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Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Pay and Benefits Watch TSP welcome wagon

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Newly hired federal employees could begin investing immediately in the Thrift Savings Plan and employees could roll over funds from private sector retirement plans into their TSP accounts under a bill that passed Congress Tuesday.

Under current law, federal employees must wait up to a year to begin contributing to the TSP.

The bill, H.R. 208, passed the House last year and passed the Senate in July. The House agreed to Senate amendments on Tuesday. It now goes to the President for his signature. The bill's provisions were included in President Clinton's fiscal 2001 budget request.

Executive Pay Caps

The Senior Executives Association is busy raising support for H.R. 3147, a bill that would give members of Congress a pay raise. If Congress votes not to give itself a raise, then federal executives who are paid under the Executive Schedule won't get one either. Since Senior Executive Service pay is capped at the top levels of the Executive Schedule, many top executives haven't seen a raise in years.

SEA has an urgent letter-writing campaign to get the legislation passed. But, in an election year, their chances are slimmer than usual. Since members of Congress don't want to look greedy to their constituents, they will likely vote to block the raise.

For more information, see SEA's Web page on executive pay.

Million Family March

Next Monday, thousands of Million Family March participants are expected to descend on downtown Washington. Federal employees in the D.C. area still have to show up for work, but the Office of Personnel Management is encouraging employees to telecommute on that day. Managers should accommodate employees who have telecommuting agreements or alternative work schedules on that day, OPM said.

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