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Federal Employees News Digest : June 17, 2013
June 17, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 47 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com run the government at a level the citi- zens expect," Bythrow added, noting that the availability of the new program at career's end could also serve as a recruit- ing tool for new employees. "There's been a lot of interest from our members," Bythrow told FEND. "It's something that has really hit a nerve in people who were thinking about moving out that door [to retirement], but who just aren't sure yet whether it's the right financial move." "Under [the program,] you are con- sidered a part-time employee by your agency, so you're able to draw on your annuity," Bythrow said. "But also, based on the amount of time that you work, that amount of continued work time--- additional credit---counts toward your final annuity, too." The extra half-time work would count in the annuity formula in the form of "years worked," Bythrow explained. "Say, for example, you worked 20 hours a week, then that time would count toward your 'years worked' [for the govern- ment.]" "It's something many of our members are genuinely interested in," Bythrow said. Incoming employees also benefit "This is a net positive for younger workers," Bythrow told FEND, coun- tering the obvious question of wheth- er keeping the workplace attractive to older workers might discourage younger employees, or possibly slow the avail- ability of vacancies open to them. "Under the program, 20 percent of your time as a participant must be spent mentoring younger employees, those who are going to take your position in the future." "Phased retirement is going to be han- dled with care and tact," Bythrow contin- ued. "Not every employee is automatical- ly qualified to move into phased retire- ment. The whole idea is to keep around older employees who have needed skills, in order to teach younger workers." "If anything, it will give new, young employees more time to learn from the individual who was previously in their job," Bythrow said. "It will provide them more and better management training, directly from the source, rather than having to just learn from books, or from scratch." Preserving expertise Equally important, Bythrow noted, is that the new policy will help agencies across the federal government function better in a time of decreased resources--- and to more smoothly transition skills and leadership to a new generation. In fact, that is the government's main intent. As the draft rule notes: "The main purpose of phased retirement is to enhance mentoring and training of the employees who will be filling the posi- tions of more experienced employees who are preparing for full retirement." "It doesn't make much sense [as a man- ager] to have your oldest, most experi- enced employees---often with decades of institutional knowledge---be a full-time employee one day, and be out the door suddenly the next," Bythrow told FEND. "It just doesn't make sense in terms of an agency planning for its future." Bythrow noted that a lot of private corporations are "rolling with" today's economic turmoil by experimenting with similar innovative retirement pro- grams. "By giving older, more experienced employees a way to retire on their own terms, an agency avoids losing all that knowledge suddenly," Bythrow conclud- ed. "And on the employee side, workers are able to taper down to retirement--- while maintaining significant earned income and maintaining a high quality of life, and not having to report to work for eight or nine hours a day anymore." The comment period for the proposed rule ends Aug. 5. See the draft rule in full at: https://www.federalregister.gov/arti- cles/2013/06/05/2013-13182/phased- retirement#h-11. Senator wants details on deletion of VA records Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) last week asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide information on the reported loss of nearly a half million electronic records at a VA regional office in his state. In a June 10 letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Portman requested key details concerning the incident, which involved several hundred thousand electronic records containing informa- tion on active loans and other transac- tions. "My office has received news that the Cleveland Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs has deleted almost half a million electron- ic records which contain active loans, grants as well as applications," Portman wrote. "While I understand the VA has taken steps to remedy the situation, the limited communication and delayed incident reporting are particularly con- cerning." Portman told Shinseki that given the scrutiny the department is under due to its backlog of 860,000 claims, "the 464,000 lost files should have garnered more transparency and communica- tion." "Although I understand 70 percent of the top lenders may only see a one- to three-day impact, the Department of Veterans Affairs must take the neces- sary steps to ensure all our veterans' and service members' loan and grant appli- cations are processed without delay," the letter stated. The senator asked VA to provide information on when the Cleveland office notified VA of the loss; when loan and grant applicants were notified of the incident; and any steps the department continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
June 10, 2013
June 24, 2013