Where things stand
Federal executives and judges are among those hoping that the new presidential salary will bolster their efforts to convince Congress to increase their pay.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance, which covers severe illnesses and disabilities not normally covered under standard health insurance, will be offered to federal employees by October 2002.
In September, President Clinton signed a bill instructing the Office of Personnel Management to set up the long-term care insurance program. As of this month, OPM is talking to insurance experts about how the program should be designed. OPM officials hope to offer the insurance at significantly discounted rates. Once they get a basic design together, OPM officials will post their plan on the Web for public comment.
Fixed Retirement Income
After Congress created the Federal Employees Retirement System in the mid-1980s, some agencies placed employees in the wrong retirement systems. Those employees are finally going to see their agencies' errors corrected.
Last year's long-term care insurance bill also included language instructing OPM to help the employees get their retirement situations fixed.
If you think you were placed in the wrong retirement system, go to http://www.opm.gov/benefits/correction and enter your information into the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act database. OPM will use the information to track down your personnel records and to provide you with retirement coverage options.
OPM will also issue regulations by March 19 that explain the procedures that affected federal employees must follow.
The New TSP
Even though the agency that manages the Thrift Savings Plan doesn't know when its new computer system will be ready for prime time, two new investment options will still enter the TSP's lineup on May 1.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board was originally going to debut the new 'S' and 'I' funds, along with the new computer system, in May 2000. But the agency and its contractor, American Management Systems, aren't sure when they'll finish de-bugging the new system. About 11,000 bugs have been discovered since testing began, with more than 2,600 bugs still needing resolution.
Rather than wait for the new system, the TSP board figured out a way to debut the two new funds this May using the old computer system. The 'S' Fund will invest in small capitalization stocks. The 'I' Fund will invest in international stocks.
For more on TSP changes, see the Jan. 18 Pay and Benefits Watch
Special Pay Rate Case
Where, oh where, is the fat lady?
Federal employees who received special pay rates at any time between fiscal years 1982 and 1988 have been waiting and waiting for their lawsuit to be over. Once the 18-year-old lawsuit is comes to a close, the employees will get back pay that a federal judge says they're entitled to.
But first the National Treasury Employees Union and the Justice Department have to sign a written agreement outlining a settlement. Here's what NTEU had to say as of Jan. 23:
You can follow the case at http://www.nteu.org/specrates.html
Some minor federal pay and benefits provisions snuck into the 2001 omnibus appropriations bill that President Clinton signed at the end of December. OPM Associate Director Henry Romero issued a memorandum last week that goes over the changes.
Read the memorandum if you are a law enforcement officer; member of the Reserves or National Guard; an administrative appeals judge; a National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator; a federal firefighter; or a federal physician; or if you live in Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; or Raleigh, N.C. The memorandum is at http://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/2001/2001-02.htm