Benefits at a Glance
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recognizes the importance of an employee's ability to balance his or her personal and professional lives. As a BLS employee, you will receive a generous benefits package that includes educational opportunities, transit subsidies, fitness and daycare centers, and many other great benefits described below.
Pay and Promotions
Rapid advancement potential exists at the BLS. Each year, you are eligible to advance to the next highest grade. Advancement goes from GS-5 to GS-7, GS-9, GS-11, and GS-12. You can advance from a GS-5 to a GS-12 in four years or from a GS-7 to a GS-12 in just three years. Advancement through GS-12 is non-competitive—it is based solely on your individual work performance. After remaining in a GS-12 position for one year, you are eligible to compete for a position at the GS-13 level.
To view current salary information for BLS employees by occupation and by region, go to GS Pay Scales as of January 1, 2008. Pay tables are updated annually and vary depending on metropolitan areas.
Vacation/Annual Leave, Sick Leave, and Holidays
“Our salaries are very competitive with the private sector. I also like the employee benefits. I really enjoy the opportunity to travel to different states around my region.”
—Michael Jimenez, Field Economist (Statistics), Chicago, IL
As a Federal employee, you will earn annual leave that may be used for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. Hours are earned and accumulated each biweekly pay period. Following is the annual rate of accrual for full time employees: 1 to 3 years of service = 13 days leave; 3 to 15 years of service = 20 days leave; 15 years of service and up = 26 days leave. A maximum amount of 30 days of annual leave may be carried over from one leave year to the next.
In addition, as a Federal employee, you will earn 13 days of sick leave annually, regardless of service, that may be used in the event of illness, injury or medical appointments for you or a family member. There are no limits on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated.
Lastly, Federal employees also receive 10 paid holidays each year: New Year's Day, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday (sometimes called President's Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Days, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The standard BLS work week is 40 hours (8 hours per day, 5 days per week); however, to meet the needs of our employees, BLS offers flexible work plans, which allow employees to work and meet personal or family obligations. Under the flexible work plan, an employee can earn up to 24 hours of extra leave, called "credit time," which is accumulated hours beyond the regular 80-hour pay period. Consider it a leave bank that you can utilize in lieu of your annual leave and/or accumulated sick leave.
As a Federal employee, you will have a variety of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) or fee-for-service health plans from which to choose coverage. As the employer, the agency pays a large part of the biweekly health benefit premium. No medical exam is required to enroll, and there is no waiting period. Separate dental and vision care are also available. Coverage may be carried into retirement.
As a Federal employee, you may enroll in the Federal Government-wide Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program. FEGLI provides a variety of coverage and benefit amounts. Again, no medical exam is required to enroll.
Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
FERS, the Federal Retirement program, consists of three components: Social Security benefit, a basic annuity plan, and the tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan. Employees pay full Social Security taxes and a small contribution to the basic annuity plan. Information on FERS is available at https://www.opm.gov/fers_election/fersh/h_fers3.htm.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
The TSP is a retirement savings plan for civilian government employees. The purpose of the TSP is to provide retirement income. The TSP offers Federal civilian employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. The TSP is a defined contribution plan.
As your employer, BLS makes an automatic contribution of 1 percent of your salary to your TSP account whether or not you enroll. You may elect to contribute up to the amount permitted by federal law ($15,500 in 2008). BLS will match your contributions up to 4 percent of your total salary
You may elect to enroll in the TSP at any time.
Detailed information about the TSP is available at http://www.tsp.gov.
The BLS provides a monthly transit subsidy to its eligible employees in Washington, DC and our regional offices. The transit subsidy is valued at up to $110 per month. This subsidy can be applied to any mass transit, such as Metrorail (the local subway system) or Metrobus, commuter trains, or a qualifying vanpool.
Long Term Care Program
Long term care insurance helps defray costs when a person needs assistance with daily living. It covers skilled, intermediate and custodial care in the home, an adult day care center, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or a hospice facility. Some plans such as the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program also cover home care from informal providers. For more detailed information on Long Term Care, visit the Office of Personnel Managements site at http://www.opm.gov/insure/ltc/index.asp
In an effort to keep our employees abreast of the latest, most advanced technologies, BLS provides excellent opportunities for job-related and career development courses through the Bureau's training center, DOL and other Government agencies, and colleges and universities.
As a BLS employee, you are eligible for tuition assistance, depending on annual training budgets. You can take undergraduate or graduate courses at various colleges or universities nationwide as well as other types of training as described below.
Onsite Training: A variety of professional courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels are offered in our state of the art conference center. Instructors for these classes have years of experience in their specific fields, as well as practical knowledge of various technical areas.
Online Training: BLS offers online, or virtual training courses as an alternative to traditional classroom training and education. Online training can provide you with opportunities to enhance your professional, business, and technological skills to meet ever-changing workplace requirements. Just think of it as training at the click of your mouse!
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Last Modified Date: July 19, 2008