The "Alternative Form of Annuity" provision allowed workers entering retirement beginning in 1986 to receive a payment equal to the value of the contributions they made to the retirement program over their careers as a tax-free amount, with annuity payments then reduced.
Members of several special groups pay differing levels of employee contributions toward retirement and are eligible to retire under age and service combinations that differ from those applying to standard retirement.
Social Security is one of the three legs of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a civil service annuity and the Thrift Savings Plan being the other two. Many employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) also are eligible for Social Security benefits, due either to their employment in Social Security-covered jobs or military service, or through spousal or survivor rights.
Federal employees are subject to periodic appraisals of their job performance under 5 CFR Part 430. These performance appraisal procedures can have an impact on a wide variety of personnel and employment decisions affecting federal workers.
An agency is required to use reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures when an employee is faced with separation or downgrading because of a reorganization, lack of work, a shortage of funds, insufficient positions available, or the exercise of certain re-employment or restoration rights.
Following several rounds of temporary government-wide and agency-specific buyout authorities, permanent government-wide buyout authority for restructuring purposes was granted in 2002 by P.L. 107-296 at Chapter 35 of Title 5, U.S. Code, Sections 3521-3523, 5 CFR 576. In recent years, buyouts for downsizing primarily have been authorized on a short-term, case-by-case basis, although some agencies have standing authority as described below.
Deep federal deficits, a large group of fiscal conservatives newly seated in Congress, a sluggish national economy, and early jockeying for position in the 2012 elections combined to make 2011 a year of virtually continuous budgetary battles.