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Federal Career Benefits: Careers for the 21st Century
Contents: Federal Employees Health Benefits - Long Term Care Insurance
Retirement - Thrift Savings Plan - Salaries - Paid Leave - Family Leave
Holidays - Work Schedules - Awards - Training - Transportation Subsidies

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help you to meet your health care needs. Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. You can choose from among Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, regardless of where you live, or Plans offering a Point-of-Service (POS) Product and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan. Some FFS plans are open to all enrollees, but some require that you join the organization that sponsors the plan. Some plans limit enrollment to certain employee groups. Membership requirements and/or limitations also apply to any POS product the FFS plan may be offering.

Managed care is an important part of the FEHB Program. Common features of managed care are pre-approval of hospital stays, the use of primary care providers as "gatekeepers" to coordinate your medical care, and networks of physicians and other providers. Federal employees are fortunate to be able to choose from many different health plans competing for your business.

The Office of Personnel Management's website at www.opm.gov/insure allows you to compare the costs, benefits, and features of different plans. Starting in October 2000, Federal employees can use pre-tax dollars to pay health insurance premiums to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program under a new "Premium Conversion" program. Premium conversion uses Federal tax rules which allows employees to deduct their share of health insurance premiums from their taxable income, thereby reducing their taxes. This plan is similar to the private sector, which has allowed employees to deduct health insurance premiums from their taxable incomes for many years.

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Long Term Care Insurance (LTC)

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will sponsor a high-quality long term care insurance program effective in October 2002. It's insurance to help pay for long term care services you may need if you can't take care of yourself because of an extended illness or injury, or an age-related disease. Long term care insurance can provide broad, flexible benefits for nursing home care, care in an assisted living facility, care in your home, adult day care, hospice care and more. LTC insurance can supplement care provided by family members, reducing the burden you place on them. For more information on the program, you can visit the Office of Personnel Management's website at www.opm.gov/insure/ltc.

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Library staff are covered under one of two retirement plans: FERS or CSRS. The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) covers almost all new Federal civilian employees hired after 1983. It was designed in response to changing times and Federal workforce needs. Many of its features are "portable" so that employees who leave Federal employment may still qualify for the benefits. The new retirement system is flexible. Covered employees are able to choose what is best for their individual situation. The retirement system is a three tiered retirement plan. The three components are Social Security Benefits, Basic Benefit Plan, and Thrift Saving Plan Benefits. Retirement benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) are financed by both the employee and Government contributions to the retirement fund, and provide benefits based on length of service and the average salary over the highest three years of pay. This retirement system covers most Federal civilian employees hired before 1983.

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Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees. The purpose of the TSP is to provide retirement income. It offers Federal civilian employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under so-called "401(k)" plans. Employees covered by the Federal Employee's Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) can contribute to the TSP. The rules are different for FERS and CSRS employees.

FERS Participants - can contribute up to thirteen percent (13%) of basic pay each pay period their TSP accounts. They receive the following important benefits: Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions; Agency Matching Contributions; and immediate vesting in Agency Matching Contributions and vesting generally in 3 years in Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions.

CSRS Participants - can contribute up to eight percent (8%) of basic pay each pay period to their TSP account. CSRS participants do not receive any agency contributions.

All Participants - The TSP offers the following features: before tax savings and tax-deferred investment earnings; low administrative and investment expenses; choice of investments in five funds: Government Securities Investment (G) Fund; Common Stock Index Investment (C) Fund; and Fixed Income Index Investment (F) Fund; Small Capitalization Stock Index (S) Fund; and the International Stock Index (I) Fund; Interfund transfers; loans from your own contributions and earnings while you are in Federal Service; limited in-service withdrawals for financial hardship or after you reach age 59 ½; portable benefits and a choice of withdrawal options after you separate from Federal Service; spouses' rights protection for loans and withdrawals; automated telephone service (the Thriftline) for up-to-date account information and other services; and a web site with TSP information and materials, including calculators for personal account projections and on-line account transactions.

