Unlike the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not expanding but going the opposite way, with up to 1,000 staff positions to be cut at 19 offices and locations across the country, the Federal Times is reporting.

The cuts will target employees at the GS-13 to GS-15 levels and will feature standard early retirement packages, along with bonuses of up to $25,000. The General Schedule (GS) federal employee classification goes up to GS-15 only. After that, employees become part of what's called the Senior Executive Service.

In an email to employees in December obtained by the Federal Times, Bob Perciasepe, EPA deputy administrator, said the early-outs "can be used to realign our workforce to meet changing mission requirements and move toward new models of work." Perciasepe also referred to hiring restrictions and the difficulty "of protecting human health and environment" when only one of every two or three job openings can be filled.

The EPA's budget for Fiscal 2014 is $8.2 billion, just shy of 2 percent less than last year.

The cuts will be finished by April 4. Approval of the plan by the Office of Personnel Management is expected by the end of next week.