- By Eric Katz
- May 16, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has unionized and first up on the agenda is improving employees’ workspace.
CFPB’s Washington, D.C., headquarters -- located adjacent to the White House -- will soon undergo renovations after employees complained of being forced to work in cramped conditions. Groups of four or five people are currently sharing offices with very thin walls, Politico reported.
And just when CFPB workers thought it could not get any worse, they may now be faced with no offices at all. Various reports have said CFBP employees may have to work from home or public spaces -- such as cafes -- while renovations are conducted.
A CFPB spokeswoman told Government Executive the agency is still weighing its options.
"The CFPB's headquarters building has not been renovated since it was constructed in 1976 and requires significant infrastructure upgrades,” the spokeswoman said. “No final decisions have been made on the specific nature of those renovations or on employee swing space during such renovations. We continue to seek input and evaluate the best options for minimizing costs while maximizing employee well-being and productivity."
The CFPB workforce recently voted to grant the National Treasury Employees Union representation rights. In a statement, NTEU president Colleen ...
- By Kellie Lunney
- May 9, 2013
Government furloughs because of sequestration have been news for the better part of a year. Lately, we’ve heard a lot about federal employees who’ve been granted a reprieve this fiscal year at least from the unpaid leave ax, but there are still many agency workers who haven’t been so lucky.
The number of furlough days for affected feds ranges, at the moment, from one to 14 depending on the individual agency’s budget situation. That means thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of feds will take home less pay -- how much less depends on several factors and how you do the math. For example, if a federal employee has to take seven furlough days between the first week of June and Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, they’d face about an 8.3 percent pay cut, give or take. You divide the number of furlough days (seven) by the number of work days left in the fiscal year for most feds between June and September (about 84). Using that rough estimate, an employee earning an annual salary of $50,000 would lose about $1,400 in gross pay over four months.
It should come as ...
- By Eric Katz
- May 2, 2013
Back in 2010, as the health care reform debate was raging on, Senate Republicans proposed legislative language requiring lawmakers to drop their insurance coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and enter the newly created exchange market.
The proposal was a political gambit, attempting to force Democrats to cast an embarrassing vote to opt out of one of the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions. Democrats called the bluff, however, and the amendment passed easily.
Three years later, members of Congress and their staffers are faced with the reality of losing FEHBP coverage.
The Office of Personnel Management has not yet issued regulations on how this switch will play out. Jonathan Foley, director of OPM’s Planning and Policy Analysis Office, recently told the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce that OPM is “in the process of writing regulations in response to the law,” but would not offer further detail.
Currently, the federal government covers about 70 percent of health care premium costs for lawmakers and their aides. It is unclear what percent, if any, the government will cover when the legislative branch moves to the exchange market.
OPM also will have to determine ...
- By Kellie Lunney
- April 25, 2013
Simpson and Bowles have rolled out yet another version of their deficit reduction proposals, and federal pension reform is still in there.
The famous 2010 bipartisan fiscal commission led by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson from Wyoming and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles last week released its latest plan, which calls for $2.5 trillion worth of spending cuts and tax increases. Like President Obama and many lawmakers, the duo thinks federal employees need to contribute more to their retirement benefits. They also favor moving to a less generous formula -- the so-called chained CPI -- to calculate retiree cost-of-living adjustments.
“Military and civilian pensions are both out of line with pension benefits available to the average worker in the private sector, and in some cases, out of line with each other across different categories of federal employment,” the new version of the plan states. Simpson-Bowles recommends “gradually” increasing federal civilian pensions “so that new federal employees ultimately pay about one-half the cost of their pensions, and existing federal employees pay one-quarter.” New employees now contribute 3.1 percent of each paycheck to their defined benefit, while most current feds put 0.8 percent of their pay toward ...
- By Eric Katz
- April 18, 2013
For Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, it is all about trust.
“When members of Congress break the law, they break trust,” Yoho said.
And for the Florida lawmaker, trust stands for Trust Returned to the United States Taxpayer, or the TRUST Act, which he recently proposed.
Yoho’s bill would force any member of Congress who is convicted of a felony to forfeit the taxpayer-funded portion of his pension. He argued members of the military currently face the same punishment.
“If our service men and women who lay their lives on the line for our nation lose their pension with a dishonorable discharge, should not members of Congress be held to the same standard?” Yoho asked on the floor of the House when introducing his bill.
He added now is the perfect time to take up his legislation.
“These days with public opinion at record lows and public debt at record highs, the TRUST Act is a place to start in restoring the faith of the American people in their government.”
What Would Chained CPI Cost You?
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association -- which has strongly condemned President Obama’s proposal to reduce benefits for federal retirees and Social ...