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Finally in early 2015 some federal employees and their agencies worked out arrangements that made phased retirement a reality. These employees and agencies, like all path-setters, will be followed by many more.

The early trend seems to be to make the program as basic as possible. For now, at least, there is little expectation that employees will be allowed to explore various side alleys of phased retirement such as changing jobs or agencies or going back to full-time work. That may change. Lessons will be learned and in practice the program will vary among agencies and, over time, even within agencies.

The fact that it took so long to get the policy in place, and the desire to keep it simple even where it is now underway, illustrates that there are many considerations to phased retirement for agencies. Deciding whether to ask for it requires similar careful consideration for employees.

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