Giving Feds Credit for Temporary Service Performed is the Right Thing To Do
On Thursday, May 2, Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced the Federal Retirement Fairness Act (H.R. 2478). The bill would allow Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees an opportunity to make catch-up retirement contributions for service performed in temporary positions. This has been one of FMA’s legislative priorities for several years.
The issue and potential solutions originally came to the FMA national office from our members at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.
Similar bipartisan legislation was introduced in the 115th Congress, and we discussed it in this space twice last year, as it generated an unprecedented number of grassroots action letters from FMA members across the country. We even heard frequently from many non-FMA members, supporting the idea and curious about its progress. We are pleased to see legislation reintroduced in the House and offer our full endorsement.
The bill would provide fairness to FERS employees by giving them the ability to make a deposit, plus interest, and receive credit toward his or her annuity computation for non-deduction service performed on or after January 1, 1989. Currently, FERS employees who were put on intermittent or temporary time are unable to buy back that time towards their retirement. We’ve heard from many of our members and other federal employees who were “temporary” for nearly 10 years – and none of that time is currently available to be credited towards their retirement. Our members understand they could be responsible for bearing the bulk of the costs, but welcome the opportunity to buy back this time and be rewarded for their years of hard work.
In a press release on introduction, Representative Kilmer said, “this bill will ensure that all federal workers, from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and beyond, have the opportunity to retire at the same time, regardless of how they started their careers.” Representative Cole stated, “the existing policy provides no benefit to federal employees or the federal government, but the buy-back option gives workers additional credit toward retirement which is an option they currently do not have available.” Civil Service Retirement System employees are able to buy back temporary time. H.R. 2478 would give FERS employees the same ability.
FMA is proud to stand with many other friends in support of H.R. 2478. The legislation has been endorsed by several labor unions, including the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), the National Federation of Federal Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees Forest Service Council, and the American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO, as well as the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the National Association of Letter Carriers.
We are grateful for Mr. Kilmer and Mr. Cole’s continued leadership on this issue. As FMA National President Renee Johnson wrote in a press release last week, our association will again roll up our sleeves to work with Congressmen Kilmer and Cole, their staffs, and other decision makers to pass H.R. 2478 in the 116th Congress.
Posted in Hear it from FMA