(a) When an employee meets the requirements for age retirement on any day within a month, he is subject to automatic separation at the end of that month. The department or agency shall notify the employee of the automatic separation at least 60 days in advance of the separation. If the department or agency fails through error to give timely notice, the employee may not be separated without his consent until the end of the month in which the notice expires.
(b) The head of the agency, when in his or her judgment the public interest so requires, may exempt a law enforcement officer, firefighter, nuclear materials courier, or customs and border protection officer from automatic separation until that employee becomes 60 years of age.
(c) The Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Defense, under such regulations as each may prescribe, may exempt an air traffic controller having exceptional skills and experience as a controller from automatic separation until that controller becomes 61 years of age.
(d) When a department or agency lacks authority and wishes to secure an exemption from automatic separation for one of its employees other than a Presidential appointee, beyond the age(s) provided by statute, i.e., age 60 for a law enforcement officer, firefighter, nuclear materials courier, or customs and border protection officer, and age 61 for an air traffic controller, the department or agency head shall submit a recommendation to that effect to OPM.
(1) The recommendation shall contain:
(i) A statement that the employee is willing to remain in service;
(ii) A statement of facts tending to establish that his/her retention would be in the public interest;
(iii) The period for which the exemption is desired, which period may not exceed 1 year; and,
(iv) The reasons why the simpler method of retiring the employee and immediately reemploying him or her is not being used.
(2) The recommendation shall be accompanied by a medical certificate showing the physical fitness of the employee to perform his or her work.
(e) OPM may approve an exemption only before the automatic separation date applicable to the employee. For this reason, the department or agency shall forward the recommendation to OPM at least 30 days before this separation date.