Just after it completed plans to eliminate 7,500 civilian jobs at seven air logistics centers, the Pentagon said Thursday it has agreed to a request by Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, to allow employees at those centers to take early retirement.

"Employees meeting the eligibility requirements will have from between now and Feb. 3 to take an early retirement," Hansen said.But they must take early retirement by Nov. 30 if they want a lump-sum payment of their accumulated retirement benefits, under terms of the 1991 budget approved by Congress. Under an original proposal, such lump-sum payments were to be eliminated - but they have been retained through November.

"It just wasn't fair. Many federal workers had spent their entire lives planning their retirement around the lump sum," Hansen said. "I am glad my colleagues saw the wisdom in extending the program and included it in the final budget package."