By Jan_S / Shutterstock.com

A Possible Pay Raise, A Panel Pushes Benefits Cuts, and More

A weekly round-up of pay and benefits news.

A House panel on Tuesday released its blueprint for fiscal 2019 spending, which echoes the Trump administration’s proposals targeting federal employee retirement programs.

Republicans on the House Budget Committee said its “Budget for a Brighter American Future” would balance the budget within nine years through a mixture of cuts to mandatory spending and other federal programs. The plan also calls for a number of cuts to federal retirement programs, as outlined by the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal, under the headline “Reform Civil Service Pensions.”

“This budget . . . calls for federal employees, including members of Congress and congressional staff, to make greater contributions to their own defined benefit retirement plans,” the committee wrote. “It would also end the special retirement supplement, which pays federal employees the equivalent of their Social Security benefits at an earlier age.”

The package also calls for “parity” between employees in the federal and private sector by “transitioning to defined contribution plans.” These proposals mirror Trump administration plans, outlined by Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan last month, to eliminate Federal Employees Retirement System supplements for federal workers who retire before Social Security kicks in at age 62 and to increase the amount feds contribute to FERS by 1 percentage point per year until they reach an overall contribution level of 7.25 percent, matching the government’s contribution.

But so far, the Senate seems loath to take up the administration’s compensation proposals. That chamber’s appropriations committee is slated to act on a spending bill that not only would not include cuts to federal workers’ retirement programs, but would mark the first formal objection to the White House’s plan to freeze civilian employees’ pay in 2019.

The Senate’s version of the fiscal 2019 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, unanimously approved at the subcommittee level Tuesday, includes a 1.9 percent across-the-board pay increase for civilian federal workers next year. That figure is in line with the raise feds received in 2018, but falls short of the 2.4 percent proposed for military personnel next year.

The move comes months after Democrats in both chambers reintroduced legislation that would provide a 3 percent raise for federal employees.

On Monday, the Office of Government Ethics released guidance that states federal employees must begin disclosing their Bitcoins in annual ethics and financial disclosure forms.

In a memo to agency ethics officials, OGE Acting Director and General Counsel David Apol wrote that his agency has decided that “virtual currency” is considered a form of investment property, not “’real’ currency or legal tender,” and thus must be part of financial disclosures under the Ethics in Government Act.

“OGE recognizes that virtual currencies are experience a surge in use and access, and as a result, employees who hold virtual currencies are increasingly seeking guidance from their ethics officials concerning their financial disclosure reporting obligations,” Apol wrote. “[Accordingly], we are issuing this guidance to address reporting requirements for employees who hold virtual currency and note that we may need to issue further guidance as the nature of virtual currency becomes better defined.”

Employees now must include holdings of virtual currencies in their financial disclosures, provided they own at least $1,000 worth at the end of a reporting period, or if income produced by the currency exceeds $200. Additionally, workers must include the purchase, sale or exchange of cryptocurrencies in their annual and periodic transaction reports. Bitcoins are considered to be commodities, although some other forms of virtual currency may be considered securities.

The ownership of a form of cryptocurrency must also be incorporated into the potential for conflicts of interest, OGE said.

“Agency ethics officials should therefore analyze whether their employees’ official duties would have an effect on the value of their virtual currency, just as they would any other property held for investment or the production of income,” Apol wrote. “They should also alert their employees to the potential conflict of interest risk posed by ownership of virtual currency.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.