Final regulations on voluntary separation incentive payments, known as buyouts, have been issued by Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James.
The incentives are designed to give agencies more options on minimizing involuntary separations resulting from organizational shifts and changes.
James lauded the regulations, saying it provides federal supervisors with “state of the art staffing tools to create an efficient yet responsive federal workforce.” She added that the push for strategic management of human capital calls for a transformation in the employment, deployment, development, and evaluation of the federal workforce with results in mind.
As a result, these buyout regs make it easier for agencies to respond quickly and retool their staffs with employees who possess the skills, knowledge, or similar factors needed to perform a position. Under the regulations, most non-Defense executive branch agencies may, at their option, offer voluntary separation incentive payments to employees who separate by voluntary retirement or by resignation in a downsizing, reshaping, restructuring, or similar situation.
Before offering separation incentives to their employees, agencies must first obtain approval from OPM, with concurrence from the Office of Management and Budget. Agencies may then offer employees who agree to voluntarily separate a lump sum payment equal to what they would get in severance pay, or an amount to be determined by the agency up to $25,000, whichever is less.