Q. I have been a VA employee for 22 years on a part-time basis with a work schedule of 7 a.m. to noon on Monday mornings throughout my career. My position as an assistant in surgery is being eliminated and I have been offered the opportunity to work in a clinic instead. The problem is that they want to change my work schedule to 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but both the starting time and ending time will negatively affect my other job, which is my primary source of income.
Despite the fact that I am 52 years old and have more than 22 of service, I was told I could not seek early early retirement based on involuntary separation because I have been given a “reasonable offer.” I contend though, that changing my hours makes the offer unreasonable. In researching the subject I found this:
“Reasonable Offer–For discontinued service retirement (early, involuntary), a reasonable offer is a written offer of another position in the employing agency for which an individual is qualified, not lower than two grades below the individual’s current grade, at the same tenure and work schedule, and in the same commuting area. A different definition applies for disability retirement: A written offer of another position in the employing agency for which an individual is qualified, at the same grade as the individual’s current grade, at the same tenure and work schedule, and in the same commuting area.”
Am I correct that I have not been given a “reasonable offer” and that unless they agree to allow me to work at the same work schedule that I have for the past 22 years, that I would in fact be eligible for early retirement based on involuntary separation? I would be very grateful for any help that you can provide. If I am forced to work these new hours I may have to resign and forfeit future health benefits in the process. I am very proud of my years of service to veterans and would hate to leave this way.
A. Go to www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm1510.pdf. In box 10 you’ll see that “same work schedule” is defined as full-time or part-time with at least the same number of hours. Day of the week or time of day are not included in the definition.