Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

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MnD
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Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by MnD » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:25 pm

Current situation: Middle manager in charge of a small but important agency function, a massive reorganization within my division is underway (planned before the election), expected agency-wide budget cuts, and now higher level major reorganization is in the planning but probably 18-24 months out. In the current division reorganization it has been communicated I will be allowed to retain my current responsibilities which is not the case for many affected by the reorganization. But due to the reorg many important realigned jobs are now open they are seeking to fill with internal lateral transfers due to the hiring freeze. Management knows my retirement eligibility date in 18 months but has no idea when i intend to retire. Based on average behavior of others they may assume 3-7 years.

Objective: Maintain current work and responsibilities where I have significant expertise, competence, productivity and greatly enjoy. Avoid a lateral transfer into one of these major new positions given 18 months to retirement.

Question: Given this situation and objective, would you communicate intent to retire in 18 months? Why or why not? Layoffs and early-out offers would be by formula and unaffected by communicating intent to retire or not.

mortfree
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by mortfree » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:46 pm

I would give them the minimum amount of notice required to retire.

18 months is a long time. A lot can happen - good/bad.

You're in the middle of a re-org; they find out now and you might be out sooner (?)

TIAX
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by TIAX » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:50 pm

mortfree wrote:I would give them the minimum amount of notice required to retire.

18 months is a long time. A lot can happen - good/bad.

You're in the middle of a re-org; they find out now and you might be out sooner (?)

Agreed. What possible benefit is there to letting them know early?

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dm200
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:54 pm

TIAX wrote:
mortfree wrote:I would give them the minimum amount of notice required to retire.
18 months is a long time. A lot can happen - good/bad.
You're in the middle of a re-org; they find out now and you might be out sooner (?)

Agreed. What possible benefit is there to letting them know early?


I also agree. From a financial, career and similar aspects, I see no benefits from such very early notice - and I see potential disadvantages.

There are (or may be) many benefits to others, but not to you.

island
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by island » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:57 pm

Nope for the same reasons Mortfree mentioned.
Plus the last sentence of your post indicates there is no upside for any of your coworkers by you announcing it now.
There is just too much that can happen over 18 months. Your employer could decide to let you go sooner knowing you have one foot out the door or change what you do now so drastically that your last 18 months could be miserable.

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dm200
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:04 pm

island wrote:Nope for the same reasons Mortfree mentioned.
Plus the last sentence of your post indicates there is no upside for any of your coworkers by you announcing it now.
There is just too much that can happen over 18 months. Your employer could decide to let you go sooner knowing you have one foot out the door or change what you do now so drastically that your last 18 months could be miserable.


Another possibility might be that within the 18 months, there might be favorable (to you) retirement buyouts at 18 months. If it is know you will retire, you might not be offered one.

delamer
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by delamer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:19 pm

Conditional on your relationship with your own managers, you really don't have anything to lose by telling them when you plan to retire and that you want to stay in your current job until then.

I'm a retired fed myself and people commenting who based on their experience in the private sector need to pay attention to your underlined comment -- the OP cannot be forced out or demoted arbitrarily, even if his management is unhappy with his decision. Nor can management force the OP to stick to his retirement deadline if s/he changes his mind.

Reasonable management would be happy to have the advance notice and would want to accommodate a good performer's wish to stay in the current job. The last thing it needs is an unhappy experienced manager during this upheaval, if it can be avoided.

Now if your management is vindictive or very short-sighted, then it could make your remaining 18 months miserable by transferring you to a job it knows you don't want or by making unreasonable demands.

So the question is, based on your past experiences with your management, how would you expect it to react? And if you expect negative consequences, can you live with them for 18 months?

Good luck.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:28 pm

I usually am on the side of sharing information with management and accepting at face value their indications of good faith. However, in the current environment, where everything can change 3 times in 18 months, mum's the word.

Good luck.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by stan1 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:28 pm

Agree some people might be offering advice who are not federal employees. Advice would be very different in that situation.

My experience (as a federal employee, supervisor, and manager) has been that capable federal employees in critical jobs who tell management they intend to retire in less than 2 years can often be left where they are at and are asked to do succession planning. Of course I've also seen federal employees say they are going to retire "in a few years" for a decade and actually leave between ages of 65 and 70.

