Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Small Perks Proposed for Beleaguered Feds


Indiscriminate budget cuts caused by sequestration have forced Border Patrol agents to work fewer overtime hours.

For the inconvenience, a group of Democratic lawmakers want to give the agents a tax break.

Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, has introduced the Border Security Tax Relief Act, which would allow Border Patrol employees to exempt pay from “administratively uncontrollable overtime” from their taxable incomes. AUO refers to unscheduled overtime taken by an employee who “requires substantial amounts of irregular” work and allows agents to, for example, continue chasing a suspect after their regular shift has ended.

“The men and women who provide security along our border have been hit particularly hard by sequestration,” Gallego said in a statement. “They should not have to pay for irresponsible budget decisions made by the previous Congress. It’s our responsibility to protect those who are on the front line protecting our nation.”

Originally, Border Patrol agents -- and all employees at Customs and Border Protection -- were told they’d have to take 14 furlough days and that overtime would be eliminated. Eventually, however, Congress shifted funds around in the Homeland Security Department’s budget and CBP was spared furloughs. The agents now only face “limited reductions” in overtime.

“While these reductions are not without significance and will continue to impact our mission, they are preferable to the personal hardships and operational impact of incurring furloughs at this point in the fiscal year,” CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said in June.

Gallego’s bill -- cosponsored by Reps. Marc Veasey and Filemon Vela, both Texan Democrats -- would allow Border Patrol agents to include the overtime as part of their taxable income if it is to their benefit when claiming the earned income tax credit.

Short-Term Disability

Most feds wouldn’t be eligible for the tax breaks. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., wants to help out many of those other employees as well. The non-voting congresswoman has introduced a bill that would allow federal workers to buy into short-term disability insurance. Employees would be responsible for 100 percent of the insurance premiums and would receive a partial salary replacement should a non-work related injury or illness bar them from working.

“I decided to investigate how we could provide short-term disability insurance to federal employees after learning that many of them already buy short-term disability insurance as individuals in the private market at high rates,” Norton said in a statement. “My bill does no more than put federal employees in the same position as their private sector counterparts, who have access to disability insurance through their employers at group rates.”

Eric Katz joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 after graduating from The George Washington University, where he studied journalism and political science. He has written for his college newspaper and an online political news website and worked in a public affairs office for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Most recently, he worked for Financial Times, where he reported on national politics.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.