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HRDG 4500 - Recruitment and Retention Incentives - Section H

Subchapter 4500 - Recruitment and Retention Incentives
Section H - Re-employment of Military and Civilian Retirees to Meet Exceptional Employment Needs


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Without reducing a retiree's pay or retirement benefits, you may request approval to:

  • Recruit and employ a military or Federal civilian retiree due to exceptional difficulty in recruiting or retaining a qualified candidate for a specific position;
  • Retain and employ in retiree status:

    1. A current Federal civilian employee with eligibility and intent to retire, or
    2. A military retiree currently employed in (but who intends to resign from) a Federal civilian position, when you need to retain his/her services because s/he is uniquely qualified for an ongoing project; or
  • Temporarily employ a military or Federal civilian retiree due to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances.

Requests should be made in very unusual/rare circumstances, and on a case-by- case basis.

Justification Criteria

ALL requests must include the following:
General Information

  • Name;
  • Social Security Number and Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employee Retirement System claim number, if any;
  • Date of retirement;
  • Type of retirement (voluntary, discontinued service, disability, etc.);
  • For a military retiree, rank at retirement and type of service (regular or reserve, officer or enlisted);
  • Amount of current annuity or retired or retainer pay;
  • Analysis of the individual's qualifications that meet the emergency need or critical skills shortage (attach SF-171 or equivalent);
  • Certification by the individual that he/she will not accept the job if pay or retirement benefits are reduced; and
  • Documentation of bona fide offers of non-Federal employment, if any.

Position Information

  • Position title, series, grade, salary, and duty location;
  • Type of appointment; and
  • Position description and description of the qualifications required, including any selective factors or other specific requirements that would justify the submission.

Qualifying Employment Conditions (explain any that exist)

  • Exceptional difficulty in recruiting or retaining qualified candidates for the position;
  • Need to retain the services of an individual who is qualified for an ongoing project; or,
  • Need for temporary employment that is necessary due to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property, or due to other unusual circumstances.

If you wish to:

Then you must also include the following justification criteria:

Recruit a Retiree
  • Provide the number of vacancies in the series, grade, and location;
  • Provide length of time the particular position has been vacant, and average length of vacancies in such positions;
  • Provide average annual turnover in the series, grade, and location;
  • Describe recruiting efforts (type of publicity, sources contacted, geographic scope);
  • Provide the number and describe the quality of applicants responding to those efforts;
  • Provide the number of candidates who declined employment because of pay/retirement issues (indicate how many specifically cited pay/retirement offset concern, how many cited non-Federal job offers which would not require any reduction, and how many cited dissatisfaction with the combined compensation they would receive); and
  • Describe any consideration given to other staffing alternatives (e.g., re- engineering or redistribution of work, contracting, use of a recruitment bonus, training [including formal education], cooperative education, and similar programs) to increase the supply of qualified candidates.
Retain a Retiree
  • Describe why retaining the individual is critical to the agency or a particular project. Include the knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by the individual that are essential for the successful completion of a project and that could not be acquired by another appointee within a reasonable time. Also explain why the work cannot be done by other employees in the project.
  • Describe why a project is unusually critical. Include its importance to the agency's mission, potential costs of project failure or delay, any legislative or Presidential deadlines, and any other relevant factors.
  • Provide documentation that the individual will retire (or, in the case of a re-employed civilian annuitant or a military retiree employed in a civilian position, will resign from that position) if the exception is not granted. Such documentation might include a bona fide offer of non-Federal employment or information about changes in or expiration of benefits (such as retirement, health benefits, or life insurance) or other circumstances to support the claim that the employee cannot or will not delay retirement. You also must discuss the possibility of using a retention allowance to retain the employee through completion of the critical project.
  • State the length of time needed to complete the project.
Temporarily employ a retiree due to an emergency
  • Describe the emergency. The emergency must pose an immediate threat to life or property. A potential or indirect threat is insufficient. The emergency must be beyond the scope of the agency's normal responsibilities. OPM will not approve re-employment solely to meet normal seasonal workload fluctuations. Such a request may be appropriate only when the number of emergencies in a season or the severity of a particular emergency creates a need for temporary employees beyond normal seasonal staffing levels.
  • Identify when the emergency occurred.
  • Provide information on either why the particular person is uniquely qualified for the emergency response work or show that the number of positions to be filled and/or urgency of response justifies making the appointment without further delay. (OPM will not delegate authority to approve temporary employment to positions providing administrative or clerical support or long-term followup.)
  • Describe the work involved. The work must involve prevention or reduction of the threat to life or property e.g., treating casualties resulting from a major disaster or military action, cleaning up a major oil spill, or assessing structural soundness following a disaster. OPM will not delegate authority to approve appointments to positions involved in reimbursement or compensation for damage that has already happened.
  • Describe the expected duration of the emergency response effort.
  • Identify at what level the authority to approve the temporary employment should be delegated.
Process for
Approval to

You should follow this process to request approval to employ a retiree:





Requesting approval
Consult the Justification Criteria in this section.


Request is justified
Compile the required information listed in Justification Criteria in this section and send through appropriate channels to the Director, Human Resources Division, who will forward the request to the approving authority.


Request is approved
Activate retiree's pay by sending documentation of approval to the SPO.
Approval Authority The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approves requests to recruit, employ and retain military and civilian retirees at all grade levels and to temporarily employ retirees.
Updated 10/20

In addition to the record requirements in the Records/Reports Chart in Section A, The SPO also must maintain the following information:

  • Retiree’s Name
  • Organizational Title
  • Copy of Retiree’s Resume
  • Copy of Statement from the Retiree Indicating Refusal to Accept the Appointment Without Salary Offset
  • CSA #
  • Copy of OPM Statement Indicating Gross Monthly Annuity
  • Date of Reappointment
  • Position Title at Retirement and upon Re-appointment
  • Series, Grade & Step at Retirement and Upon Re-appointment
  • Annual Salary at Retirement and Upon Re-appointment
  • Written Justification
  • OPM and/or OHRM Approval/Disapproval
  • Expected and actual length of time the agency will use this authority for this employee.

Records may be destroyed by the SPO two (2) years after the termination of the appointment. Longer retention is permitted if required for business use. (See: DAA-GRS2014-0002-0016.)

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