News | Aug. 16, 2016

Phased retirement rules for DLA employees still in development

By DLA Human Resources

Defense Logistics Agency Human Resources officials are working to develop and publish the final rules for implementing the “phased retirement” option in the agency.

Phased retirement allows agencies to permit, on a case-by-case basis, federal employees who are eligible for full retirement to transition to part-time employment while drawing a partial retirement annuity before completely withdrawing from the workforce. DLA employees have been waiting for implementation of phased retirement since it was signed into federal law in 2012. The Office of Personnel Management issued phased retirement regulations in late 2014, and Defense Department personnel officials issued a directive-type memorandum on phased retirement in June of this year.

“Now that the memo has been signed and we have concrete guidance on implementing phased retirement in DoD agencies, we’ve begun drafting the DLA instruction for implementing this option in DLA,” said Laurie Hall, a human resources specialist in DLA Human Resources Policy.

She noted the DoD rules provide agencies discretion to set parameters around how they'll use the authority, such as determining who has delegated authority to approve phased retirements and how the mentoring component will be defined and tracked.

DLA Human Resources officials have urged patience from employees who hope to participate in the phased retirement option, as several conditions will need to be met in order for the arrangement to be approved on a case-by-case basis.

“Obviously, this would have to make sense for both the employee (financially) and the agency from a mission standpoint, and would be the result of a mutual agreement between the employee and management,” DLA Human Resources Director Brad Bunn wrote in June in response to an employee question on the DLA Ask A Leader platform.

The law also requires that phased retirees spend at least 20 percent of their time mentoring others. In this aspect, phased retirement will support Objective 6 of the People and Culture goal area of the DLA Strategic Plan for 2015-2022, which calls for developing a framework for effective succession management for key positions.

Phased retirement is “essentially a succession management tool designed to assist with knowledge transfer, along with providing an opportunity to eligible employees to ‘ease’ into retirement,” Bunn wrote.

DLA Human Resources officials’ next steps are to consult with agency senior leaders on implementing the phased retirement authority in DLA, coordinate the draft DLA instruction, and meet collective bargaining obligations.  Ideally, phased retirement will be ready for implementation by the end of 2016, Hall said.