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Air Force rolls out phased retirement program for eligible civilians

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Eligible Air Force civilian employees now have the option of working part time in a “semi-retired” status, according to new Air Force Instruction 36-817, Civilian Phased Retirement Program.

The civilian phased-retirement program allows eligible full-time employees to request to work on a part-time basis and receive a portion of their retirement annuity. Under the program, phased retirees will work half the number of hours they worked as full-time employees immediately prior to entering phased retirement.

“This program allows dedicated employees with decades of experience to pass on critical knowledge to our other employees in the organization,” said Annette Castro, a human resource specialist at the Air Force Personnel Center. “It serves as a mentoring and training tool to ensure the next generation of civilians are prepared for success. Institutional knowledge is often difficult to replace.”

Participation is voluntary and requires the mutual consent of both the employee and the Air Force. To be eligible, employees should be employed on a full-time basis for at least three consecutive years before beginning the program. The phased retirement period is for one year with an option to extend for an additional year.

The rules for employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System differ slightly from those employees under the Civil Service Retirement System. Retirement-eligible employees under FERS will need to have at least 30 years of service and have reached the minimum retirement age (between 55 and 57, depending on the birth year) or have at least 20 years of service and be at least 60 years old. Under CSRS, employees will need to have at least 30 years of service and be at least 55 years old or have at least 20 years of service and be at least 60 years old.

Under the guidelines, civilian employees in the phased retirement program remain in the same position authorization they were in prior to entering the program and should not be moved to an over-hire billet or to another authorization while in phased retirement. Hiring officials may hire an additional part-time employee to carry out the remaining 50 percent manning hours or a full-time, over-hire employee only if funding is available to support both the phased retiree's part-time salary and the part-time/full-time replacement.

Additionally, phased retirees will be required to mentor other employees for at least 20 percent of their working hours. Air Force organizations can establish mentoring guidelines to best suit their needs.

“Mentorship plays an important role in shaping our future leaders and for passing on knowledge to successive generations,” Castro said. “It’s an investment that requires time, effort and dedication.”

Civilian employees considering phased retirement are encouraged to fully research the program.

The new AFI can be found at Air Force e-Publishing. For more information, visit the myPers web site and search “Phased Retirement.” Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following the instructions on the Air Force Personnel Center website.

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