A round of early retirement and buyout offers at the EPA, being watched for the precedent it may set for other agencies, already has produced one lesson for employees: be prepared, because the window of opportunity can open and close quickly.
Today (Wednesday) is the deadline for employees eligible for the offers to decide whether to accept, just two weeks after being notified of their eligibility, which in turn occurred just three days after the agency received approval from OPM. Employees who accept the offers–spread across all regional and program offices except the IG–must separate no later than September 2.
The offers did not come as a surprise, however, since the agency had been signaling for months that it intended to make them to nearly a tenth of its 14,500 employees.
According to information released by the AFGE union, which represents many EPA employees, those who accept will be notified whether they made the cut by August 9 and will have until August 31 to change their minds. Meantime, there is a chance that some employees will be wait-listed; if that happens, they will be notified by August 18.