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Competitive Salaries

Cost-of-Living Allowances (COLA) - scheduled annual pay increases.

Special Salary Rates - for certain Information Technology positions.

Locality Pay Adjustment - for the Washington-Metropolitan area.

Within-Grade Increases (WIG) - increases in employee's rate of basic pay by advancement from one step of his/her grade to the next after meeting requirements for length of service and performance.

Quality Step Increases (QSI) - an increase in employee's rate of basic pay through an additional within-grade increase granted for sustained high quality performance.

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Paid Leave

Annual Leave - An employee may use annual leave for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. An employee has a right to take annual leave, subject to the right of the supervisor to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken. Annual Leave Ceiling - the maximum amount of annual leave that may be carried over into the new leave year is 240 hours (30 days).

* Annual leave is prorated for part-time employees and employees on uncommon tours of duty.

Accrual Rates:

  • 3 years or less of service = ½ day (4 hours) for each pay period
  • 3 years but less than 15 years of service = 3/4 day (6 hours) for each pay period except 1 1/4 day (10 hours) in last pay period of the leave year
  • 15 or more years of service = 1 day (8 hours) for each pay period

Sick Leave - An employee may use sick leave for personal medical needs, care of a family member/bereavement purposes, and/or adoption related purposes. There are no limits on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated. Unused sick leave accumulated by employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System will be used in the calculation of their annuities.

Accrual Rates:

  • Full-time employees = ½ day (4 hours) for each biweekly pay period
  • Part-time employees = 1 hour for each 20 hours in pay status

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Family Friendly Leave Programs

Family and Medical Leave Program
Leave Transfer Program

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Paid Holidays

Ten (10) paid holidays each year: New Years Day; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Presidents Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving Day; and Christmas Day.

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Flexible Work Schedules

Flexible work schedules are offered in many Library offices instead of traditional fixed work schedules to allow employees to choose their arrival and departure times to help employee's balance work and family or personal responsibilities.

Flextime Schedule - A flexitime schedule permits a staff member to choose his/her own work hours on a daily basis within established constraints, but shall work eight hours each day. During the flexible time a staff member may vary starting and stopping times within established time limits.

Compflex Schedule - A staff member may work more or less than 40 hours per workweek provided that the total work hours for the two-week pay period equals 80 hours. A workday may consist of eight or nine hours and non workdays usually include Saturday and Sunday, and Monday or Friday.

Credit Hours - Credit hours are given for authorized work performed by an employee in excess of his/her regularly scheduled tour of duty on any workday in order to vary the length of a subsequent workday. Such work is compensated by an equal amount of time off.

Compensatory Time Off - employee's may request compensatory time off in lieu of payment for irregular or occasional overtime work or regularly scheduled overtime work.

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Incentive Awards

Incentive awards are given to encourage staff members to participate in improving efficiency and economy of Government operations and to recognize and reward staff members, individually or in groups, for their suggestions, inventions, or special achievements which contribute to efficiency, economy, or other improvement in Government operations. Library staff can be considered for Honorary, Cash, On-the-Spot, Job Performance, and Time Off awards.

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Library employees receive on-the-job training and are eligible for skill builder classes and full-length courses offered by Library Services' Technical Processing and Automation Instruction Office and by the Library's Internal University. Outside training is granted based on relevancy to position and funding.

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Transportation Subsidies

Qualified Library Staff members receive $100.00 per month in the form of a Metrochek. Metrocheks are distributed quarterly to be used used on the Metrorail system, Virginia Rail Express, MARC commuter trains, county and commuter buses and qualified commercial van pools.

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June 17, 2003
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Links for More Information:

Federal Employee Health Benefits Program Home Page (OPM)

Federal Group Life Insurance
Information (OPM)

Long Term Health Insurance
Program Home Page (OPM)

Federal Retirement Programs (OPM)

FERS Information (OPM)

Social Security Online

Thrift Savings Plan

Status of Telework in the
Federal Government (OPM)