The Washington Post reported on Friday that the Department of Education has received approval from the Office of Personnel Management to offer buyouts and early retirements to certain employees within the agency.
The buyouts would apply to staff in the Office of Federal Student Aid, the division which handles college student loans. The Washington Post said that the memo detailing the buyout proposal does not apply to all positions, and eligible employees will be receiving an email from agency human resources by the middle of this week.
Targeting the Education Department
Efforts to shrink the workforce at the Education Department may not come as a big surprise. As we reported last fall during the election campaigns, then presidential candidate Donald Trump was putting a focus on the agency. There was speculation about him making efforts to eliminate the agency, and he hinted he may work to make cuts to the agency as well if he was elected.
Legislation has been introduced this year to eliminate the Education Department, however it has thus far not advanced.
A buyout, also called a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP), is the lesser of $25,000 or the amount of severance pay to which an employee would be entitled based on his or her length of service. Legislation was recently introduced to raise the maximum amount of buyouts to $40,000, although it has yet to move forward in the legislative process as of the time of this writing.
Federal employees who may be considering accepting a buyout offer should weigh their options carefully. See the links below to some of our other articles with more information on buyouts and tips on determining whether or not they are worth taking. OPM also offers a guide on buyouts and eligibility.