Prior to 1984, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) was the civilian retirement system for most federal employees. The retirement annuity formula for CSRS is roughly 2 percent for each year of service times your high-3 (an average of your highest three consecutive earning years).
The Social Security Amendments Act of 1983 required newly hired or rehired (with more than a one-year break in federal service covered by CSRS) employees be covered by social security. On January 1, 1987, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) became effective. The FERS system is a three tiered system: a basic government pension that is approximately 1 percent for each year of service times your high-3 average salary; a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) which provides employees with a pre-tax savings plan; and complete coverage under the Social Security system.
Most new employees today are covered by the FERS retirement system. For more comprehensive information, you may visit the OPM website on Retirement.
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program helps protect you and your eligible family members from the expenses of illness and accident. It is a voluntary program and you have 60 days from the date of your appointment to enroll in the plan of your choice or waive coverage.
There are three basic types of health benefit plans available:
- HMOs, and
- point of service
You and the government share the cost of your enrollment. Premiums and coverage are adjusted annually. There is an annual opportunity (open season) to make changes in your enrollment. This coverage is also available to federal retirees who were enrolled in an FEHB plan for the five years of service immediately before retirement. For more comprehensive information, you may visit the OPM website on Health Benefits.
Group Life Insurance
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) offers federal employees an opportunity to participate in a group plan that offers low rates and the convenience of payment through payroll deduction. FEGLI is term insurance. Participation is voluntary; however, if you are eligible, you are automatically covered for Basic Life unless you waive coverage. The government pays one-third of the cost of the Basic Life Insurance. Basic Insurance equals the greater of $10,000 or your actual rate of annual basic pay (rounded up to the next $1,000) plus $2,000. Accidental death and dismemberment benefits are a feature of basic life for employees. There is also an extra benefit for employees under age 45.
Three insurance options are available to employees with Basic coverage:
- Option A - additional coverage of $10,000;
- Option B - additional coverage up to five times your rate of pay; and
- Option C - Family coverage ($5,000 for spouse and $2,500 for each eligible dependent child).
For more comprehensive information, you may visit the OPM website on Life Insurance.
Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
- before tax savings and tax deferred investment earnings
- low administrative and investment expenses
- a choice of three investment funds
- interfund transfers
- an attractive loan program
- a choice of withdrawal options
The TSP is a defined contribution plan. The retirement income that you receive will depend upon how much you (and your agency, if you are a FERS employee) have contributed to your account during your working years and the earnings on those contributions. The contributions that you make to your TSP account are voluntary and separate from your contributions to your FERS or CSRS. Newly hired employees must wait a certain period of time before they become eligible to participate in TSP. There are two open seasons held each year: May 15 - July 31 and November 15 - January 31.
TSP is an integral part of FERS employee retirement package. FERS participants can contribute up to 10 percent of their basic pay each pay period. FERS employees are also entitled to receive Agency contributions. Once a FERS employee is eligible to participate in TSP, the Agency contributes an amount equal to 1 percent of basic pay each pay period. When FERS employees begin contributing to their TSP account, the Agency makes matching contributions that apply to the first 5 percent of pay each pay period. Your contributions are matched dollar for dollar for the first 3 percent and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2 percent.
Although CSRS employees do not receive Agency matching or 1 percent contributions, they may contribute up to 5 percent of their basic pay to the TSP. For more comprehensive information, you may visit the TSP web page.
Public Transportation Incentive
The BEP participates in the Federally Subsidized Public Transportation Incentive (PTI) Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage federal employees to use public transportation for commuting to and from work.
However, there is a specific statutory exception to the rule. The IRS permits up to the maximum per month for public transit passes and transit benefits for qualified employees who commute via public transportation.
All BEP employees who commute to work on public transportation shall be eligible to participate in this program as long as they are not listed on a federally-subsidized motor vehicle parking permit, or as a member of a commute carpool, at BEP or any other federal agency. The BEP will provide all eligible employees an incentive for their commute.
Unique Work Schedules
All GS employees
- hours vary
- Craft and non-craft employees
- 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- 3:10 p.m.-11:10 p.m.
- 15 percent night differential pay
- 10:50 p.m.-6:50 a.m.
- 15 percent night differential pay
Fixed Tour with Credit Hours
This is a schedule in which, within a biweekly pay period of 10 work days, the regular tour of duty consists of 10 eight-hour days, with a fixed starting and ending time coinciding with the normal hours of operations, within flexible bands.
Flextime/Flexible Bands with Credit Hours
This is a schedule in which, the specific periods of the workday during which employees have the ability to vary their arrival and departure times within the parameters established by their Office Chiefs.
[Example: For flextime work schedules (day shift), the bands could be 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday].
Credit hours are the number of hours in excess of eight in one day or 40 in one week in which an employee, on a fixed hour schedule. This allows employees to vary the length of a succeeding workday or workweek. Employees on a fixed hour schedule or Flextime/Flexible Bands may earn up to 24 credit hours per pay period. Employees may not work credit hours on a 5/4-9 or 4/10 Plan.
This plan includes the following schedule within a biweekly pay period of 10 work days:
- Eight, nine-hour days,
- One, eight-hour day, and
- One non-workday
All with pre-established fixed hours.
This plan includes four, 10 hour days, each work week within a biweekly pay period of 10 work days with pre-established days and fixed hours.
A full-time employee is entitled to pay for a government holiday in accordance with his or her regular work schedule for that day (i.e., nine hours of pay for a regularly scheduled nine hour day and eight hours of pay for a regularly scheduled eight hour day).
BEP employees may have the opportunity to work overtime. However, all overtime is scheduled according to the needs of each office.
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King's Birthday
Year End Shutdown
The BEP shuts down at the end of the year between the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Annual leave, Compensatory Time, Credit Hours, or Leave Without Pay, or any combination of any of the above, must be used the cover the amount of leave that will be taken.
Savings Bond Drive
The BEP participates in a federal government campaign to ensure that all individuals are aware of the benefits of participating in the Savings Bond Drive. The Savings Bond Drive is a saving program with high liquidity as well as tax benefits. BEP employees can purchase EE or I savings bonds through a payroll deduction. The Savings Bond Drive is a convenient and practical way to help build a diversified and safe investment portfolio. For more comprehensive information, you may visit the Savings Bonds website.