Well Fed? A Quick Overview Of Typical Employee Benefits For Federal Workers

There are a lot of reasons to work for the federal government in some capacity. For some, it’s the stability and lack of having to negotiate for better pay. For others, it’s because of the massive amount of benefits that federal employees receive. If you’ve been thinking about joining the federal government as an employee, there are some great perks that come along with it. Here’s a quick overview to the benefits federal workers can expect:

5. Vacation

Everyone loves taking vacation days, and the federal government offers a lot of them. Those that have been employed by the federal government for up to three years, they’ll receive 13 vacation days every year. 

Employees who have been there for three to 15 years receive 20 vacation days per year while 15+ years is 26 vacation days. These vacation days can roll over, too, with a maximum of 30 days rolled over each year.

4. Sick Leave/Holidays

A lot of private sector employees can be very stringent on how much sick leave you get each year and don’t observe many holidays. In most cases, your sick days won’t roll over in the next year, either. That’s not the case for federal employees, though, who are able to get 13 sick days per year no matter how long they’ve been employed and can be used for various reasons.

The best part of the sick leave is that it indeed rolls over into the following year. Let’s say you haven’t taken a sick day for five years. That means that you’ll have 65 of them stored up for whenever you need them the most. You may not need to use sick days if they happen to fall on one of the 11 paid holidays, too.

3. Student Loan Forgiveness

The most efficient way to pay back federal student loans is by working with the federal government itself. Federal Family Education Loans and Direct PLUS Loans qualify for the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program when people work for the same federal agency for at least three years.

Through this program, participants can have up to $10,000 per year repaid with up to $60,000 in total. If you’re working in the public sector in general (i.e. public school teacher, city hall, etc.) you can have your student loans totally forgiven after 10 years of work. As long as you have made 120 monthly payments, you’ll qualify for this student loan forgiveness.

2. Health Insurance

All federal employees are eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. There are over 200 plans for employees to choose from, and it covers just about anything that you could think of. From routine exams and lab tests to prescriptions and smoking cessation programs, federal employees have some of the best health insurance possible.

For most plans, employees will pay around 30 percent of the insurance premium per pay period while the government takes care of the rest. Unlike most health insurance plans that are provided by employers, federal health insurance plans aren’t subject to a physical exam or a waiting period, either.

1. Retirement Benefits

You’ll find that a lot of federal employees end up sticking with the same agency for much of their careers, and a big reason for that is due to the retirement benefits. The Federal Employees Retirement System has contributions coming from three sources, making it one of the best retirement plans that you could ask for.

On top of social security, federal employees also get contributions from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and Basic Benefit Plan. The TSP operates similarly to a 401(k), except an employee doesn’t need to put anything in themselves for the agency to contribute. Each pay period will have the agency deposit the amount equivalent to 1 percent and does the same through the Basic Benefit Plan. In the Basic Benefit Plan, though, employees to have to make contributions themselves, too.

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