Good News for Federal WorkersawsDONOTREMOVE
While this year started off with a government shutdown that was the longest ever in US history, it ended well for federal workers. Apart from a generous pay raise, Pres. Trump also decided to provide increased federal benefits to government employees – twelve weeks of fully paid parental leave in the event of the birth, fostering, or adoption of children. However, there were a few bad and good changes as well. Here is the complete rundown:
Paychecks are going to get bigger: Beginning in 2020, federal workers will enjoy 2.6% additional basic pay & 0.5% additional income in other locality pay areas. Thus, federal workers can now enjoy an average of 3.1% in increase to their paychecks. In Dec 2019, OPM published the locality pay area definitions and pay tables for 2020 outlining precise pay packages in different regions throughout the country. OPM has also provided a salary calculator for federal employees, helping them calculate their raises precisely.
Telework privileges are being reduced: Trump’s policies seek to control telework privileges in spite of the practice being strongly promoted by the OPM and implemented at several agencies for many decades. The SSA ended the telework program back in Nov, which affected over 12000 workers. Officials cited 2 reasons for this decision: inability to effectively evaluate employees and the increase in wait times for customers. However, an IG evaluation discovered that productivity in employees had seen a significant spike due to telework. Congress is now urging SSA authorities to reconsider this decision of theirs.
Healthcare costs are headed north: OPM has estimated that federal workers would need to pay an additional 5.6% on average for paying off their health insurance premium during this year. However, the government is also shelling out 3.2% more for the FEHBP program. The government has also decided to bear over 70% of the premium costs to be paid by the individuals. The actual hike in insurance expenses is dependent on the plans that they have selected. FEHBP will also include additional benefits for substance abuse and mental health treatments and is currently planning to provide more services that help their enrollees fight their smoking addiction.
All Employees to Have TSP withdrawal feature: Federal employees aged above 59+ and are permitted to make over 4 in-service cash withdrawals in a year. These withdrawals may be made from both traditional accounts, Roth accounts or a mixture of both.
New Parents Are Eligible For More Paid Time: Starting on October 1, federal agency workers are allowed twelve weeks’ worth of paid, paternal leave when they foster, adopt, or give birth. Thus, feds now have the same benefits as private sector workers, which can help the company big time. They can also be incredibly useful for convincing people to switch from one department to a federal agency. OPM is currently working out various details regarding this program. The AFGENS – Treasurer Kelley stated that the entire agreement was an important for their union, which has been advocating for more rights and freedom for decades now.