US Federal Government Employee Benefits

Federal Workers Enjoy Top-Flight Benefits

Parks Service ranger stands in front of American Indian ancient cave dwelling
US Parks Service Ranger Explains Cave Dwellings. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

According to data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the federal government employs over 2 million civilian workers. That’s about 1.5% of the nearly 133 million workers BLS counted in all industries in the United States.

Along with salaries or wages, employee compensation in the federal government includes benefits, such as subsidized health insurance and many more.

Federal government employees enjoy a wide range of "family-friendly" benefits that go far beyond insurance and retirement.

Each agency is free to offer its own benefits package. The following is a sample of federal government employee benefits.

  • Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):
    Benefits based on amount of service and salary history.
     
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP):
    In addition to the defined or basic benefits provided by the FERS plan, current federal employees can boost their retirement savings by participating in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP offers the same types of savings and tax benefits as a 401(k) plan.
  • Social Security:
    Credit earned while working with the Government. Retirement benefits, disability protection, and survivor protection. All federal employees hired after 1983 pay Social Security taxes, including the President of the United States, the Vice President, members of Congress, sitting federal judges, certain legislative branch employees, and most political appointees. The government collects these taxes in the same amounts as they would if these employees worked in the private sector at the same salary level.
  • Leave and Holidays:
    13 days sick leave each year; 13, 20, or 26 days of vacation leave each year, depending on years of service; 10 days paid holiday each year.
     
  • Family Friendly Leave Flexibilities:
    Flexible Work Schedules; Telecommuting; Family Friendly Leave Policies; Employee Assistance Program (EAP); Part-Time & Job Sharing Positions; Child & Elder Care Resources Adoption Information/Incentives; Child Support Services.
     
  • Work/Life Programs:
    Every Federal agency has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which has a goal to restore employees to full productivity. More specifically, the EAP provides free, confidential short term counseling to identify the employee's problem and, when appropriate, make a referral to an outside organization, facility, or program that can assist the employee in resolving his or her problem.
     
  • Recruitment Bonus:
    Lump-sum bonus to newly appointed employees for difficult-to-fill positions. Up to 25% of basic pay may be paid prior to employee entering on duty. Service agreement with repayment plan if service time not fulfilled.
     
  • Relocation Bonus:
    Lump-sum bonus for difficult-to-fill position in a different commuting area; up to 25% of basic pay. Service agreement with repayment plan if service time not fulfilled.
     
  • Retention Allowance:
    Continuing payment to retain departing employees; up to 25% of basic pay.
     
  • Employee Development:
    Career Resource Centers; Training Opportunities
     
  • Student Loan Repayment:
    Permits agencies to repay the student loans of Federal employees; used at the discretion of the agency.
     
  • Long Term Care Insurance Program:
    John Hancock and MetLife formed Long Term Care Partners, a jointly owned new company exclusively dedicated to serving the long term care insurance needs of the Federal Family.
     
  • Child Care Subsidy Program:
    Federal agencies, at their own discretion, can use appropriated funds, including revolving funds otherwise available for salaries, to assist lower income federal employees with the costs of child care.