The Federal Government has long been known for offering exceptional Federal jobs benefits to their employees. Some of the benefits include: a variety of health plans, educational reimbursement, 401k savings plan, low-cost life insurance, liberal vacation and sick leave, comprehensive health care providers and plans, diverse job opportunities and alternative work schedules.
Your employment status determines your eligibility for many benefits. Below is a quick look at each category of employee and the benefits that employee receives:
|Category of Employee||Life Insurance||Health Benefits||TSP||Retirement||Leave|
|Temporary (1 year of less)||*1.1||*1.2||X|
|Temporary (less than 90 days)||*2.1|
|Intermittent / When actually employed|
|Employees on Leave without pay||*4.1||*4.1|
*1.1 – You are excluded from coverage unless this appointment follows a position in which you were insured, with a break in service of no more than 3 days.
*1.2 – If your position is excluded from coverage because your appointment is limited to one year or less, you will be eligible to enroll when you have completed one year of current continuous employment.
*2.1 – Accrues sick leave only. Entitlement to annual leave is only after being employed for a continuous period of 90 days under successive appointments without a break in service. After completing the 90-day period, the annual leave that would have accrued during this period is credited to the employee’s annual leave balance.
*3.1 – Certain conditions apply.
*3.2 – A career seasonal employee receives benefits (health, life, etc.), but does not provide employment on a full time year round basis. A temporary season employee does not receive any benefits but does accrue annual and sick leave.
*4.1 – Coverage continues for 1 year. The employee must make the employer portion of premium payments or health and & life insurance benefits.
*5.1 – Former employees continue their coverage for 31 days following the date they leave the agency, and may convert to individual policies.
*5.2 – Former employees may roll over TSP contribution to private ROTH or 401 K or contributions may be paid out.
*5.3 – Former employees are paid for their annual leave. Sick leave remains on the books in case you return to Federal civilian service.
*6.1 – Health and life insurance coverage for Federal employees depends on the type of appointment an employee has and the expectation of substantial employment during the year. Students hired under the Internship Program on a temporary appointment are generally not entitled to these benefits. However, once they have been continuously employed for over a year without a break in service exceeding 5 days, they may enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, but they would have to pay 100 percent of the premium (i.e., both the employee and government share). There is no provision for temporary employees to be eligible for life insurance coverage. Students hired under an Internship/Recent Graduate or PMF appointment for a period expected to last longer than 1 year are eligible for health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment authority for over one year and are expected to be in a pay status for at least one-third of the total period of time from the date of their initial appointment to the date of the completion of the program. Cost of premiums is split between the employee and the agency, as for all permanent employees. (See 5 CFR § 870.202 for life insurance and 5 CFR § 890.102 for health benefits.)
*6.2 – Employees hired under the Pathways Programs on an appointment for 90 days or more are eligible to earn annual and sick leave. Per 5 USC 6303(b) employees whose appointment is limited to less than 90 days may be eligible for annual leave if they have previously served for a continuous period of 90 days under successive appointments.
Your “employment status” determines your eligibility for many benefits.
- Eligible employees can elect to participate in a wide array of insurance coverage programs.
- The Federal Government is required by law to offer eligible employees a retirement plan, paid time off for illness and vacations, cost of living adjustments, etc.
- There are other advantages to Federal employment that vary by agency or even location, such as on-site childcare, fitness facilities, and more.
- Not to be overlooked are the “intangibles”, the opportunity to serve one’s country and work on cutting-edge projects.
Your insurance is valued at an amount equal to your annual salary, plus $2,000-$3,000. Employees have the option to increase their own coverage and/or include their family in the coverage. Like health insurance, life insurance can be carried into retirement.
Eligible Federal employees get to select the health insurance plan that best fits their needs. There are Health Maintenance Organizations, Points of Service plans and Fee for Service plans from which to choose. Three additional features sweeten the deal. Federal employees can pay for their portion of the premium with pre-tax dollars (which reduces your taxable income). Plus, the Government pays for a portion of the premium. In addition, employees have the option of continuing their health insurance coverage in retirement (provided certain criteria are met).
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
The TSP is the Federal Government’s equivalent to a 401K meaning you can invest a percentage of your pretax earnings into several funds, watch your investment grow until you retire, then enjoy your retirement years knowing you have financial security. Additionally, if you participate in FERS, the Federal Government will automatically contribute an amount equal to 1% of your basic salary to your TSP account. If you contribute more, so will the Government, (up to 5% of your basic pay).
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
EAP is a cost-free program available to you as a Federal employee. It’s designed to help you effectively address and find solutions to overcome a variety of problems you may be experiencing in life such as: alcohol and drug abuse, work and family pressures, job stress which can negatively affect your overall job performance on the job and your personal health.
Annual leave is the equivalent to “vacation” time to use for rest and relaxation, personal business or emergencies. While agency rules must be followed in regards to taking annual leave, employees have a right to take annual leave, in increments as small as an hour or less, provided their absence will not interfere with mission critical work. Annual leave accumulates every pay period and for regular Federal employees, no more than 30 days can be carried over into the next leave year. For employees in the Senior Executive Service no more than 90 days may be carried over into the next new leave year.
- 1-3 years of service earn 4 hours of leave per pay period.
- 3-14 years of service earn 6 hours of leave per pay period.
- 15+ years of service earn 8 hours of leave per pay period.
The Government allows ample time for you to get personal medical care, care for ill family members, recovering from an illness, childbirth, and for adoption related purposes. Full time employees accrue sick leave at a rate of 4 hours per pay period. Sick leave may accumulate without any limitations.
Other Family Leave Policies
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) an employee may take up to 12 unpaid weeks in order to care for a newborn child or take in a foster child. There are other leave programs that support employees and/or families going through other specific difficulties.
Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are retirement or “pension” systems designed for older and newer Federal employees. Although they differ in many ways, both offer disability retirement, early retirement options and the opportunity to provide annuities to spouses. New employees generally are covered by the newer FERS program.
Some Federal agencies provide access to fitness centers at no or low cost to employees through payroll deduction and support time to work out as well.
Alternative/Flexible/Compressed Work Schedules
The Federal Government has established alternative work schedules (AWS) in an effort to help managers and supervisors meet the needs of their programs while allowing employees more flexibility in scheduling their personal activities and balance work and family responsibility. Many employees take advantage of this benefit to participate in volunteer programs and pursue educational opportunities. Typical work schedules include working 80 hours in 9 days (instead of 10) or having flexible start and end times for the work day. Agencies often allow employees to flex their start and end times provided their schedules are approved, and they are available during certain core hours.
The Federal Government sponsors more than 1,000 childcare centers, many of them located in Federal buildings.
In 1990, the Federal Government established the telecommuting program. The objectives of this program are to cut down on the stress of commuting, lighten the burden on the nation’s roadways, and resolve dependant care issues. Agencies are encouraged to consider whether part of any position might be effectively carried out from home or telecommuting centers. Telework is a management option.
While the Federal government has downsized in recent decades, it employs almost 2 million civilians and is the nation’s largest employer.
Service to Country
Working for the Federal government is a great way to serve our country and contribute to making it better.
Involvement in Cutting-Edge Products
The Federal Government has many agencies that are pioneering advancements in medical research, technology developments, healthcare, defense and much more.
For more information, visit USA.gov.