If you don't want to tell them up front you could wait and see if they try to reassign you and then bring it up as a reason to stay in your current job. If you are in a RIF or similar action where management has less control situation might be different. If you have a good working relationship with your supervisor/manager I'd tell them up front.

MnD
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by MnD » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:40 pm

TIAX wrote:Agreed. What possible benefit is there to letting them know early?


Absent communication, they assume I plan to work 3-7 more years so I'm given a directed transfer into one of the new positions now open due to the reorg. The ones I've seen I would be a poor fit and huge learning curve especially given what be be an 18 month tenure.

123
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by 123 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:58 pm

My spouse worked for a federal agency where a long-term employee retired by leaving his resignation letter on his manager's desk as he left the office for the last time as the workday ended on a Friday. The letter was apparently opened the following Monday morning. The departing employee got all the benefits he was due. The departing employee avoided all the retirement type hoopla. The agency replaced the retiring employee. The agency survived. Everyone lived happily ever after.
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MnD
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by MnD » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:07 pm

stan1 wrote:If you don't want to tell them up front you could wait and see if they try to reassign you and then bring it up as a reason to stay in your current job. If you are in a RIF or similar action where management has less control situation might be different. If you have a good working relationship with your supervisor/manager I'd tell them up front.


Given that they have already verbally indicated I can continue doing my present job, I'm leaning towards the first sentence.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by LFrugal » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:19 pm

I see no need to telegraph your intentions 18 months advance. I would wait to see if you are directed to transfer. You may not and instead may be offered a buyout as part of the reorganization. If you announce you're retiring, you won't get a buyout if they know you are leaving.

If you are directed to transfer, get in the new position and dislike it, you can always retire at that point. And just maybe you'll like it. I've seen this same scenario play out in the past in the federal government. I am a former federal employee having worked in a large Washington agency for 15 years, but recently retired. Take a wait-and-see approach.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:45 pm

Retired Fed here.

I'm not sure people in the private sector understand how very different retirement is in the Federal sector. There can be benefits to the agency to give a lot of lead time. There can be benefits to the individual too. Sounds like that is the case for MnD.

Making your retirement intentions known a year or more ahead of time is quite common in federal employment, especially among employees who are happy in their jobs. Disgruntled employees, maybe not so much.

This doesn't happen much in the private sector because the employee will likely just be shown out the door with 2 weeks severance. Nobody wants to risk that and short notice is expected in situations like that.

An example. In federal employment, it is common for employees to be trained while on the job, especially if taking on new job duties. Training is expensive. Managers really appreciate it when someone says "I'd be happy to go to that week of training in Vegas, but you probably won't get your money's worth cause I'm retiring 3 months later." Giving a lot of notice can mean the dollars (which are ALWAYS short) can go to better use. For people who care about the mission of their agency, this type of notice is not at all unusual.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:53 pm

Yes, in the private sector, they probably couldn't just lower the salary to $1. I have never worked for the government directly (I did consult), and I take the point that it is different to private industry, but . . .

House Republicans this week reinstated a procedural rule created in 1876 that allows lawmakers to cut the pay of individual federal workers down to $1, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The Holman Rule allows members of Congress to propose amendments to appropriations bills that target specific government employees or programs in an effort to cut spending.

Under the rule passed this week in larger rules package, any such amendment that would target an employee or program would have to be passed by a majority of the House and Senate. That makes it unlikely, albeit possible, for lawmakers to reduce a federal worker’s pay.


That said, I don't have enough experience with government jobs, so I will leave it to the experienced hands to offer advice.

Mordoch
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Mordoch » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:18 pm

stan1 wrote:If you don't want to tell them up front you could wait and see if they try to reassign you and then bring it up as a reason to stay in your current job. If you are in a RIF or similar action where management has less control situation might be different. If you have a good working relationship with your supervisor/manager I'd tell them up front.

I would point out that unless its a case where he spent most of his time in the private sector rather than the Federal Government, he actually has extremely little to worry about personally due to seniority with a hypothetical RIF. Basically just about everyone else would be let go first. (Theoretically he might get a buyout offer which could mean financially speaking he could choose to retire early, but it would merely be an option he could take.)

(The only exception might be in the DOD where they are shifting to a system of RIF ordering that is more performance focused and therefore less predictable in some respects.)

