since enactment of the statutory authority, and one year since proposed regulations were issued,” Issa wrote. “This raises concerns that OPM is unnecessarily delaying the rule and impeding the law from being carried out as Congress intended.” Issa asked for an explanation for the delay by July 14.

An OPM spokeswoman said the agency hoped to issue a final rule by the end of September.

“We are working hard on the phased retirement rule, and hope that it will be completed in fiscal year 2014,” the spokeswoman said. “Most importantly, we want to make sure we get it right.”

Virtually all stakeholders consider phased retirement a win-win: Uncle Sam gets to keep valuable employees -- who are required to spend 20 percent of their time training and mentoring their replacements -- for a bit longer, and partially-retired employees will earn more money than they would by fully retiring, or simply working part-time.

The group of six House members said their constituents have found OPM’s tone on phased retirement “dismissive and condescending.”

“What they want to know, what we want to know, is when will the regulations be issued?” the lawmakers wrote. “The wait has been too long already.”  

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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