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New proposal could impact federal employees’ retirement benefits

One of the benefits of a government job is, well, the benefits. Perks like the retirement plan that comes with the position can help convince workers to accept or stick with a government job.

Two lawmakers are pushing to help solidify this specific benefit.

What is the proposal? Representatives Derek Kilmer of Washington and Tom Cole of Oklahoma have proposed a piece of legislation called the Federal Retirement Fairness Act. If passed, this law would allow those who began their federal positions as part time employees to catch up on retirement contributions. This could mean federal workers will not need to work as long to reap the rewards of their retirement plans.

As currently proposed, the bill would allow workers the option to essentially “buy-back” the time lost for the years they were not able to make retirement contributions due to their part-time status.

How many would the proposal effect? Thousands. The Army alone estimates it had over 19,000 employees that would qualify for the “buy-back” option in 2018.

Will the Federal Retirement Fairness Act become law? It is still early in the process, but organizations have publicly voiced their support. The National Federation of Federal Employees, for example, has stated the current system is “unconscionable” and that the proposal would allow workers to receive the retirement benefits they deserve.  

It is important to note that this bill highlights just one of the issues that federal workers can face when navigating their retirement. Workers who are concerned their employer’s actions have had a negative impact on their retirement have options. An attorney can review your situation and discuss your legal options.

We will provide updates to the status of this bill as they become available.

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