Blog Archives

Working for Yourself: Entrepreneurial Options

Today there are many options for working for yourself. You can work as a business consultant, work on freelance projects or open and operate your own home-based business. The Internet has opened up whole new fields of employment with almost limitless options. However, to create a viable job working for yourself requires you to be hardworking, self-disciplined, focused and entrepreneurial. Moreover, you will have to be your own manager, team leader, office staff and custodian. As a military spouse you are already adept at creative...

Why Most Americans Fall Short When it Comes to Retirement Savings

We all understand that at some point in our lives, we have to retire. But, not everyone is prepared for the day. Apparently, as per a GAO analysis, around 29% of Americans aged 55 or older do not have any retirement savings or even a traditional pension plan. "We aren't surprised that people have not saved a lot for retirement,” said GAO director of education, workforce and income security Charles Jeszeck. "[As] there hasn't been a significant increase in wages, people have student loans and other debt, and many are continuing...

Family leave options for federal employees

Under current Family and Medical Leave Act policy, signed by President Clinton, federal employees can take up to 12 weeks off to care for a new child, but that leave is unpaid. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Mark Meadows, R-N.C., want to change that. They have vowed to work together on bills to make the federal government a better employer for families. Earlier this year, Maloney introduced the Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act, which she touted at the hearing as a way to boost the morale of the federal...

Could more federal employees get overtime under a new policy rule?

President Obama has announced a proposed rule that would increase the threshold for salaried workers eligible to receive overtime pay from the current standard of $455 a week to $970 a week, or approximately $50,440 a year. The Department of Labor is finishing the first draft of the proposed rule, which is expected to be on the Federal Register for comment sooner than later. The rule would also peg the threshold to consumer indexes to keep up with inflation. Federal employees are now wondering if they would be included...

Emergency Travel for Federal Employees

Emergency situations sometimes arise when employees are on TDY, causing them to have to return home or receive treatment at their temporary duty location. This chapter addresses the circumstances under which the agency will pay an employee’s expenses when such an emergency occurs. Emergency travel is travel that results from: —  The employee’s becoming incapacitated by illness or injury not due to the employee’s own misconduct; —  The death or serious illness of a member of the employee’s...

Hunting for a Federal Job After a Military Career

Effective transitioning from a military career to a federal job may entail complications, that is, if you are unaware of the requirements and how things are done. Compared to civilian jobs, federal jobs require a specific and more comprehensive resume. Hiring processes also vary in the federal government. It is necessary that you are properly guided before you venture into these. Reinvent Your Resume. It is through your resume where you market yourself effectively. Focusing on your military and professional abilities and skills...

Petition Launched to Help Data Breach Victims

The personal information of at least 4.2 million current and former feds was compromised in the first data breach that hit an OPM personnel system. The agency is offering those affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance for the next 18 months, free of charge. How many people were impacted by a second breach on the government’s security clearance database still isn't clear and it has not been determined whether those people will also be offered the same type...

Max out your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Account

Similar to a 401(k) plan, the TSP permits you to make pre-tax contributions every time you get paid. You decide how much to allocate to your TSP, up to a certain limit. The TSP allocation is taken out of your gross pay, and your paycheck is reduced by that amount. The allocated amount goes directly into your TSP account, which you can invest in various funds. In 2015, FERS and CSRS employees can contribute up to $18,000 of their basic pay to the TSP. Be aware that President Bush signed legislation (P.L. 107-304) on November...

Voluntary Contributions to Federal Employee Retirement Funds

Voluntary contributions are payments made to the retirement fund in addition to the deductions that are withheld from pay. You can make these contributions only if you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and do not owe a deposit for a period of time when deductions were not withheld from your pay. To make voluntary contributions, you should submit a Standard Form 2804 to your employer. You can make voluntary contributions in multiples of $25. Total contributions cannot exceed 10 percent of your pay. You...

How Federal Employee Annuities Are Computed

Your basic annuity is computed based on your length of service (which includes unused sick leave if you retire on an immediate annuity) and “high-3” average pay. To determine your length of service for computation, add all your periods of creditable service, and the period represented by your unused sick leave, then eliminate from the total any fractional part of a month. Your “high-3” average pay is the highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. Generally, your basic...

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