Federal Handbooks

Free federal handbooks and guides since 2001

How to Find a Federal Job

After serving in the military, many service members believe that a natural transition for their career is a job with the federal government. The path to a job is not always smooth, however, for those seeking employment with the federal government. For those unfamiliar with the system, it can sometimes seem that the hiring process is not of this planet.

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Are federal employees authorized break times?

Q:  Are federal civilian employees authorized break times other than lunch?

A: Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked. Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer’s rules, and any extension of the break will be punished.

Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable.

Pre-Packaged Long-Term Care Options for Federal Employees

Long-term care is the kind of care that you would need to help you perform daily activities if you had a chronic illness or disability. It also includes the kind of care you would need if you had a severe cognitive problem like Alzheimer’s disease. It is help with eating, bathing and dressing, transferring from a bed to a chair, toileting, continence, and so forth. Long-term care can also include assistance with such tasks as shopping, transportation, housecleaning, or preparing meals. This type of care isn’t received in a hospital and isn’t intended to cure you. It is not acute care. It is chronic care that you might need for the rest of your life. It can be received in your own home, at a nursing home, or in another Long-Term care facility. Long-Term care insurance is insurance that helps you pay for Long-Term care services, such as home care or care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

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Five Habits of Highly Successful Online College Students

The semester is underway. Books are bought. Highlighters uncapped. And yet for some students, there remains a lingering feeling of dread. If you’re one of those students – already wondering if you’re going to make it to midterms, much less graduation – now is the time to turn it around.

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Decline in student loan repayment incentives for federal employees

A recent OPM report showed a decline in the use of student loan repayment incentives for federal employees in 2011, which it said reflected tighter budgets and personnel controls, particularly at the Defense Department. Below is a summary of spending reported by the OPM for various federal agencies:

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Shared Cost of Healthcare for Federal Employees

Generally, if you are a Federal employee or annuitant, you share the cost of your health benefits coverage with the government as your employer. Temporary employees, former spouses enrolled under spouse equity provisions, and most persons covered under temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) do not receive a government contribution towards the cost of their health benefits.

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OSC Takes Lead in Fighting for Whistleblower Rights

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs can mean risking everything from losing a job to losing the respect of co-workers. But in fighting whistleblower retaliation today, the Office of Special Counsel hopes future whistleblowers will come forward without fear of punishment.

Eric Bachman, OSC deputy special counsel for litigation and legal affairs, said that the agency’s success in restoring jobs and back pay to 25 whistleblowers has helped get the word out to workers who know about workplace wrongdoing, but don’t know where to go.

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