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Federal Insurance Programs
Medical: Federal health and life insurance plans offer flexible options to customize your plan to your requirements.
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program allows employees to choose among several types of health insurance plans. The FEHB program consists of over 100 statewide/nationwide health plans. Each plan provides comprehensive coverage for employees, their spouses and their children under age 26. These include Preferred Provider Organizations/Fee for Service, Health Maintenance Organizations, and High Deductible plans. Enrollment in a health plan is voluntary and is paid for by contributions from you and the federal government, whereby the government pays approximately 72% of the entire premium. The FEHB does not place limitations on enrollment due to pre-existing conditions. For additional information, visit www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare.
Dental and Vision Program: The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) allows dental and vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means competitive premiums and no pre-existing condition limitations. Enrollees pay 100 percent of the premiums. New federal employees are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP if eligible for Federal Employees Health Benefits. Eligible employees have 60 days from their entry on duty date to enroll in FEDVIP. For additional information, visit the enrollment site at benefeds.com.
Long Term Care: Cadre employees may enroll in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Long-term care is the assistance received to perform activities of daily living—such as bathing or dressing oneself—or supervision require due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Enrollment in the FLTCIP is on an individual basis. Eligible federal employees’ spouses, adult children at least 18 years old, parents, parents-in-law, and step-parents are also eligible to apply for coverage, even if employees do not. Employees must be eligible for FEHB and have 60 days from their entry on duty date to apply for coverage using the abbreviated underwriting application. After 60 days, they must apply using the full underwriting application. For additional information, visit the FLTC program at www.opm.gov/insure/ltc.
Life Insurance:The Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) is group term life insurance available for Cadre employees. It has no cash value and no loan privileges. However, no medical exams are required, and there is no waiting period. Most federal employees are eligible to enroll in FEGLI and will be automatically enrolled in basic insurance, unless they are excluded by law or regulation. An enrollee may also obtain coverage for eligible family members, including: spouses and unmarried dependent children under age 22. (Note: If a child was/is incapable of self-support on or after age 22 due to a mental or physical disability that existed before the child reached age 22, the child is considered to be eligible for FEGLI coverage.) For additional information, visit www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-insurance.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Flexible Spending Account Program: The Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) allows employees to use pretax dollars to pay for eligible out-of-pocket dependent and health care expenses. The savings on Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSAs are usually for items that typically aren’t covered by an employee’s FEHB plan, the Federal Employees Dental, and Vision Insurance Program or other health insurance coverage. The Dependent Care FSA offers savings on costs associated with child-care or elder-care expenses. Enrollment is voluntary and must be completed within 60 days of an employee’s entry on duty date, and before 1 October of the current year. For additional information, visit www.fsafeds.com.
Federal Retirement Programs
Whether you plan to work forever or you have a date firmly in mind, federal retirement benefits will help you stay secure in your retirement years.
Federal Employees Retirement System: The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is a three-tiered retirement plan for federal employees. FERS benefits are portable and allow employees to take an active role in planning their retirement. Two of the three parts of FERS (Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan) can follow you to your next job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. The Basic Benefit and Social Security components of FERS require that you pay your cost share each pay period and the government pays its share as well. Following retirement, you will be entitled to receive annuity payments every month for the rest of your life. FERS is composed of the following components:
Basic Benefit Plan: Establishes an annuity amount based upon an employee’s age, years of service, and average highest salary attained over a consecutive 3-year period.
Social Security: Benefit payments made from Social Security Fund at retirement are based on employee’s age, benefit applied for, and earnings history.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings and investment plan, similar to 401 (k) plans offered by private employers. The TSP part of FERS is an account that is automatically set up for you and FERS employees receive an automatic 1 percent contribution starting immediately after entering duty. The government will then match your contributions dollar for dollar on the first 3 percent and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2 percent. These contributions are tax-deferred. TSP also accepts rollovers from other 401(k)/qualified retirement plans. For additional information, visit www.tsp.gov.
For additional information regarding the Federal Employees Retirement System, visit www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information.
Work Life Balance
At the NRO, we understand the importance of providing employees the opportunity to balance their work schedule with their day-to-day personal and family schedules, as well as the opportunity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Annual Leave: Annual leave is an authorized absence with pay from a regularly scheduled workday and may be used for vacations, personal or emergency purposes. New, full-time Cadre employees earn up to 13 days of annual leave per year and can ultimately accrue up to 26 days of paid leave per year.
Sick Leave: Full time employees accrue four (4) hours of Sick Leave each two-week pay period, regardless of length of service. Part-time employees accrue one (1) hour of sick Leave for each 20 hours worked, regardless of length of service. Sick Leave can be used for a variety of purposes including personal illness, medical/dental appointments, care of sick family members including their medical appointments, family bereavement, and child adoption. Unlimited hours of sick leave can be accumulated and carried over to succeeding years.
Family Medical Leave: The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allows eligible employees to take up to 12 administrative workweeks of leave without pay during any 12-month period. FMLA leave is only charged on scheduled workdays. FMLA may be used during birth or adoption of a child, care for a seriously ill family member or during a serious health condition where the employee is unable to perform assigned duties.
Medical Leave Bank: The NRO Cadre Medical Leave Bank (MLB) program is a pooled fund of donated annual and restored leave. Designed to support MLB members if all annual and sick leave are exhausted and an employee requires a prolonged period of absence for a personal and/or eligible family member’s medical emergency.
Voluntary Leave Programs: Under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, 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. This program allows employees who experience a medical emergency or a medical emergency of a family member to receive annual leave donations from fellow coworkers.
Student Loan Repayment Program: The Student Loan Repayment Program provides financial aid to eligible full-time employees through an annual repayment plan of federally insured student loans up to $10,000 per year, with a lifetime maximum of $60,000 per employee, not to exceed 6 years.
Child Care Subsidy Program: The Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) provides fee assistance to income eligible full-time and part-time Cadre employees with the cost of child care, including before and after school based programs as well as summer day camps.
Paid Federal Holidays: Cadre employees receive 11 fully paid federal holidays per year.
Flexible work schedules allow NRO Cadre employees to determine their own work schedule (within guidelines) to afford employees a better work-life balance. Similarly, compressed work schedules are fixed work schedules—typically eight, 9-hour workdays and one 8-hour workday—allowing for an 80-hour biweekly work period with an additional day off every other week.
Wellness Programs: NRO encourages employees to maintain their physical well-being and has an excellent fitness center located on-site at a NRO Headquarters and at other NRO facilities. Additionally, NRO employs a wellness initiative that allows civilian government employees to exercise at their duty location for up to three (3) hours per week as an excused absence from duty - without utilizing their personal leave. The program is designed to allow employees the flexibility they need in order to make physical fitness a part of their life.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Today’s employees face a growing array of personal issues or problems that can interfere, not only with their quality of life but also with job performance. The NRO Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential individual counseling, financial counseling, workshops, support groups, crisis intervention, and referral services to employees and family members at no cost.