Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Pension benefits: Not all feds are created equal
Monday - 5/5/2014, 2:00am EDT
One may be sightly senior to the others, but it can't be much, right? Wrong! Remember this is the government we are talking about and politicians make the rules for the civil service. So...
All things being equal, the person who's been on the job since 2012 would pay. Because, despite the three-year pay freeze and this year's tiny 1 percent pay increase, the 2012 model makes more money than the other two. Maybe a lot more.
Even during the pay freeze, the 2012 fed would most likely have gotten a 3 percent within-grade raise on his/her first anniversary on the job and another 3 percent on the second. And although all three are under the same retirement program, FERS, each contributes a different amount toward retirement.
The 2012 worker contributes 0.8 percent to FERS. The fed hired in 2013 pays 3.1 percent. The employee hired this year pays 4.4 percent.
Workers under the old Civil Service Retirement System all contribute the same amount. But FERS, thanks to Congress and the White House, now has a three-tier contribution system. That could change next with a fourth level (with a higher employee contribution rate) being added for future hires.
Congress has also been reforming/tampering with the congressional retirement benefits program. In one move, it lowered slightly the amount members contribute to their pension plan. Last month the House approved a GOP plan, sometimes called the Ryan budget, that would require FERS employees and members of Congress to fund 50 percent of their annuity package. That plan is DOA on the Senate side, but it could be an indicator of things to come, including pending proposals that would end the defined-benefit portion of the federal pension package (eliminating FERS for future hires) prospectively. In that unlikely event, feds would have to finance their own retirement through Social Security and investments in the Thrift Savings Plan.
Meantime, in the world of retirement benefits, it is still much, much better to be a member of Congress — House or Senate — than a rank-and-file or even senior civil servant. Last month, Government Executive reported that (as of 2012) members of Congress who retired under the FERS program got benefits of $40,560 per year compared to $14,000 for feds who retired under the same program. Salaries do make a big difference. In 2012, the average member of Congress got $174,000 per year compared to an average federal salary of almost $75,000 for a full-time, permanent, non-seasonal worker.
In March, the Congressional Research Service issued its most recent report on retirement benefits for members of Congress. This report also contains an excellent explanation of FERS, CSRS and the CSRS Offset programs. If you want to see how the other half lives — and retires — click here.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
If a player loses the first round of "Rock, Paper, Scissors," he or she usually switches their action in a clockwise direction, meaning rock changes to paper, paper to scissors, scissors to rock. The winner usually sticks with their first move.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
'Broken' pay system driving SES out of
More than half of senior executives surveyed by the Senior Executives Association are reporting "low" or "very low" morale with their jobs. The problem lies with a pay-for-performance system where some supervisors make less money than the people they lead. Increasing numbers of senior executive service members are ready to leave the federal government altogether.
Most TSP funds see slight gains in April
All funds in the Thrift Savings Plan showed gains in April, except for the S Fund. This is the second month in a row that the S Fund has returned in the red.