Although part of the federal government, FCSIC has a more flexible salary and benefits program than most other government offices. Many benefits are paid for by the agency, at no cost to employees, while others are generously subsidized. The following provides highlights of FCSIC’s benefit programs.
Federal employees can choose from a wide selection of health insurance plans for themselves and their families. Currently, the federal government pays on average 72 percent of the cost of coverage. Unlike a growing number of private-sector workers, federal employees, under certain conditions, can continue their health insurance into retirement with the same government subsidy. As a benefit for its active (that is, unretired) employees, FCSIC covers on average an additional 18 percent of their cost of coverage. FCSIC employees and their families may choose from the following types of plans:
- Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
- Preferred provider
Dental and Vision
Dental and vision benefits are available to eligible federal employees, retirees, and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. This program allows dental insurance and vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which provides competitive premiums and no pre-existing condition limitations. Premiums for enrolled federal employees are withheld from salary on a pre-tax basis.
Congress created the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in 1986, and it became effective on January 1, 1987. Since that time, new federal civilian employees who have retirement coverage are covered by FERS. The plan consists of three tiers:
- The Basic Benefit Plan establishes an annuity based on an employee’s age, years of Federal service at retirement, and average highest salary over a consecutive three-year period. Disability and survivor benefits are also provided.
- Social Security pays benefits at retirement based on an employee’s age and earnings from Social Security-covered wages. Disability and survivor benefits are also provided.
- The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) allows employees to save and invest part of their income for retirement, receive matching agency contributions, and reduce their current taxes. The plan is similar to 401(k) plans offered by private employers. Employees participating in the TSP can choose among several investment plans and funds.
In 2015, FCSIC introduced the FCSIC 401(k) plan to provide additional retirement benefits to its employees. Through this plan, eligible employees may contribute a portion of their pay and receive agency-matching contributions.
Group Life Insurance
All employees are automatically enrolled in federal group life insurance unless they opt out of the coverage. The basic coverage equals annual pay (rounded to the next $1,000) plus $2,000. Employees pay two-thirds of the cost of basic life coverage and the government pays one-third. Additional life insurance coverage for employees and their families may be purchased.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Flexible spending accounts allow employees to pay out-of-pocket health and dependent care expenses with tax-free dollars. FCSIC contributes up to $1,300 to the account of each employee.
Life Cycle Account
A life cycle spending account helps employees save money for adoption, child care, elder care, fitness/recreation, or insurance premiums not reimbursed under another program or insurance policy. FCSIC contributes $800 to each employee’s account.
- Long-term disability: Employees who work at least 30 hours per week are automatically enrolled in FCSIC’s long-term disability insurance, at no cost to them, on the first day of active employment.
- Long-term care: Federal employees and retirees may purchase Federal long-term care insurance for themselves and qualified family members.
- Short-term disability: The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act provides compensation benefits to civilian employees of the United States for disability due to personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty. The act also provides for compensation for employment-related disease.
Vacation, Sick Leave, Family Leave and Holidays
- Ten paid federal holidays
- Annual leave: Employees accrue 13 days of paid annual (vacation) leave in the first year of employment. They earn additional annual leave as their tenure increases, up to a maximum of 26 days per year upon 15 years of federal service.
- Annual leave for non-federal work experience:
Under the provisions of the Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004, new employees hired to certain positions in the agency may receive additional vacation accrual for certain non-federal work or retired active duty uniformed service
- Sick leave: Employees earn 13 days of paid sick leave each year. There is no ceiling on the amount of sick leave that may be carried over from year to year. Available sick leave can be used for personal illness; medical, optical, and dental appointments; care for a family member who is ill; bereavement purposes; and absences related to adopting a child. Federal employees can receive additional paid leave to serve as bone marrow or organ donors.
- Family Medical Leave Act: The Family Medical Leave Act allows an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of leave without pay during any 12-month period for the birth and care of a child; adoption or foster care of a child; the care of a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; or a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to work.
- Maternity leave: Sick leave, annual leave, and leave without pay under the Family Medical Leave Act may be used to cover physical incapacitation, recuperation, and adjustment connected with pregnancy.
- FCSIC Leave Transfer Program: The Leave Transfer Program allows employees to donate leave directly to specific coworkers to assist them in dealing with personal or family medical emergencies, or to other Federal agency employees in need of leave, such as those affected by hurricanes and other disasters.
Public Transportation Subsidy and Free Parking
- FCSIC employees who use public transportation to commute to work may be reimbursed up to $255 per month for expenses of buses, subways, trains, and eligible commuter highway vehicles (including van pools). Employees who commute to work by bicycle at least 50 percent of the time in any given month are eligible for $20 per month to help offset expenses such as bicycle repairs, maintenance, and the purchase of safety equipment.
- Free parking is available at all offices.
Financial assistance is given to current employees who change locations for the agency because of new or changing job responsibilities.
Alternative Work Schedule
These are alternatives to the traditional workday. Many employees choose to work eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day, and have one day off every two weeks. This is referred to as a 5/4/9 schedule.
Employees, with their supervisors’ approval, may work away from the job site. Whether an employee may telework will generally depend on the characteristics of a task or project, the scheduling arrangement, and other variables.
Employee Assistance and Work/Life programs
- FCSIC’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential professional assessment and referrals to help employees 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The program also provides resources and referrals for services such as daycare providers, elder care, and legal and financial advisors.
- FCSIC full-time permanent employees whose adjusted gross family income is $60,000 or less per year and who meet certain eligibility requirements may receive the child care subsidy.
- FCSIC fitness facilities, classes, and wellness seminars: Employees may use the fitness center at the McLean, Virginia, headquarters at no cost. FCSIC also subsidizes exercise classes held in the McLean fitness center during lunchtime, and sponsors Lunch and Learn seminars on a variety of health-related topics. CPR, first aid, and defibrillator training courses are also offered.