Get to know the Voluntary Separation Program 

During challenging budgetary times, King County’s Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) allows approved agencies to offer retirement-eligible regular employees a financial incentive of $20,540 to leave County employment in a mutually beneficial agreement. Currently, there are a few agencies that have been approved to offer the program for a limited time in 2020.

In order to be eligible for the program, an employee must:

  • Have at least five years of continual current County service,
  • Not be a temporary employee, and
  • Be eligible to apply for a pension from the Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System, Public Employees Retirement System, Public Safety Employees Retirement System or the City of Seattle Retirement Plan, before December 31, of the calendar year in which the employee applies for the program.
  • While the employee must be retirement-eligible and must separate from the county, the employee need not actually begin drawing a pension to be considered eligible for the program.

An employee’s request to participate will be considered by their agency and reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, merely meeting the minimum eligibility threshold does not guarantee approval. Approval is discretionary and consideration will be given to the impact to service delivery, impact on retention of skilled employees, cost of refilling the position, short- and long-term savings, and length of service.

In addition to the employee receiving a financial incentive, benefits to the agency will include:

  • It helps to minimize the number of employees subject to layoffs (reductions in force) – the position of the separated employee may be eliminated instead of laying off an employee
  • It provides for cost savings and efficiencies
  • Agencies can better align resources and work programs with its priorities by creating greater flexibility.

Not all agencies or divisions within agencies are eligible to participate each year. Approval to participate is received by the Director of Performance, Strategy and Budget (PSB) and generally depends on the agency’s financial situation. A current list of participating agencies can be found here.

To learn more, view the Frequently Asked Questions, or speak with your department’s Human Resources Manager (employee access only).