A TSA officer briefs a passenger in Atlanta in 2011.

A TSA officer briefs a passenger in Atlanta in 2011. David Goldman/AP file photo

TSA Offers Early Retirement to Workers

Eligible employees must leave agency by Dec. 31 to take advantage of the incentive.

The Transportation Security Administration is now offering early retirement to eligible employees, an agency spokeswoman confirmed on Monday.

TSA has authority from the Office of Personnel Management to use the early outs through Nov. 30, 2015, to help streamline operations. The agency opened the current round on June 18 to eligible employees. Those who take the early out in this round must leave their jobs by Dec. 31.

In addition to becoming “a more efficiently structured and optimally run organization,” TSA needs to realign its workforce at several airports “as the agency implements more risk-based security strategies and procedures,” wrote TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein in an email.   

To be eligible for a Voluntary Early Retirement Authorization (early out), employees must have 20 years of service and be at least 50 years old, or have at least 25 years of service -- this applies to those covered under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System. Buyouts, or Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, are cash incentives of up to $25,000 for eligible employees and can be offered along with an early out or separately.

TSA is just offering early outs in this round.

Not all employees are eligible for the early outs, even if they meet the criteria regarding years of service and age.

According to Farbstein’s email, employees may not apply for voluntary early retirement if they are serving in one of the following positions or specialties:

  • Federal Air Marshal (Federal Law Enforcement) or Supervisory Federal Air Marshal, series 1801;
  • Employees assigned to job titles of Intelligence Operations Specialist, Senior Intelligence Operations Specialist, or Supervisory Intelligence Operations Specialist, series 0132;
  • Employees assigned to job titles of Contract Specialist, Supervisory Contracts Specialist, Contracts Administration Specialist, Contracting Officers Technical Representative, Procurement Specialist, or Acquisition, series 1101 and 1102.  

Eligible employees also must have worked at TSA continuously since March 5, 2014. Employees who are serving under time-limited appointments, or are involuntarily separated from the agency for misconduct or unsatisfactory performance, are not eligible for an early out.

Buyouts and early outs have not been as prevalent this year as they were in 2012 and 2013 because of sequestration taking effect. Congress partially repealed the 10-year automatic budget cuts for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015, but agencies will be looking for ways to find savings before the reprieve is up.

The Government Printing Office just announced it planned to offer buyouts. Other agencies that have offered the incentives this year so far include the Environmental Protection Agency and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Check our Buyout Watch for updates.