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Federal managers lack information about partial retirement options, survey finds

Agencies are not preparing for skilled worker exodus from mass retirements.

A majority of federal managers are under- or misinformed on their partial retirement options, according to a new survey.

Eighty-six percent of federal supervisors plan to retire within the next 15 years, according to a survey from Government Business Council, Government Executive’s research arm. But 50 percent of respondents said they don’t know if their agency offers partial retirement. Eleven percent mistakenly said their agency already offers partial retirement, although the option is not yet available.

Partial, or phased, retirement allows eligible federal employees to work part time while collecting prorated pension payments. Partial retirees are required to spend at least 20 percent of their part-time employment on mentoring new workers. Congress passed a bill in June creating the option for partial retirement, but it has not yet taken effect.

In addition to a dearth of accurate information, there appears to be a lack of interest in the option, as only 10 percent of respondents said they would be interested in partial retirement. Eighteen percent said they would like to work part time or temporarily for a different employer after they retire from government.

The survey may suggest agencies make greater efforts to educate their employees on the partial retirement option, as nearly six in 10 managers said their agency has no plans -- or they did not know what the plans were -- to deal with the “skills exodus” created by mass retirements.

GBC surveyed 1,075 General Schedule 11 or higher federal employees and Senior Executive Service supervisors from Sept. 5 through Sept. 14.

(Image via Aromant/

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