A voluntary retirement is one you take before retirement age and usually with lower benefits. Many times, public or private businesses might offer this as an alternative to laying off people.
Although the time limit might vary depending on the employer, most employers have a time limit in determining whether to take early retirement.
Some employers start voluntary retirement at 50 years old, but others start at 55. Depending on the length of your employment with the company, age might not matter. Other times, it is a combination of age and service to take voluntary retirement.
Although age and years overlap in some instances, if you have 25 or more years in the company, you might be able to retire no matter your age. In some occupations, you can retire after 20. This is often the case in police and correctional positions.
Sometimes voluntary retirement depends on the department you work in and the position you hold. If you are not in an area where layoffs are necessary, voluntary retirement might not be an option no matter how old you are or how many years you have with the company.
People in government jobs often have to check federal, state, local and agency laws to be eligible for voluntary retirement. These laws might influence private companies also.