FEDERAL BENEFITS

These are but a few highlights of benefits that Federal employees enjoy. If you hone in on one that particularly interests you, search the website for even more detailed information.

PAY COMPARABILITY: By law, Federal salaries are based on a comparison with jobs in the private sector. Federal pay has special provisions such as Special Pay Rates for certain positions, Special Pay Authorities, Law Enforcement Pay Provisions, and Locality Pay.

JOB SECURITY: Layoffs happen in Federal service, but they are very rare. A Federal job is the secure job for these insecure times. As long as the U.S. population keeps growing, Federal workers will be needed to provide government services. Downsizing that does occur in some Agencies is almost always accomplished through attrition rather than through the layoffs that are all too common in the private sector. Wouldn't it be good to have a career where you can concentrate on the work, rather than on trying to survive?

ANNUAL PAY INCREASES: in 1984, the Federal pay system was changed to reflect annual pay increases based on the Employment cost Indes (ECI). By law, the U.S. President sets salaries of white-collar workers and the larger lead Federal agencies set the rates for blue-collar workers.

WITHIN-GRADE STEP INCREASES: Each pay category is identified by a grade 1 through 15 and within each grade are ten steps. Based on performance and time in grade, employees are eligible to go up steps within their grades. After one year (52 weeks) you can go from Step 1 to Step 2, 3 and then to Step 4. For Steps 5,6, and 7, it takes 2 years (104 weeks); after 3 years (156 weeks) you can go to Step 8, 9, and 10. You top out at Step 10 and try for the next higher grade.

MERIT PROMOTION SYSTEM: This system provides a basis to determine whether or not a competitive promotion is required. For example, positions with career ladder promotions are made noncompetitively. Other promotions are made competitively. Of course, all promotions are based on acceptable performance.

HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS: The Federal Government offers a wide variety of options for voluntary health coverage. The Government pays a large percentage of the cost and you pay the rest. You can choose from 15 fee for service plans or from over 300 HMOs. No medical examination is required; no age restrictions apply; present health or preexisting conditions do not apply; and, there is no waiting period for benefits to kick in.

LIVE INSURANCE BENEFITS: You may choose from several options in this shared cost program. You pay 2/3 and the Government pays 1/3 based on group rates. Basic Life is your salary rounded to the next thousand plus $2,000. Right now, employees pay 16 1/2 cents per thousand dollars of coverage. For example, at a salary of $40,500 per year your basic insurance coverage is $43,000 - the bi-weekly premium deducted from your pay is $7.10, a pretty good bargain.

RETIREMENT BENEFITS: Since the beginning of 1984 all Federal hires are automatically covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System and Social Security and are eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) ( you contribute voluntarily up to 10 % of pay into a 401 (k)-type plan and the Government automatically contributes 1 % of your salary plus matching amounts up to 3% of salary). You also receive cost of living adjustments on your retirement annuity.

PAID HOLIDAYS: The Federal Government observes 10 holidays per year providing for several "long weekends" per year:

  • New Year's Day - January 1
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday - 3rd Monday in January
  • Presidents Day - 3rd Monday in February
  • Memorial Day - last Monday in May
  • Independence Day - July 4
  • Labor Day - 1st Monday in September
  • Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
  • Veterans Day - November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day - December 25

VACATION/SICK DAYS: For your first 3 years of service you earn vacation at 4 hours per pay period (26 pay periods per year) for a total of 13 days. After 3 years of service you earn 6 hours per pay period and adjusted to total 20 days per year. After 15 years service you earn 8 hours per pay period or 26 days a year. For part-time employees, leave earned is prorated. You may accumulate 30 days and carry it over from year to year. However, any time earned over the 30 days you must use or lose. Sick leave is accrued at 4 hours per pay period (13 days per year) and does not change with length of service. Leave Bank and Leave Transfer programs provide the voluntary option of donating annual leave and, in turn, applying to use leave from the bank in medical or family emergencies. The Family and Medial Leave Act makes it easier for you to use sick leave to care for family members up to a 13-day maximum per year.

TRAINING & EDUCATION: By law, the Government is authorized to provide paid training and under certain circumstances may provide tuition reimbursement. All training hinges on job relatedness and must relate to achieving the organization's mission, improving productivity, and providing quality service to the public.

ALTERNATIVE WORK SCHEDULES: The Federal Government is the leader in the design and use of flexible work schedules. Depending upon the employing agency, employees can choose from flexible workday programs or compressed workweek programs, and in some cases, you can actually work at home or a telecommuting center in an exurban area.

PART-TIME WORK: Part-time work abounds in Federal agencies. The jobs are permanent and part-time employees are eligible to receive benefits. The Government is also a leader in job sharing programs where 2 part-timers share one full-time position.

JOB TRANSFERS: If you meet job qualifications and job requirements, you can usually transfer from location to location or from agency to agency without competing for a position. The Federal government has a presence in every city and county in the U.S. and every country abroad. Transfer possibilities are very great. When functions are transferred from one location to another, all actions favor the employee.

APPEALS AND GRIEVANCES: Independent Government agencies handle appeals and grievances for employees - specific areas cover personnel-related issues, others cover health and insurance issues. Employees may or may not choose to join a Federal union or employee organization. The Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of the Special Counsel, Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the Office of Personnel Management oversee the rights and protections of Federal employees.

VETERANS PREFERENCE: Veterans receive preference points in competing for Federal jobs. Special hiring programs are available for disabled veterans as well.

EXECUTIVE SERVICE: The Senior Executive Service serves as top management in Federal agencies. Potential executives who qualify can apply directly for an SES position. Agencies also provide executive development programs for those employees at the higher general schedule grade levels. Members of the SES are eligible to receive substantial monetary awards based on their performance.

JOB EXCITEMENT: A public service job is a job with a mission. You are benefitting your fellow citizens. The work is important and often exciting. If you like work with scope, you can't equal a Federal job. Who has more resources than the Federal government? If your work requires large resources. If you're hoping to get rich on your job, you'll have to look elsewhere. But, if you seek an important, satisfying and exciting job, a Federal career may be right for you.


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