As departmental needs change, respectful exits can be a way of supporting older exempt staff (“officers of administration”) and staff continuity. Those age 55 or over with 10 years of service who are now contemplating retirement can explore the possibility of a “phased retirement.” This allows them to gradually decrease their workload instead of going immediately into full retirement.
During this period, the officer retains his or her full-time status. Salary and salary-dependent benefits are prorated to reflect the decreased work load. The officer can supplement a decrease in pay with pension or annuity money, withdrawn without incurring a tax penalty. This period ends with the officer’s full-retirement date, which is established at the outset in the officer’s Phased Retirement Agreement.
Phased retirements can benefit departments as well as officers. It may give a department time to hire and train a replacement—or to restructure positions within the department—with the benefit of the retiring officer’s continuing input. On the other hand, a department is under no obligation to grant a phased retirement that’s unworkable from its standpoint.