Effects of No Pay on your Benefits
While federal employees were not paid on January 15 due to the government shutdown, many are wondering about deductions and benefits that are connected to your paycheck.
**Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) – Coverage will continue for 12 months in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or the agency. Neither will incur a debt during this period of non-pay.
**Federal Health Insurance Benefits (FEHB) – Enrollment continues for no more than 365 days in a non-pay status. The nonpay status may be continuous or broken by periods of less than four consecutive months in a pay status (5 USC Chapter 89). The agency contribution continues while employees are in a non-pay status. The agency is also responsible for advancing the employee’s share as well. The enrollee’s share of the FEHB premium will accumulate and be withheld from pay upon return to pay status.
**Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) – BENEFEDS will generate a bill to enrollees for premiums when no payment is received for consecutive pay periods. The enrollee should then pay premiums directly billed to them to ensure continued coverage. If you’re enrolled in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), your coverage will continue during the government shutdown.
**Southern Insurance Group (SIG) Life Insurance. For any issues with allotments or life insurance premiums from members covered by a plan through SIG, contact George Regitko at (931) 261-0800
**UNUM Long Term Disability Program. We have worked with UNUM, and they have given the NATCA policy a 120-day premium grace period for those participating in the NATCA/UNUM LTD plan. This will not waive the premiums just postpone them until members are repaid from the US Government. If anyone comes across issues regarding the policy and coverage, please contact me, and I will make sure it is addressed.
If you pay your premiums through deductions or allotments from a pay provider or retirement system other than CSRS and FERS, they may be suspended during the shutdown. You do not need to take action at this time. However, depending on the length of the shutdown we may need to bill you directly for your premiums. If you receive a direct bill, you must pay it on time to ensure continuation of your coverage. When deductions and allotments resume, we will attempt to collect any missed premiums by adjusting future deductions or allotments from your pay.
**Accrual of sick and annual leave during the shutdown – Employees who are excepted from the furlough continue to accrue leave. However, it won’t be credited until after the shutdown ends. Employees who are non-excepted and placed in a furlough status will continue to accrue leave as long as they do not exceed 80 hours of unpaid status. For each period of 80 unpaid hours, accrual is suspended for the period in which they cross 80 hours of unpaid time. This applies to all hours of unpaid status, including furlough, LWOP, suspensions, etc.
**Order of precedence that deductions will be made from any salary check that an employee may receive – In general terms, the following deductions are taken from the employee’s pay in this order: 1) Retirement; 2) Social Security tax, 3) Medicare tax; 4) Federal Income tax; 5) basic health insurance premiums (e.g., FEHB), 6) basic life insurance premiums (e.g. FEGLI); 7) State tax; 8) Local tax, 9) collection of debts owed to the federal government; 10) court-ordered collections; 11) optional benefits (e.g., FEDVIP, FLTCIP, FSA, TSP); 12) other voluntary deductions (e.g., savings bonds, union dues); 13) IRS paper levies.
**TSP Loans – TSP loans are repaid by payroll withholding. If a person misses two loan payments, nothing happens. Most federal employees are paid biweekly, which means nothing will happen if you cannot make your TSP loan repayments for 28 days. If it is longer, employees must pay the missed payments directly to the TSP in order to avoid a taxable distribution. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees your TSP, will notify participants by mail that they need to mail in a personal check for the “cure” amount to get their loan back on track. More information on TSP here: https://www.tsp.gov/whatsnew/Content/index.html
**Child Support Payment – there is no OPM or other official guidance on how the government will deal with child support or court-ordered payments. Because child support laws vary by state, and each arrangement is individually approved by a court, NATCA isn’t able to provide guidance on whether an individual’s payment is due in the absence of a regular paycheck.
As far as other parts of your paycheck, holiday pay, overtime, differentials, etc., keep up with your information and what you’ve worked because when we do reopen, the people in payroll will have a lot to figure out.
Refer to the CBA for additional guidance: http://www.natca.com/images/NATCA_PDFs/LaborRelations/2016NATCACBAJoint20160928.pdf