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Employment Benefits

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Federal employment offers an attractive benefits package that includes paid holidays, annual and sick leave, comprehensive health coverage, life insurance, retirement programs, and a Thrift Savings Plan.

These benefits are described briefly below:

Paid Holidays: Federal employees receive 10 paid holidays each year: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Annual Leave: As a Federal employee, you will earn annual leave that may be used for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. Hours are earned each biweekly pay period. A maximum amount of 240 hours of annual leave may be carried over from one leave year to the next. Following is the rate of accrual for full time employees (leave is prorated for part-time employees or those on uncommon tours of duty):

  • Less than 3 years of service - 4 hours earned biweekly (13 days of leave per year)
  • 3-15 years of service - 6 hours earned biweekly 20 days (20 days of leave per year)
  • 15 years of service and up - 8 hours earned biweekly 26 (26 days of leave per year)

Sick Leave: As a Federal employee, you will earn sick leave that may be used in the event of your own or a family member's illness or medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment. Regardless of length of service, full time employees earn 4 hours sick leave biweekly or 13 days of sick leave each year (leave is prorated for part-time employees or those on uncommon tours of duty). There are no limits on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated. Federal employees may use up to 12 administrative workweeks of accumulated sick leave (480 hours) each leave year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Health Insurance: As a Federal employee, you will have a variety of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) or fee-for-service health plans from which to choose coverage. The agency pays part of the biweekly health benefits premium. No medical exam is required to enroll, and there are no waiting periods or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Coverage may be carried into retirement.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): You may contribute up to $2,550 per covered employee, or $5,000 (pre-tax dollars) for a "Federal couple", where both spouses are covered under the FSAFEDS program in a health care FSA. Funds invested in the health care FSA can be used for out-of-pocket medical, dental, prescription and over-the-counter medication expenses not covered by your health plan.

Additionally, you may contribute up to $5,000 per year in pre-tax dollars in a dependent care flexible spending account $5,000 per household (or $2,500 if married filing separately). Funds invested in the dependent care FSA are used to pay for childcare and adult dependent care expenses that allow you or your spouse to work.

Life Insurance: As a Federal employee, you may enroll in the government-wide Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program. FEGLI provides a variety of coverage and benefit amounts. Basic coverage is automatic for most employees unless the coverage is waived. Like the health insurance program, no medical exams are required to enroll and there is no waiting period.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS): FERS consists of three components: Social Security benefits, a basic annuity plan, and the tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Employees pay full Social Security taxes and a small contribution to the basic annuity plan. As your employer, we make an automatic 1% of salary contribution to your TSP. You may also elect to contribute a percentage of your salary to the Plan and we will match your contributions up to a total of 5% of salary. See:

Law Enforcement Retirement: If you are employed in a position that has been classified as Law Enforcement, you will be covered under a special retirement plan for Law Enforcement Officers. This plan requires you to contribute an additional .5% into your basic retirement account and in return you are eligible to retire at age 50 with as little as 20 years of law enforcement service.

Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS): Most Federal employees hired prior to January 1, 1984 are covered by the CSRS. The CSRS is a single benefit retirement plan which is financed by contributions from the employee and a matching contribution from the Government. Contributions are automatically deducted at the rate of 7% of the basic pay earned in a pay period (7.5% for law enforcement officers). See:

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): The TSP is a retirement savings plan for civilian employees of the Federal Government. The purpose of the TSP is to provide additional retirement income. The TSP offers Federal civilian employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401K plans. The TSP is a tax deferred contribution plan. The retirement income that you receive from your TSP plan will depend on how much you (and if applicable, the agency) have contributed during your federal career and the earnings on those contributions. The TSP will accept funds received from other eligible tax deferred retirement plans. See:

Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP): Eligible employees can sign up to participate in FLTCIP. This program provides long term care insurance to help pay costs of care when employees need help with activities of daily living, or when employees have a severe cognitive impairment. There are no government contributions to this program.



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