The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced it will offer voluntary early retirement and voluntary separation to employees in eligible positions at certain locations. The agency said they obtained both VERA and VSIP authority to better manage its caseload and workforce needs. The deficits caused by flat funding of the agency have been mostly addressed by voluntary personnel attrition. As a result, NLRB has an imbalance in staffing in both headquarters and their regional offices.
They are using VERA and VSIP to realign its staffing with office caseloads. They also said the utilization of these 2 programs will enable it to reallocate its limited resources and to provide employees with the tools they need, include training and improvements in technology.
NLRB is offering VERA and VSIP only to employees in targeted job categories. Alloying for these opportunities is entirely voluntary and applications from employees in eligible positions will be processed on a first come, first serve basis.
A VERA can impact an entire agency or just a portion of it. If a reorganization impacts a portion of the agency, it will only be limited to that part. If an early out is offered, a quick decision is needed. There is usually only a short time period to accept the offer and to be off the agency payroll. This option is usually only limited to employees who meet specific criteria.
According to NLRB, an employee must have at least 20 years of service at age 50 or a minimum of 25 years of service regardless of age to qualify. Generally, an employee under CSRS will see a penalty of 2% a year for being under 55 years of age. Cost of Living Adjustments will still apply though. FERS employees won’t face a reduction in pension payments, however, COLA’s won’t begin until age 62.
This program provides a financial incentive for employees to voluntarily separate by optional retirement, voluntary early retirement or resignation. The maximum amount is $25,000, set in 1993. A VSIP is commonly referred to as a buyout, which means a federal employee leaves federal service and is given a financial incentive to leave. An agency offers a buyout for several reasons, including downsizing or reshaping the workforce.
There are basic eligibility requirements for buyouts and that criteria is established by an agency in a buyout plan before its approved and implemented.
Therefore, a buyout isn’t an entitlement. The eligibility criteria will be restricted to allow an agency to meet its goals in reducing overhead costs or restructuring the workforce in some way.
A buyout plan describes the general categories of employees that may be offered a VSIP. Factors could include specific age, geographic locations, occupational categories, grade levels, or retirement eligibility.