A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.
All of the portfolios in the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program gained ground in June, although most funds still have not recouped the losses sustained at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Thrift Savings Plan’s small business (S) fund saw the best returns last month, increasing 4%. But so far this year, the S Fund remains 5.85% in the red. The international stocks of the I Fund grew 3.44% in June but remain 11.08% in the negative in 2020.
The common stocks in the C Fund increased 1.99% last month, cutting its losses this year to 3.15%. The fixed income bonds in the F Fund gained 0.63%, bringing its 2020 increases to 6.08%, while the government securities of the G Fund increased 0.06%. So far this year, the G Fund has grown 0.59%.
Each of the TSP’s lifecycle (L) funds, which shift toward more conservative investments as participants get closer to retirement, posted gains last month. The L Income Fund increased 0.73%; L 2020, 0.77%; L 2030, 1.81%; L 2040, 2.14%; and L 2050, 2.42%.
So far in 2020, the L Income Fund has lost 0.23%; L 2020, 0.74%; L 2030, 2.80%; L 2040, 3.64%; and L 2050, 4.42%.
Beginning Wednesday, the L 2020 fund will be rolled into the L Income Fund, and the following new funds will be added to the TSP’s offerings: L 2025, L 2035, L 2045, L 2055, and L 2060.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., last week introduced legislation that would institute a number of new protections for federal workers impacted by COVID-19.
The Federal Workforce Health and Safety During the Pandemic Act (H.R. 7341) would reimburse federal workers up to $2,000 per month for child care until the end of 2020 if they are required to commute to the office or cannot care for their dependent while teleworking. It also codifies that the presence of a dependent in a federal worker’s home will not restrict that employee's access to telework.
Additionally, the bill would require federal agencies to allow full-time telework for all employees authorized to do so for the rest of this year, as well as provide weather and safety leave for those who cannot work remotely and cannot “safely” commute or perform work at their normal duty station.
The legislation also provides a presumption that if a federal employee whose duties require contact with patients, members of the public or coworkers or otherwise includes a “risk of exposure” to the coronavirus tests positive for the virus, he or she will be assumed to have contracted COVID-19 while on duty for the purposes of workers compensation claims. Employees who have been authorized to telework full time during the pandemic would not be eligible for this benefit.
And the bill authorizes hazard pay of $13 per hour, up to $10,000 total, for most essential federal workers who are unable to perform their duties remotely over the course of the pandemic, retroactive to Jan. 31. For such federal workers making more than $200,000 per year in basic pay, the hazard pay cap would be $5,000.