Mandatory retirement


Q. I am a federal law enforcement officer covered under the 6C retirement. When I hired on in 1989,  the maximum hiring age was 35 with a mandatory retirement age of 55. As my career progressed, the mandatory hire/retirement ages were moved to 37 and 57 respectively.  I was advised I would be able work until I was 57. The current new hires have mandatory hire/retirement ages of 40/60 years old now. I am told that I must still retire at 57 years despite the current new hires in my organization being able to work until age 60. Is this correct? If it is, is there any class action litigation in place to contest the right to work until age 60 in my covered position?

A.  As a rule, law enforcement officers are subject to mandatory retirement at age 57. Consequently, they can’t be first hired into a covered position later than the last day of the month in which they turn 37. While there may be some agency- or occupation-based legislative variations on the upper age at which an LEO can be hired, if it is after age 37, the employee must be separated on the last day of the month in which he completes 20 years of covered service. To the best of my knowledge there isn’t any pending litigation to contest the law. Prior attempts to change it have failed.

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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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