Reemployment of Retirees:

Six Agencies' Use of Dual Compensation Waiver Authority is Limited

GAO-12-855R: Published: Sep 10, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2012.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

J. Christopher Mihm
(202) 512-3236
mihmj@gao.gov

 

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What GAO Found

In summary, the six agencies we reviewed made very little use of the NDAA waiver authority in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The Department of Treasury made the most, although still very little, use of the waiver authority in both fiscal years--167 waivers in fiscal year 2010 and 214 waivers in fiscal year 2011. Agency officials told us that their agencies used a combination of NDAA and other waiver authorities already in place when hiring retired workers. For example, during our review we found that the NRC used the waiver authority provided to it in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and used the NDAA authority to rehire an annuitant for purposes not available in the Energy Policy Act. None of the agencies reported that they exceeded the threshold imposed by the NDAA, 1 percent of their full-time employees, thus they were not required to prepare succession plans, as would have been required under the act.

Why GAO Did This Study

This report formally transmits a briefing we provided to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on May 31, 2012, and to the U.S. Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 5, 2012, which we have revised to reflect technical comments made in response to a draft of this report. We developed this briefing in response to a requirement in section 1123 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2010, which requires us to provide information on the use of agencies' authority to grant NDAA waivers to Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employment Retirement System reemployed annuitants. During our briefings to your offices, it was agreed that the work we conducted to date on agencies' use of the NDAA waiver authority was sufficient to respond to the mandate.

The federal government has faced challenges in hiring and retaining talented workers, which are exacerbated by increased retirements in the federal workforce. To address these challenges, agencies have sought to rehire retired federal employees. Generally, when agencies rehire retirees their salary is subject to a deduction (offset) in the amount of the annuity. Section 1122 of the NDAA for fiscal year 2010 gives agencies the authority to waive this requirement on a temporary basis to allow for dual compensation of the salary and annuity as necessary; to fulfill functions critical to the mission of the agency; and to assist in the development, management, or oversight of agency procurement actions; among other purposes.

To respond to the NDAA mandate for information on federal agencies' use of NDAA waivers for Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employment Retirement System reemployed annuitants in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, we attempted to obtain and analyze governmentwide dual compensation reemployment data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); however, agency-reported data were insufficient to definitively determine the number of NDAA waivers the agency issued. Thus, we obtained data directly from a nongeneralizable sample of selected agencies.

In the absence of reliable government-wide information, this report provides data directly from selected agencies and addresses the experience of selected agencies in using NDAA waiver authority to rehire retired Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employment Retirement System annuitants.

For more information, contact J. Christopher Mihm at (202) 512- 6806 or mihmj@gao.gov.

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