Mordoch
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Mordoch » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:28 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:Yes, in the private sector, they probably couldn't just lower the salary to $1. I have never worked for the government directly (I did consult), and I take the point that it is different to private industry, but . . .

The thing is for all the issues with that provision it requires a member of the US House of Representatives or US Senator to personally specifically add a provision targeting the thread starter by name with this provision to a budget bill. Its not something that in any some random supervisor in the government is going to be able to use to get someone they know is planning to retire in the future to leave early.

On top of this, it would clearly be a case where targeting a federal employee in this way for this reason would be spectacular political loser issue and liability for the member of Congress especially given the higher rate that older people tend to vote in the US.

(Its also true that using the provision in the suggested way to target a particular federal employee may make it effectively a bill of attainder anyways and therefore get it struck down in court as unconstitutional if anyone tries to use it in that type of manner, although as noted this should not become relevant in this case in the first place.)
Last edited by Mordoch on Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:29 pm

I'd go with whatever notification is standard for your agency. At my state agency, resignations have to be given with at least 3 months notice by our employment contract. Retirements are different, in that you can legally by the terms of the contract give less than 3 months notice, but it's considered proper etiquette to still give 3 months notice. Once you give your notice, you continue your work contract until the end. But meanwhile, we can be searching for a replacement.

Our contracts are much different than federal contracts though. They're issued for very specific time periods and they are very hard to break earlier than that. So look at your contract and see what notice it requires and what protections (if any) it affords you during the notification period.

Edit: I should also add that the 3 months notice for retiring employees is typically when they pull their papers with CalPERS. They're still not retired until they file the paperwork, and they might be talking about "I'm going to pull my papers" for a good year or two before they actually pull the papers. We just don't consider it serious until they contact CalPERS and start the process there.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:45 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:Yes, in the private sector, they probably couldn't just lower the salary to $1. I have never worked for the government directly (I did consult), and I take the point that it is different to private industry, but . . .

House Republicans this week reinstated a procedural rule created in 1876 that allows lawmakers to cut the pay of individual federal workers down to $1, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

In an employment at will situation that darn well can lower your salary to minimum wage, and with a great deal less hoopla than a congressional vote. Or they can just tell you to get out and never darken their doors again. Unless they are foolish enough to add something like "because you're black" there is very little to be done about it. There is simply no comparison between job security in the private and government sectors.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by baw703916 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:12 pm

I was a Fed for 20 years, and separated a couple years ago.

My advice would be, if you are responsible for an important function that requires continuity upon your departure, then 6-8 months notice is probably appropriate so that you can pass on your knowledge to your designated successor. I think 18 months (or for that matter, even 12) is excessive, unless they announce that they are moving you to a completely different function at the end of 2017, which means they would be training you for the new duty for 9 months, and then have to turn around and train someone else.
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dm200
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:20 pm

retiredjg wrote:Retired Fed here.
I'm not sure people in the private sector understand how very different retirement is in the Federal sector. There can be benefits to the agency to give a lot of lead time. There can be benefits to the individual too. Sounds like that is the case for MnD.
Making your retirement intentions known a year or more ahead of time is quite common in federal employment, especially among employees who are happy in their jobs. Disgruntled employees, maybe not so much.
This doesn't happen much in the private sector because the employee will likely just be shown out the door with 2 weeks severance. Nobody wants to risk that and short notice is expected in situations like that.
An example. In federal employment, it is common for employees to be trained while on the job, especially if taking on new job duties. Training is expensive. Managers really appreciate it when someone says "I'd be happy to go to that week of training in Vegas, but you probably won't get your money's worth cause I'm retiring 3 months later." Giving a lot of notice can mean the dollars (which are ALWAYS short) can go to better use. For people who care about the mission of their agency, this type of notice is not at all unusual.


Never been a federal employee, but a lot of friends/acquaintences are (or have been) and I have worked on several federal contracts.

The question is (do not know the answer) about federal employee financial incentives to retire when an agecy needs to downsize. If you provide a lengthy notice of plan to retire, then aren't you risking missing out on a financial incentive to retire since the agency knows you will retire (and get off their payroll) anyway?

