Public employees push off retirement

A survey performed by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence shows that public sector employees are delaying retirement as a result of the sagging economy:

WASHINGTON, DC — The slumping economy is holding back retirements among state and local government employees, according to a new survey of government managers, sponsored by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

A Tidal Wave Postponed: The Economy and Public Sector Retirements finds that almost half (49 percent) of the respondents to the membership survey said 20 percent or more of their workers are eligible to retire in the next five years. And an overwhelming majority (80 percent) said the economy is affecting the timing of retirements.

Of those, 85 percent said employees are delaying retirements, while only 9 percent said they are accelerating their retirements to avoid changes that will reduce benefits, and 7 percent said employees are taking incentives for early retirement.

“There is a silver lining to the delayed retirements,” said Elizabeth Kellar, executive director of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. “Governments have a lot of older workers who work in specialized fields and are hard to replace. Retaining these individuals a little longer gives us more time to help new employees prepare to fill their shoes.” Read more.

While the survey goes into the effects that losing qualified employees has on a public agency and the importance in developing plans to replace these workers when they leave, it does not discuss the fiscal impacts postponing retirement has on taxpayers’ coffers.