Q: I’m a 49-year-old federal employee with 28 years of service. I am anticipating there will be early out/buyouts coming soon. While I believe I can take either, given my 28 years of service, I would take a significant penalty for being younger than 55. Has there ever been an instance where if an agency becomes desperate to reduce the number of employees through an early out/buyout and does not meet the quota, would they accept an offer from an employee? For instance, I would gladly go if I did not get hit with the age penalty. If I made them an offer explaining the benefits for them if they drop a high-grade CSRS employee, their health and retirement contribution savings and the ability to replace me with a lower graded employee would save them a lot of money. I’d even forgo the $25,000 as well. I would just request they treat me as if I were 55 with 34 years of service (the 28 I have now and the six years they’d penalize me for due to age). Do agencies have this latitude?
A: As a CSRS employee, the 2 percent reduction for every year you are younger than 55 is a matter of law. You cannot negotiate your way around it. Further, your agency cannot accept your offer to retire early and/or accept a buyout. Those opportunities are only available to employees who are in organizations and/or positions where a decrease in staff is needed.