No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees

No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees

fotorutkowscy/Shutterstock.com

Federal employees will report for a full day of work Tuesday, with the Obama administration opting not to give any extra time off for Christmas Eve.

The decision does not come as a surprise. It is “consistent with historical precedent when Christmas has fallen on a Wednesday,” an official at the Office of Personnel Management told Government Executive. “The government has remained open on Christmas Eve for six of the last nine times since 1946 that Christmas Day has fallen on a Wednesday.”

One of the recent exceptions was 2002, when President George W. Bush gave feds a half day off on Tuesday, Dec. 24. Continue reading “No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees”

Amid Talks of Pension Contribution Hikes, Lawmakers Speak Out for Feds

Amid Talks of Pension Contribution Hikes, Lawmakers Speak Out for Feds

“Hardworking federal employees have already had to weather a government shutdown and have made a substantial sacrifice over the last several years to help bring down the deficit,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said.

“Hardworking federal employees have already had to weather a government shutdown and have made a substantial sacrifice over the last several years to help bring down the deficit,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said. Charles Dharapak/AP

Lawmakers in Congress are reportedly considering a budget deal that would effectively cut pay to federal employees, and some members of both parties have voiced their stark opposition to any such measure.

Negotiators in a conference committee created as part of the deal to reopen government after the 16-day shutdown in October have until Dec. 13 to recommend a plan to fund government past Jan. 15. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the respective House and Senate Budget Committee leaders and their parties’ head representatives in the conference negotiations, are discussing increasing federal employees’ contributions to their retirement pensions as part of an effort to offset some of the scheduled budget cuts known as sequestration.

President Obama included in his fiscal 2014 budget a proposal to increase feds’ retirement fund contribution from 0.8 percent of their salaries to 2 percent, and House Republicans also pitched that change Tuesday in a bill to offset just the Defense Department portion of sequestration cuts.  While the details of any conference committee deal remain unclear and are still being negotiated, several lawmakers from both chambers of Congress blasted any cuts to federal employees’ pay or benefits. Continue reading “Amid Talks of Pension Contribution Hikes, Lawmakers Speak Out for Feds”

Thousands of Feds Withdrew Retirement Investments During Shutdown

Thousands of Feds Withdrew Retirement Investments During Shutdown

pterwort/Shutterstock.com

Federal employees turned to their retirement investments for cash during the government shutdown, with thousands of workers taking hardship withdrawals to support themselves through the unpaid period.

Nearly 3,000 more feds withdrew from their Thrift Saving Plans during the shutdown than did in October of 2012, officials said at a Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board meeting Monday. When the shutdown began, roughly 900,000 federal employees were unsure if they would get paid for the time they missed, though Congress has since agreed to issue retroactive pay to the furloughed workers. Employees required to work during the shutdown also did not receive pay until the government reopened, though they were guaranteed back pay from the outset.

Furloughed federal employees were prohibited from contributing to their TSPs during the shutdown, but those contributions will be paid retroactively as a result of the back pay. The workers were allowed to make withdrawals of at least $1,000 due to “financial hardship.” Continue reading “Thousands of Feds Withdrew Retirement Investments During Shutdown”

EEOC Considers New Wave of Furloughs

EEOC Considers New Wave of Furloughs

Ken Tannenbaum/Shutterstock.com

Employees at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may face a new round of furloughs, and the union that represents them is pushing back.

EEOC has already implemented its first phase of furloughs because of sequestration budget cuts, requiring employees to take five days of unpaid leave. The agency, which employs about 2,200 workers, is now assessing whether it needs to institute a second round.

In an effort to head off additional furloughs, the American Federation of Government Employees has asked its members to write to EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien to “share their personal stories of the harmful effects of furloughs on their work and finances.” Continue reading “EEOC Considers New Wave of Furloughs”

MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals

MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals

AFGE’s National President J. David Cox
AFGE’s National President J. David Cox AFGE

The Merit Systems Protection Board is bracing for the “unprecedented situation” of mass furlough appeals, according to an agency official.

MSPB — a quasi-judicial, independent agency that adjudicates appeals of “adverse personnel actions” from federal employees — is responsible for issuing rulings on furlough appeals. Bryan Polisuk, general counsel for MSPB, said the board does not know what to anticipate regarding the possibility of a wave of appeals.

“We’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” Polisuk told Government Executive. “We’re considering different things in an effort to handle the appeals, but we have to see if they come.” Continue reading “MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals”