Tweaks to Some Annuity Deposits, and More
A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.
The Office of Personnel Management this week issued regulations implementing a 2018 law to ensure that agencies can pay interest on federal employees’ behalf if the agency is responsible for an error in calculating the cost of an optional retirement benefit related to military or volunteer service.
A provision of the 2018 Correcting Miscalculations in Veterans’ Pensions Act allows agencies to make payments on behalf of federal workers to cover for administrative mistakes that led those employees to underpay for an optional retirement annuity benefit.
Currently, federal employees in the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System who have served in the military after 1956 or volunteered in the Peace Corps or Volunteers in Service to America have the option to pay a deposit plus interest to their agency for their service in order to continue to receive retirement credit for that service, regardless of their entitlement to Social Security benefits.
New regulations published Tuesday in The Federal Register will allow agencies to make payments on behalf of those employees in instances where the agencies miscalculate what employees owe through that program due to administrative error.
“Until this legislation, there was no authority to permit payment by an agency or OPM of interest that accrued due to its administrative error,” the regulations stated. “The burden to pay the additional interest was on the employee. This legislation should be an incentive for agencies and OPM to perform better and, therefore, result in fewer findings of administrative error.”
A Paid Family Leave Update
Last week, a group of Democratic senators introduced legislation that would expand the recently implemented paid parental leave program for federal employees to cover family leave as well.
The Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act, introduced by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., would provide 12 weeks per year of paid leave to deal with a personal illness, to care for a family member suffering from illness, or for time off in connection with a family member going on or returning from active military duty.
The bill mirrors similar legislation in the House, and would expand on the 12 weeks of paid parental leave included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. That program provides paid leave for federal employees when a new child is born, adopted or placed on a foster basis.