The Federal Government provides many benefits, financial incentives, and family friendly programs to its employees.
Some of them are:
There are several pay systems within the Federal government. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) develops and maintains Government-wide laws and policies on pay, including:
- basic pay setting,
- locality pay,
- special salary rates,
- back pay,
- pay limitations,
- premium pay,
- grade and pay retention,
- severance pay,
- relocation and retention incentives, and
- cost-of-living allowances (COLA).
However, each Federal agency manages these pay policies and programs for its employees. Within FEMA, the Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer helps the Administrator with this.
For a description of the more common pay systems found within FEMA, visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Eligible employees can enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program regardless of age or medical condition. It is a group health insurance plan that offers about 200 health plan options nationally. The government pays most of the cost for these benefits. The employee's cost is deducted every other week from his/her pay.
The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI) provides term insurance. It builds no cash value. FEGLI consists of basic life insurance coverage and three options, which are:
All new employees are automatically covered under basic insurance, unless waived. Employees must have the basic insurance in order to select any of the optional coverages.
Optional insurance coverage is NOT automatic – employees must select it. Employees who want it must select coverage within 60 calendar days after becoming eligible. Not selecting optional insurance is considered waiving it.
Long-Term Care Insurance
The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) helps pay for care costs when employees need help with every day activities and/or have a severe mental injury or illness. Employees pay the full cost for this insurance.
New employees may be eligible to apply for this program. Eligible employees should use either an abbreviated underwriting application or a full underwriting application, depending on whether he or she applies within 60 days of becoming eligible.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Program
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) let employees make pre-tax salary contributions to pay for qualified medical expenses not reimbursed by FEHB or any other source, and to pay dependent care expenses. The funds put into an FSA are not subject to Federal income and FICA taxes, nor most state and local income taxes.
A Health Care FSA (HCFSA) pays for the uncovered or un-reimbursed parts of qualified medical costs. The HCFSA does not replace health insurance. It simply pays for your out-of-pocket health care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) lets employees pay eligible costs for dependent care, such as the cost of childcare or a disabled adult, with pre-tax dollars.
Unlike the FEHB, there are no government contributions to the program. Employees contribute all of the money to the FSA.
Survivor benefits may be payable to a surviving spouse upon the death of an active federal employee. An active federal employee means that at the time of the employee’s death, the employee was still on the agency’s pay rolls. Benefits may also be payable to surviving children and former spouses depending on the situation. A benefits counselor will provide specific information to the family members.
If you are a relative or employee reporting the death of a FEMA employee, we are very sorry for your loss. Please contact the benefits staff at FEMA-HC-BENEFITS@FEMA.DHS.GOV, which is managed Monday through Friday during regular business hours (Eastern time).
When contacting the benefits staff please provide the following information:
- Deceased name
- Date of death
- Family member’s contact information including name and phone number
- Supervisor’s contact information including name and phone number
There are three retirement plans for Title V employees. Generally, the type of job decides what type of retirement plan covers an employee.
- Hired before December 31, 1983 are covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
- Hired after January 1, 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
- Who had a break in service of more than one year and ended after 1983 and five years of creditable civilian service on January 1, 1987 may be covered under the CSRS Offset System.
Employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are also covered by Social Security. Social Security benefits are given to workers and their qualified dependents under the Old-Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs of the Social Security Act. It replaces part of earnings lost because of retirement, disability, or death.
Employees are also covered under Social Security's Medicare Hospital Insurance program. While an employee gets Social Security disability benefits or retirement benefits at age 65 or older, it pays part of hospital expenses during that time.
For more information on Social Security benefits to include Medicare, visit the Social Security Administration website.
Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees. It provides supplemental retirement income. Contributions are tax deferred and made through payroll deductions.
TSP offers Federal employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private companies offer their employees under the 401(k) plans. By participating in the Thrift Savings Plan, an employee can save part of his/her pay before it’s taxed.
Student Loan Repayment Program
Government agencies have loan repayment programs to help attract and keep highly qualified employees. FEMA’s Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is not available for all employees with student loan debt. It is available to Title V employees with specific mission critical occupational series positions.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (Student Loan Forgiveness)
The U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loans manages this law. Individuals interested in a career in public service, who also have significant federally insured student loan debt, may research eligibility on their Federal Student Aid Public Service Loan Forgiveness page. It is possible for employees to qualify for FEMA’s SLRP and after ten years of specific public service have the balance of their federally insured loan(s) forgiven.
Transit Benefits Program
FEMA also offers a Transit Benefits Program. It encourages employees to use public transportation for getting to and from work on a regular and ongoing basis. This non-taxable assistance encourages employees by reducing the cost of his/her daily work commute. On and off use of public transportation does not qualify an employee to enroll in this program. Although this program is meant to help employees' commuting costs, FEMA can only reimburse these costs up to the maximum allowable amount.
Leave and Absences
It is FEMA’s policy to be fair and consistent regarding leave time. Employees are expected, in return, to think of the interests of FEMA in asking for leave and to avoid any abuse of leave benefits.
FEMA employees receive ten paid holidays per year.
Leave Accrual Rates
LESS THAN 3 YEARS OF SERVICE*
3 - 14 YEARS OF SERVICE*
15 OR MORE YEARS OF SERVICE*
½ day (4 hours) for each pay period
¾ day (6 hours) for each pay period, except 1¼ day (10 hours) in last pay period
1 day (8 hours) for each pay period
1 hour of annual leave for each 20 hours in a pay status
1 hour of annual leave for each 13 hours in a pay status
1 hour of annual leave for each 10 hours in a pay status
Uncommon tours of duty**
(4 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate.***
(6 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period)divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate.***
(8 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period)divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate. ***
For More Information
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on FEMA Careers
- FEMA Human Capital Strategic Plan - FEMA
- Pay Systems in the Federal government - Office of Personnel Management
- Insurance in the Federal government - Office of Personnel Management
- Retirement in the Federal government - Office of Personnel Management
- Student Loan Repayment - Office of Personnel Management
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness - Federal Student Aid, Department of Education
- Leave Administration - Office of Personnel Management