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:26 pm

dm200 wrote:The question is (do not know the answer) about federal employee financial incentives to retire when an agecy needs to downsize. If you provide a lengthy notice of plan to retire, then aren't you risking missing out on a financial incentive to retire since the agency knows you will retire (and get off their payroll) anyway?

I don't know the answer either, but the last sentence of the original post states that is not an issue here.

I tend to believe that is always the case. Federal personnel rules are incredibly strict in terms of fairness and treating everyone the same. I think such incentives are worked up in such a way as not to consider the person's intent to retire anyway. I think that is another big difference from the private sector.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by baw703916 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:31 pm

dm200 wrote:
The question is (do not know the answer) about federal employee financial incentives to retire when an agecy needs to downsize. If you provide a lengthy notice of plan to retire, then aren't you risking missing out on a financial incentive to retire since the agency knows you will retire (and get off their payroll) anyway?


In my experience, such things take several months to implement, and there tends to be common knowledge that something like a buyout is imminent by the time it actually happens. So my suggestion of no more than 6-8 months advance notice is based partly on that--it's very unlikely one would miss a financial incentive without having had some knowledge it was likely to happen six months in advance.
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dm200
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:35 pm

retiredjg wrote:
dm200 wrote:The question is (do not know the answer) about federal employee financial incentives to retire when an agecy needs to downsize. If you provide a lengthy notice of plan to retire, then aren't you risking missing out on a financial incentive to retire since the agency knows you will retire (and get off their payroll) anyway?

I don't know the answer either, but the last sentence of the original post states that is not an issue here.
I tend to believe that is always the case. Federal personnel rules are incredibly strict in terms of fairness and treating everyone the same. I think such incentives are worked up in such a way as not to consider the person's intent to retire anyway. I think that is another big difference from the private sector.


Yes, I agree there are huge differences between federal employment and the private sector. Years ago, I worked for several private companies in the computer business - several of them having federal contracts. It was common that when employees would give two weeks notice, they would be walked out the door right away, but received pay for the two weeks. At one very large employer, though, if they walked you out the door when you gave "two weeks" notice, that was your last payday. In several instances, that was both a shock and financial hit to folks. Once the word got out, there was even less motivation or incentive to give much notice. Employees switching to another employer often would be "prepared" to have the day of the two weeks' notice as the last day of pay.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by delamer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:38 pm

retiredjg wrote:
dm200 wrote:The question is (do not know the answer) about federal employee financial incentives to retire when an agecy needs to downsize. If you provide a lengthy notice of plan to retire, then aren't you risking missing out on a financial incentive to retire since the agency knows you will retire (and get off their payroll) anyway?

I don't know the answer either, but the last sentence of the original post states that is not an issue here.

I tend to believe that is always the case. Federal personnel rules are incredibly strict in terms of fairness and treating everyone the same. I think such incentives are worked up in such a way as not to consider the person's intent to retire anyway. I think that is another big difference from the private sector.


When incentives to retire are provided, they are given enmasse to a certain occupation, grade level, and organizational unit. So accountants, GS-9 through 14, in the budget office; you get the idea. Whether any individual accountant has expressed an interest in retiring is irrelevant.

In theory, using the above example, if you were the only accountant at that grade level in the budget office, you could be targeted. But I think that is extremely unlikely.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by FedGuy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:40 pm

Current Fed here. It's hard to respond properly without crossing into territory we can't discuss on this board, but these aren't necessarily normal times. People at my agency are afraid of RIFs, having our salaries zeroed out, and other shenanigans. Hopefully none of that will come to pass, but no one knows. Our general feeling is that we should hope and expect that our personnel policies and employment levels won't change much, but that you shouldn't risk your job on it. So, I'd say keep quiet for now and see how things develop.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Atilla » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:47 pm

I don't care where you work - the smart thing is to keep your trap shut until you are ready to be shown the door the minute you say something about leaving.
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by TimeRunner » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:06 pm

36+ year fed here, retired last December. I recommend giving notice the first week of November, and saying goodbye to colleagues before Thanksgiving. End of year is optimal for cashing out use-or-lose annual leave, which you should try to accumulate between now and then. If you retire the end of December, your first FERS interim pension check will arrive on or around Feb 1 for January. If you give notice before then, you risk joining your agency's version of the window seat tribe, "madogiwa zoku". See NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/busin ... -room.html .
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:39 pm

123 wrote:My spouse worked for a federal agency where a long-term employee retired by leaving his resignation letter on his manager's desk as he left the office for the last time as the workday ended on a Friday. The letter was apparently opened the following Monday morning. The departing employee got all the benefits he was due. The departing employee avoided all the retirement type hoopla. The agency replaced the retiring employee. The agency survived. Everyone lived happily ever after.


It sounds like your spouse knew my Dad. He found out he was eligible for a buyout on the last day to sign up for it. He called my Mom, told her he was going to retire if he could get the forms signed, marched into the general's office, got the signature, and went home.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by TimeRunner » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:59 pm

I would caution against waiting until the last day and surprising your office with your retirement. Life's more complicated these days. A typical gov employee may have a purchase and/or travel credit card that needs to be cleared, a gov't ID card that is also used for IT systems access, IT equipment (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop, etc) that has to be accounted for and turned in, outstanding internal billing (possibly housing, internal travel, etc), library items, etc. Get your check-out form signed off before you go out the door, knowing that there won't be any surprises. You also have the opportunity to work with HR in the weeks leading up to your retirement to get a retirements benefit estimate, get your retirement paperwork checked over, make sure health care insurance is lined up properly, etc. Point is - while it might feel good to just up and walk out the last day, that poor planning on your part might bite you in the butt once you leave, at which point you are no longer an employee and your paperwork has already left your agency on its way to OPM.
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by federal dinosaur » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:21 pm

TimeRunner is correct and there is absolutely no need to be hasty or in a hurry. In the old days with Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), there was just the employee's decision for making the choice of what precise date you wanted to go. That is one of the great things about being a federal employee. I have not encountered (in my agency or in my 30 year career) an instance where an employee was pushed out the door or encouraged to retire. I have many friends and relatives that work in private industry, and sadly, some employers are truly appalling in how they treat "seasoned" employees, or employees who have attained over a long time period the top pay scale at that company.

If you in the CSRS retirement system, retire according to your timeline. The details with re-organizations in the federal gov't shift greatly between the time the re-org is briefed to the affected employees, and the time when things really start to happen. Again, this is the federal gov't and nothing moves fast. You will have time to consider (IMHO). I am also in the midst of a re-org, we are into this re-org for over a year now and not much has changed at all. Mgmnt's plans for shifting the workload met a roadblock with the people who were expected to do the additional tasks, and of course the Union has insured a measured pace for the big changes that are on the horizon.

If you are in FERS, there are more calculations and considerations to fully evaluate. But again, I would not leave until you are certain you are ready and you wish to leave.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:57 pm

I agree with those that say it is useful to work with HR and get a reliable benefits printout. This saved us a lot of money and grief when OPM calculated H's final CSRS pension amount incorrectly. Luckily we could send them a copy of the official HIGHER correct estimate so they could adjust and reimburse him.

I'd also agree to wait until 60-90 days from when you're pretty sure you're retiring before you give notice. A lot can happen in 180 days.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by tinscale » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:36 pm

Retired CSRS Fed here, retired Jan 2013. No reason to give 18 months notice. You might decide to change your mind, for any number of reasons. If you are in a 1 of a kind position, then 2-3 months notice to give time to minimally train someone (if you care). Put you hand in a bucket of water and pull it out. The size of the hole is how much you will be missed.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by gr7070 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:37 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:Yes, in the private sector, they probably couldn't just lower the salary to $1. I have never worked for the government directly (I did consult), and I take the point that it is different to private industry, but . . .

House Republicans this week reinstated a procedural rule created in 1876 that allows lawmakers to cut the pay of individual federal workers down to $1, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

In an employment at will situation that darn well can lower your salary to minimum wage, and with a great deal less hoopla than a congressional vote. Or they can just tell you to get out and never darken their doors again. Unless they are foolish enough to add something like "because you're black" there is very little to be done about it. There is simply no comparison between job security in the private and government sectors.


It's no different working for the state government in those at-will states, at least not in Texas. Texas state agencies can release you for any reason that is not illegal, exactly like all private employers.

I have no idea if Texas at-will laws apply to federal employees located in Texas.

I know plenty of Texas retirees who give plenty of advanced notice and a few who give a minimum.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Mordoch » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:42 pm

gr7070 wrote:I have no idea if Texas at-will laws apply to federal employees located in Texas.

