- A round-up of news from around the federal government: COLA for FECA recipients.
- And NASA project with private space company burned up in the atmosphere.
- Also – federal judge says postal worker can carry firearm in federal building.
Recent news impacting the federal workforce: another shutdown countdown has begun. Read which agencies would lose funding March 1st without action from Congress. Then – bipartisan group requests OPM update the information on their website to reflect the parental leave benefit added back in 2019. And last we check in on what’s going on with telework policies at federal agencies.
Government Shutdown Looms… Again
Since September, the threat of a government stoppage has been prevalent. With stop-gap measures that keep the government funded at 2023 levels, a shutdown has been prevented by Congress in the final hours of September, then again in mid-November, and then last month as well. Before the January 19th deadline imposed by the previous budget bill, Congress again “kicked the can” down the road with another continuing resolution.
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Legislation is needed from Congress to prevent a government shutdown on March 1st, whether it be another stop-gap bill or a fiscal bill that would fund the government until October 1st. Without such action, the DOT, USDA, HUD, and Department of Veteran’s Affairs would all lose funding at the start of March. If still nothing has gotten through Capitol by March 8th, all other non-military federal agencies would be impacted as well. With 2024 being an election year, one could presume a government shutdown is unlikely, but only time will tell.
Paid Parental Leave
Did you know as a federal employee, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave? You can read about the paid parental leave here. However, if you were to go to OPM’s administrative leave information page online, you would find an employee handbook that is over a decade old… and contains no information about this federal employee benefit. That’s because this type of leave wasn’t enacted by Congress until 2019 and went into effect the following year. A recent GAO report found only 4% of eligible feds utilized this paid leave option from its effective date in October 2020 to July 2022. This low number is likely a result of feds being unable to access correct, reliable information online about their benefits.
This past week, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives penned a letter to OPM director Kiran Ahuja, requesting that this update, and other such updates needed on OPM’s website, were more quickly addressed to reflect up-to-date information.
(And if you ever want to check with us for clarification about your benefits – you can email [email protected] )
Telework at Federal Agencies
To recap: the White House sent a memo out in August that instructed federal agencies to bolster the amount of time employees work on-site and to reduce the amount of teleworking. Also, over the summer, a House committee requested information from 25 federal agencies about the number of employees who utilize telework and how productive each agency’s workforce is. In the fall, several agencies abided the White House memo and implemented new hybrid work policies that each contained their own limits on the number of hours of remote work that could be used in a given two-week pay period. Then in November, the House Committee revealed in a congressional hearing that 11 of the 25 agencies did not provide sufficient data to evaluate the how productive federal employees have been when working away from the office.
Now, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee has given OMB a deadline of February 14th to provide additional documents and information regarding telework procedures at these 11 federal agencies. The members of this committee claim their ultimate goal is “maximizing organizational performance.”
Until Next Time,
**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠ The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.