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U.S. Office of Personnel Management Restructuring Assistance

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Chief Human Capital Officers
John Berry, Director
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Restructuring Assistance

The Federal Government is experiencing restructuring and downsizing in an increasing number of agencies. As a result, some Federal employees may ultimately find themselves in a position of having to transition to a new job. To ease that transition, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is committed to providing Federal agency personnel with the necessary tools to manage their workforce and their careers.

This memorandum provides links to existing guidance and resources on OPM's website for Federal employees and human resources personnel. Also included are resources sponsored by the Department of Labor and sites with career information and opportunities in the private sector.

OPM Webinars

Employee Resources –

  • Career Transition Resources provides policy on career transition and the regulations which enable employees to take charge of their own careers and find job opportunities within the Federal Government. Also contains links to USAJOBS tips on applying for a Federal job.
  • Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) encourages voluntary separations by reducing the age and service eligibility requirements for retirement to help agencies complete organizational change with minimal disruption to the workforce.
  • Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) or buyout authority, allows agencies that are downsizing or restructuring to offer employees lump-sum payments up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily separate.
  • Summary of Transfer of Function - A transfer of function takes place when a function ceases in one competitive area, and moves to one or more other competitive areas that do not perform the function at the time of transfer.   This summary covers the rights of non-temporary employees who have the right to move with their work to another organization if the alternative is separation or downgrading by a reduction in force (RIF).
  • Summary of Reassignment covers the procedures in the reassignment regulations.  With this summary, employees, managers, union representatives, and others will have an overview of both the agency and employees rights in a reassignment situation.
  • Summary of Reduction in Force covers the procedures in OPM's RIF regulations.
  • The Employee Guide to Reduction in Force Benefits provides anoverview of benefits and entitlements when employees are affected by a RIF.
  • USAJOBS 3.0 is the Federal Government's official one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information available at
  • Career One Stop, sponsored by the Department of Labor, focuses on private sector jobs and provides tools to help job seekers, students and career professionals.

Veterans Information

  • Vet Guide – This site provides information about veterans’ preference in RIF. This site also explains the special provisions that apply in determining whether retired military members receive preference in RIF and whether their military service is counted.
  • Feds Hire Vets is a site for Federal employment information for veterans, transitioning military service members, their families, and Federal hiring officials. .

Agency References –

  • Reshaping Handbook – OPM’s Workforce Reshaping Operations Handbook is comprehensive guidance developed to assist Federal agencies that are reshaping by identifying mandatory procedures and by suggesting related options that may reduce the likelihood of involuntary separations.
  • Guide to Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) - VERA authority encourages more voluntary separations and helps the agency complete the needed organizational change with minimal disruption to the work force.
  • Guide to Voluntary Incentive Payments (VSIP) - The VSIP authority, also known as buyout authority, allows agencies that are downsizing or restructuring to offer employees lump-sum payments up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily separate.
  • Labor Management Relations - The National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations issued guidance for agencies on the obligation to engage in Pre-Decisional Involvement (PDI) with their labor organizations, as required under Executive Order 13522. As stated in the Executive order, “Management should discuss workplace challenges and problems with labor and endeavor to develop solutions jointly, rather than advise union representatives of predetermined solutions to problems and then engage in bargaining over the impact and implementation of the predetermined solutions.”
  • A Manager’s Handbook – Handling Traumatic Events – Provides Federal managers with practical ideas to help employees deal with difficult and stressful

Community Resources 

The following links are provided as examples of community/non-Federal resources available to assist employees. OPM does not endorse any one particular job information/guidance provider.

Agency Human Resources Directors are encouraged to disseminate this information to your respective agency personnel. We will update the OPM website to organize these resources for easy reference.

OPM’s Recruiting Policy and Outreach offers workshops on interview techniques, resume writing, and finding and applying for Federal jobs. If your agency has interest in any of these OPM workshops, or if you wish to submit additional topics for consideration, please send your requests or inquiries to to enable OPM to continually provide needed services to our customers.


cc: Agency Human Resources Directors