You're basically missing how this works. The Federal Government can often ignore state laws on these sorts of things, but federal rules are what is relevant for actual federal employees, so Texas being an at-will state is basically irrelevant to them.

In other words, the Federal Government can completely on its own decide if it wants to have strong job protection for its workers and unless Congress changes the law on Federal employment rules, Federal Government supervisors can't decide they will go ahead an apply an "at will" standard instead simply because they (or at least the employees in question) are in Texas.

In some ways for the record the situation is not that different in this area than at least theoretical options for private employment where a private company could hypothetically sign a contract with an individual or union making it incredibly difficult to fire or law off employees. (While not quite technically the same thing as being prevented from being fired, various Texas professional sports teams sign contracts with athletes that mean that baring extraordinary circumstances the player will be entitled to a large sum of "guaranteed money" for that year, or possibly effectively additional years as well, regardless of whether the team has them actually play in games that year or even whether they are cut from the team roster.)

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Watty
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Watty » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:41 am

MnD wrote:Management knows my retirement eligibility date in 18 months but has no idea when i intend to retire. Based on average behavior of others they may assume 3-7 years.


But they also know that you might be hit by the proverbial Mack truck and not be in the office tomorrow.

Even if they don't have a formal contingency plan for your demise it is a pretty likely that they have a general plan for covering the sudden loss of anyone in your department.

You likely are not as indispensable as you would like to think.

I worked in the private sector but about a half a dozen times I saw situations where people unexpectedly died or had a sudden health crisis that meant that they would be out of the office for many months and they might or might not be able to eventually return to work. Other than causing some people to hussle to rearrange the workload that almost always had a surprisingly small impact on the department. Usually what happened was that whoever had filled in for that person when they were on vacation knew the basics of their job and could hold things together while things were straightened out.

delamer wrote:Now if your management is vindictive or very short-sighted, then it could make your remaining 18 months miserable by transferring you to a job it knows you don't want or by making unreasonable demands.


The don't even need to be vindictive, giving your notice will change things even if they are the best people around.

When I retired from the private sector I felt a little bit bad about only giving two weeks notice for a number of reasons.

My employer didn't walk me out the door and arranged a nice retirement lunch etc. but by the time I left I was glad that I had only given two weeks notice. The reason was that that the first week was real busy with handing over my work to other people and talking with other people about my retirement, by the last three days or so everything was basically done and had little left to do so the the last few days were painfully boring and I spent the time just triple checking on a few things.

I don't know much about federal jobs but as soon as you give your notice it is likely that your job will change a lot and you may lose many of the aspects of it that make the job interesting and you may lose some responsibilities.

As your responsibilities are reassigned to other people you may find that you will end up getting the less desirable work, not out of vindictiveness, but just because you are the one that has time to do them.

gr7070
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by gr7070 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:11 am

Mordoch wrote:
gr7070 wrote:I have no idea if Texas at-will laws apply to federal employees located in Texas.


You're basically missing how this works. The Federal Government can often ignore state laws on these sorts of things, but federal rules are what is relevant for actual federal employees, so Texas being an at-will state is basically irrelevant to them.


Did you misread my statement about Texas *state* agencies as if i was speaking about the OP and federal agencies?

I clearly stated i knew nothing with regard to federal employees, other than I didn't know if it applied. That comment is obvious recognition that it might not apply, as well.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:42 am

Watty wrote:
MnD wrote:Management knows my retirement eligibility date in 18 months but has no idea when i intend to retire. Based on average behavior of others they may assume 3-7 years.


But they also know that you might be hit by the proverbial Mack truck and not be in the office tomorrow.

Even if they don't have a formal contingency plan for your demise it is a pretty likely that they have a general plan for covering the sudden loss of anyone in your department.

You likely are not as indispensable as you would like to think.

I worked in the private sector but about a half a dozen times I saw situations where people unexpectedly died or had a sudden health crisis that meant that they would be out of the office for many months and they might or might not be able to eventually return to work. Other than causing some people to hussle to rearrange the workload that almost always had a surprisingly small impact on the department. Usually what happened was that whoever had filled in for that person when they were on vacation knew the basics of their job and could hold things together while things were straightened out.

