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Changes to TSP Withdrawal Rules on Track for September, OPM Highlights Reskilling Tools and More

A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.

Officials with the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program have announced that a law signed in 2017 to make it easier for participants to manage their investments will be implemented officially on Sept. 15.

In a bulletin posted on May 17, the Thrift Savings Plan stated that it will have completed the work to implement the 2017 TSP Modernization Act. That means beginning this fall, federal employees and retirees will be able to make multiple age-based withdrawals from their TSP accounts and remain eligible for partial withdrawals after they leave government.

Additionally, those who have left government will be able to make multiple partial post-separation withdrawals. And annuitants will be able to change the amount and frequency of TSP payments at any time, instead of only once per year.

Officials said additional information will be made available later this year to help HR and payroll offices implement the changes at the agency level.

Meanwhile, the Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday announced a new series of tools to help agencies and federal employees engage in reskilling as part of the effort to modernize the workforce.

In a memo to agency heads, Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert announced the Accelerating the Gears of Transformation initiative, which she said would “guide leaders, managers and employees as we modernize our workplaces, consistent with merit system principles.”

The effort is composed of three main tools: the Executive Playbook for Workforce Reshaping, a document to help agency leaders to develop evidence-based decisions on how to do workforce planning; a reskilling toolkit for HR officials and employees to design opportunities for workers; and guidance on change management, which offers advice to managers to guide their employees through transition periods at agencies.

“As technology like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence are introduced into the workplace, employees require new skills that include technical knowledge blended with social or ‘people’ skills,” Weichert wrote. “Agency leaders, managers, human resources professionals and employees can work together to prepare the workforce for new types of jobs and skills that will be needed as automation rapidly changes the way we work.”

The notion of reskilling within the federal workforce has been a priority of Weichert’s since the unveiling of President Trump’s management agenda. The administration said last year that upwards of 60% of federal jobs could see a portion of their duties automated in the coming years, and 5% of positions could be eliminated altogether as agencies implement automation.

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