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State employees may soon have the option to take "phased retirement," instead of full retirement.

The Senate voted 26-0 on Thursday to pass SB19 to give state workers who reach retirement age the option of working half-time while receiving 50 percent of their retirement benefits.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, sponsor of the bill, said it will cost the state no extra money. But it could allow some needed employees to work a little longer, and perhaps train their replacements.

He said the option would be available only to those who negotiate written agreements with their bosses and agencies. It is designed as a pilot program, and would expire in 2021 unless the Legislature chooses to extend it.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

— Lee Davidson