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Benefits

The Federal Government offers a comprehensive and complete benefits package. Review the list of benefits below to see why working for DSS has its advantages.

Annual leave is an authorized absence with pay from a regularly scheduled workday. Annual leave may be used for vacation, personal, or emergency purposes. For full-time employees, annual leave is accrued at the following rates:

  • Less than 3 years: 4 hours per pay period (13 days per year)
  • 3-14 years: 6 hours per pay period (20 days per year)
  • 15 years or more: 8 hours per pay period (26 days per year)

Part-time employees also earn annual leave. The leave accrual is pro-rated based on the number of base pay hours the employee works during the standard 80-hour pay period. In most cases, up to 30 days (240 hours) of annual leave may be accrued and carried over to the next year.

Full-time employees accrue four hours of sick leave each pay period, regardless of length of service. Part-time employees accrue one hour of sick leave for each 20 hours worked, regardless of length of service. There is no limit on the amount of sick leave that an employee may accrue. Sick leave can be used for the following reasons:

  • Personal illness
  • Medical, optical, and dental appointments
  • Care of a family member who is ill or for his/her doctor's appointments
  • Bereavement purposes
  • Adoption of a child

DSS observes 10 Federal holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

New or additional Federal holidays can be established only by Federal statute or by Executive Order of the President of the United States.

Court leave is an authorized absence for employees called by a Federal, state, or municipal court as a juror or as a witness in a case where a government entity is a party. Personal leave will not be charged, and there will be no loss of pay in such a circumstance. The employee must present the summons or subpoena before the leave is granted and a certificate of attendance afterward.
There is no separate maternity leave; however, under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most Federal employees are entitled to up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the birth of a child of the employee and the care of such child. An employee may elect to substitute annual leave and/or sick leave for any unpaid leave under the FMLA.

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 administrative workweeks of leave without pay (LWOP) during any 12-month period. FMLA leave may be charged only on days that are scheduled workdays.

FMLA may be used for the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter and the care of such son or daughter.
  • The placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • The care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition.
  • A serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position.
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
Under the VLTP, a covered employee may donate annual leave directly to another employee who has a personal or family medical emergency and who has exhausted his or her available paid leave. There is no limit on the amount of donated annual leave a leave recipient may receive from the leave donor(s). However, any unused donated leave must be returned to the leave donor(s) when the medical emergency ends.
DSS offers several insurance options, with costs split between the employee and the Federal government.
You can choose from among Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan. Your biweekly share of the premium (pretax) depends on the plan you select. The government pays approximately 72 percent of the total premium.
Dental and vision benefits are available to eligible employees on an enrollee-pay-all basis. This Program allows dental insurance and vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means competitive premiums and no pre-existing condition limitations. Premiums for enrolled Federal and Postal employees are withheld from salary on a (pre-tax) basis.

FSAFEDS allows you to save money for health care expenses with a Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSA. Think of it as a savings account that helps you pay for items that typically aren’t covered by your FEHB Plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or other health insurance coverage.

FSAFEDS also offers an account for families with young children or elder care expenses – the Dependent Care FSA. This account allows you to set aside money to pay for your day care expenses.

The minimum election for all accounts is just $100 and carryover has been adopted for health care and limited expense health care FSAs.

Most employees are eligible for FEGLI coverage. FEGLI provides group term life insurance. As such, it does not build up any cash value or paid-up value. It consists of Basic life insurance coverage and three options. In most cases, if you are a new Federal employee, you are automatically covered by Basic life insurance and your payroll office deducts premiums from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage. In addition to the Basic, there are three forms of Optional insurance you can elect. You must have Basic insurance in order to elect any of the options. Unlike Basic, enrollment in Optional insurance is not automatic – you must take action to elect the options.

The cost of Basic insurance is shared between you and the Government. You pay 2/3 of the total cost and the Government pays 1/3. Your age does not affect the cost of Basic insurance. You pay the full cost of Optional insurance, and the cost depends on your age.

The FLTCIP provides long-term care insurance to help pay for costs of care when enrollees need help with activities they perform every day, or you have a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Most employees must be eligible for the FEHB Program in order to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP. It does not matter if they are actually enrolled in FEHB – eligibility is the key. Certain medical conditions, or a combination of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage. You must apply to find out if you are eligible to enroll.

FERS is the retirement plan for those entering federal service under a permanent appointment. FERS benefits are portable and allow employees to take an active role in securing their futures.

FERS is a three-tiered plan comprised of:

  • Basic Benefit Plan – Establishes an annuity amount based on an employee's age, years of Federal service as of the effective retirement date and average highest salary attained over a 3-year consecutive period. Disability benefits and benefits for survivors of Federal employees and retirees are also provided.
  • Social Security Benefit – Payments made from the Social Security Fund at retirement are based on an employee's age, type of benefit applied for, and earnings history from social security-covered wages.
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) – The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings and investment plan similar to 401(k) plans offered by private employers. Employees participating in the TSP can choose from several investment plans, including government securities, common stock funds, bond index funds, small capitalization stock, and international stock funds.

The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees. Employees covered by FERS or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) can contribute to TSP, although participation rules are different for FERS versus CSRS employees. You may elect to contribute any dollar amount or percentage (1 to 100) of your basic biweekly pay. However, your annual dollar total cannot exceed the Internal Revenue Code's annual elective deferral limit for the current tax year.

FERS employees receive an automatic 1 percent contribution starting immediately after entering duty. The government matches employee contributions dollar for dollar on the first 3 percent and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2 percent.

TSP now accepts rollovers from other 401(k)/qualified retirement plans.

Fitness centers can be found in certain DSS offices throughout the nation. These centers provide employees the opportunity to receive instruction from certified health, fitness, and wellness professionals.
Telework enhances operational efficiency, promotes program goals, enriches the quality of work and life, and provides for a better balance of work and personal responsibilities. With supervisor approval, DSS offers options to telework regularly or situationally.

DSS offers many work schedules to support work life balance. These include the flexible work schedules identified below.

  • Flexitour – A schedule in which an employee is allowed to select starting and stopping times within the flexible hours established by management. Once selected, the hours are fixed until the agency provides an opportunity to select different starting and stopping times.
  • Gliding Schedule – A schedule in which a full-time employee has a basic work requirement of 8 hours in each day and 40 hours in each week. An employee selects starting and stopping time each day, and may change starting and stopping times daily within the established flexible hours.
  • Maxiflex – A schedule in which a full-time employee has a basic work requirement of 80 hours for the biweekly pay period, but in which an employee may vary the number of hours worked on a given workday or the number of hours each week within the limits established for the organization.