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OPM Says Agencies Have yet to Request Voluntary Separation, Retirement

To expedite workforce reductions called for by the Trump administration, the Office of Personnel Management will soon release streamlined templates for agencies to request approval for offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VERA/VSIP).

But OPM has yet to receive any agency requests since the Office of Management and Budget issued its April 12 memo detailing the administration’s plan for reforming the federal government and reducing the civilian workforce.

“OPM has not approved any requests for VERA/VSIP since the issuance of the final detailed OMB guidance provided to agencies via memorandum M-17-22,” according to an OPM spokesperson. “The memorandum directs agencies to take a number of actions to create a leaner, more accountable, and more efficient government. As agencies develop their workforce strategies to support these objectives, they may decide to request VERA/VSIP as a tool that can help reshape their workforces from a current state to a future desired state.”

OPM set up a dedicated mailbox to handle agencies’ VERA/VSIP inquiries. The agency also consolidated its workforce restructuring information into a one-stop webpage. The online resource contains information on how to select and use "workforce reshaping" options, such as reassignments, phase retirement and Reductions in Force (RIF).

According to the memo, OPM will also provide expedited reviews for most requests within 30 days. But agencies are encouraged to begin eliminating “unnecessary vacant positions” immediately.

The OMB memo instructs agencies to review all of their employees who are on administrative leave because of performance deficiencies or misconduct. Agencies are instructed to determine whether those individuals should return to work, be assigned alternative duties, or be subjected to other appropriate action, up to and including removal.

“We have already conducted various agency briefings and webinars on VERA/VSIP, Reduction in Force (RIF), transfer of function, effective workforce planning strategies, and ways to motivate and maximize the efficiency of the workforce which will continue after the reshaping is complete,” according to the OPM spokesperson.

Got VSIP questions? Check out this GovLoop blog post: Is a VSIP Right for You? 

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