It still throws my group when I do things to prevent a proverbial Mack truck scenario. For example, I found out there was only one employee with keys to the storage cabinets during a minor incident (not time-critical). I told that employee that we needed to have a backup in case he was out, and asked for the keys so copies could be made. The last thing we need is to have that employee be out when we need to get into the cabinet to get to a part during a time-critical event. He had a negative reaction to the request, although I'm not sure if that was because he was scared he was being fired or because he didn't like giving up the control.

But just as we always have at least two people with root access to all the servers, we need at least two people with physical access to all areas. We're running infrastructural servers, not top-secret operations, so there's no need for one person to have sole control of anything in the server room. We don't need a repeat of the San Fran network hostage situation from nearly a decade ago. Everyone is valued for their work and input, but everyone also needs a "buddy" who can cover their work if they're out.

However, that sort of thinking is rather unusual in my agency. I know other groups where if Sally gets sick, no one else knows how to do what Sally does, so it just doesn't get done until Sally comes back. If Sally isn't coming back, then they resort to the "sheer luck" principle and hope by sheer luck that they find someone who can pick up the pieces and carry on. Or they just muddle through until someone can be trained for the job. I don't think there is a formal contingency policy in place for my agency, other than for the top three managers (who have a succession policy).

Gray
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Gray » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:47 am

As another senior Fed, I will say this... contingency/continuity planning, leadership development (training the next set of leaders in the pipeline), and so forth is the responsibility of your agency. Your decisions, and protecting your interests, are your responsibility.

Your agency, as much as we may like to personalize things by considering our colleagues, and as much as we may personally be emotionally invested in our agency mission, is an entity created by law that will likely exist when you're dead and buried. It will go on.

As said before, don't show your cards. Keep your options open. 120 days is the maximum notice I would provide, but 30 days is a smarter bet under the current administration.

westie
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by westie » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:25 am

retired fed here, I would not give more than 3 months notice. There are 1.4 million civilian fed employees, not to sound crass, but you'll miss them more than they'll miss you. Life goes on.

chuckb84
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by chuckb84 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:56 am

About two years ago I was in your situation. I had been doing retirement numbers very seriously for about 6 months and then my house sold faster than I expected (and for more than I expected!) so, the next Monday I told my bosses I was leaving in 60 days and would do everything possible to guarantee a smooth transition in my job responsibilities. That Thursday, I announced it at a staff meeting and 60 days later---after working VERY hard through some major program activities to smooth transition---I left.

In general, do a combination of what's best for YOU, but take the high road and be very professional. The agency will go on, and they'll think well of you if you take this approach. I am still an occasional consultant for the agency, not much, because I was ready to leave, but they keep asking :).

BTW, you're gonna love life without being a Fed!

Dottie57
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:05 am

mortfree wrote:I would give them the minimum amount of notice required to retire.

18 months is a long time. A lot can happen - good/bad.

You're in the middle of a re-org; they find out now and you might be out sooner (?)


+1

ReadyOrNot
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by ReadyOrNot » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:44 pm

This situation is not unusual. Surely management realizes that employees eligible for early retirement often take it in the face of a re-organization. Many employees drop hints that they would consider early retirement depending on how things look after the re-org. I wouldn't be concerned with that, except that people often think I am too young to be eligible for early retirement, so I don't want to cut down on my options by indicating my age, just to avoid age discrimination. Even if your management asks you directly what you plan to do, I think you could honestly say you plan to wait to see how the re-org shakes out, and expect management to understand that is what everyone will do.

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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:51 pm

I retired from the private sector 2 months after becoming Medicare qualified, and after having given my employer of 20+ years 14 months notice. In exchange for the extended notice I received a modest bonus, designed to give my employer sufficient time to plan for succession.

About a month before I retired, I was asked if I would postpone my retirement because they had not acted on naming a replacement. I declined, and after several months in retirement I returned as a consultant at twice my previous compensation.

Moral of the story is that an employer with extended notice may still fail to make smart decisions regarding succession.

Buford T Justiice
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Re: Should federal employee communicate 18 months to retirement?

Post by Buford T Justiice » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:03 pm

No need to announce retirement plans... the management chain will learn eventually (about 6 mo. before) when someone notices you've been hoarding annual leave in your last calendar year.

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