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Employment Benefits

Annual Leave

An employee may use annual leave for vacations, rest and relaxation, personal business or emergencies. It is earned in a formula based on the length of the employees federal service. For most employees, a maximum of 240 hours of annual leave may be carried into the next leave year. While part-time employees earn leave on a prorated basis, full-time employees earn leave as follows:

Length of Service

Annual Leave Earned

Annual Rate

Up to 3 years
3 to 15 years
15 years or more

4 hours/pay period
6 hours/pay period
8 hours/pay period

13 days/year
20 days/year
26 days/year


Sick Leave

An employee may use sick leave for personal medical needs (e.g., incapacitation for illness, injury, pregnancy or childbirth; medical/dental/optical exam or treatment), care of a family member, care of a family member with a serious health condition and for adoption-related purposes. Full-time employees earn sick leave at the rate of 4 hours each pay period (13 days per year). There is no limit to the number of hours an employee may carry from year to year.

Military Leave

A full-time employee is provided 15 days of pay per fiscal year for active duty, active duty training, and inactive duty training in the National Guard or as a Reserve of the Armed Forces. An additional 22 days per calendar year is provided for certain emergency duty or contingency operations. Leave is prorated for part-time employees.

Family Medical Leave Act

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), most full-time federal employees are entitled to a total of up to 12 workweeks (480 hours) of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes:

  • Birth of a son or daughter and care of a newborn (within one year after birth);
  • Placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care (within one year after placement);
  • Care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition; or,
  • Serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the duties of his or her position.

The Act also includes up to 26 weeks of leave to a federal employee who is a military spouse/son/daughter/parent or next of kin of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness and provides care for such service member.


Federal government employees are entitled to ten legal holidays each year. In order to be paid for a holiday, employees must be in a pay status on the day either immediately before or immediately after the holiday. Part-time employees will be paid for holidays only if they occur during their regularly scheduled workweek.

Holidays  Dates
New Years Day January 1
Martin Luther King's Birthday Third Monday in January
Inauguration Day* January 20 (every four years)
Presidents' Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Juneteenth June 19
Independence Day July 4
Labor Day First Monday in September 
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day November 11
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November 
Christmas Day December 25













Hours of Work* (D.C. area Federal employees only)

A variety of flexible and compressed work schedules is generally available to employees, and could include varied arrival times (from 0600 to 0930 hours), working an 8 to 10 hour workday, and/or the ability to complete an 80-hour bi-weekly work requirement in fewer than ten workdays.

Health Benefits

The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB) is a voluntary program that helps to protect employees and their eligible family members from the expenses of illness or accident. Enrollment in the FEHB Program is optional, but employees are encouraged to enroll for this protection. If an employee does not enroll at the first opportunity, he/she will not be able to enroll until Open Season (each November) or until another event permitting enrollment occurs.

The two basic types of health benefit plans available to employees under the FEHB Program are:

  • Fee-for-Service Plans (FFS): These plans reimburse employees or the health care provider for covered services. Employees enrolled in one of these plans may choose their own physician, hospital and other health care providers.
  • Prepaid Plans: These are the Point of Service/Health Maintenance Organizations (POS/HMOs) that provide or arrange for health care by designated plan physicians, hospitals, and other providers in particular locations.

Life Insurance

Unless employed on a temporary or intermittent basis, employees are eligible for Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) coverage. Under the FEGLI Program, employees are entitled to: 

  • High protection at low group rates.
  • Convenience of payment through payroll deductions.
  • Coverage after retirement.


All employees first hired on or after 1/1/84 will automatically be covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Basic Annuity.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees. It provides employees with many of the same savings and tax benefits found in the private sector. The TSP provides supplemental retirement income and features including: before tax savings and tax-deferred investment earnings; immediate vesting in ones own contributions; and, if the employee is under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), agency matching contributions, easy access to funds upon leaving the federal government, and the ability to borrow from ones own contributions and earnings. FERS employees will be entitled to automatic Agency contributions (1%), and matching contributions for the first 5% contributed. More information about the Thrift Savings Plan can be found on the TSP web site.