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HomeNewsArchives1/3 OF ELIGIBLE WORKERS APPLY TO RETIRE EARLY

1/3 OF ELIGIBLE WORKERS APPLY TO RETIRE EARLY

With the deadline passed, 256 government employees have applied for retirement under the Public Employees Voluntary Separation Incentive Act—just under one-third of the estimated 800 who were eligible.
The law was designed to help ease the financial crisis by trimming government payroll.
Of the 256 applicants, 117 work in the St. Thomas-St. John district and 139 work on St. Croix. A spokeswoman for Cecelia Senthill-Harrigan, assistant administrator for benefits with the Government Employees Retirement System, released the figures.
GERS is now reviewing the eligibility of each of the applicants, she said. The system is awaiting word from Territorial Court on its challenge to the section of the law allowing for employees with 28 years of service to "buy" two more years to make up the requisite 30 years.
An application goes through three agencies, according to Kenneth Herman of the Personnel Office. GERS must certify that the person has 30 years of service, Personnel verifies the salary, and then the Finance Department makes the calculation for the payment due the applicant.
Under the law, a classified employee receives an incentive payment equal to 20 percent of his annual salary; an unclassified employee receives 15 percent. The incentive is in addition to payment for the employee's unused, accumulated or accrued annual leave. The entire amount must be paid in a lump sum within 45 days of the employee's separation date.
As another incentive to get government workers into the private sector, the law provides for tax exemptions for the first year of a business operated by a retiree. The exemption is 100 percent of excise and franchise taxes as well as 100 percent of business and license fees.
The law also provides that employees who want to purchase up to two years of service may do so with a lump sum payment of their retirement contribution for that period of time or by having the money deducted from their annuity.
The deadline for applying to retire under the act was Nov. 18. The deadline for actual separation is Dec. 18.

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With the deadline passed, 256 government employees have applied for retirement under the Public Employees Voluntary Separation Incentive Act—just under one-third of the estimated 800 who were eligible.
The law was designed to help ease the financial crisis by trimming government payroll.
Of the 256 applicants, 117 work in the St. Thomas-St. John district and 139 work on St. Croix. A spokeswoman for Cecelia Senthill-Harrigan, assistant administrator for benefits with the Government Employees Retirement System, released the figures.
GERS is now reviewing the eligibility of each of the applicants, she said. The system is awaiting word from Territorial Court on its challenge to the section of the law allowing for employees with 28 years of service to "buy" two more years to make up the requisite 30 years.
An application goes through three agencies, according to Kenneth Herman of the Personnel Office. GERS must certify that the person has 30 years of service, Personnel verifies the salary, and then the Finance Department makes the calculation for the payment due the applicant.
Under the law, a classified employee receives an incentive payment equal to 20 percent of his annual salary; an unclassified employee receives 15 percent. The incentive is in addition to payment for the employee's unused, accumulated or accrued annual leave. The entire amount must be paid in a lump sum within 45 days of the employee's separation date.
As another incentive to get government workers into the private sector, the law provides for tax exemptions for the first year of a business operated by a retiree. The exemption is 100 percent of excise and franchise taxes as well as 100 percent of business and license fees.
The law also provides that employees who want to purchase up to two years of service may do so with a lump sum payment of their retirement contribution for that period of time or by having the money deducted from their annuity.
The deadline for applying to retire under the act was Nov. 18. The deadline for actual separation is Dec. 18.