Employee Benefits & Pay

Venn diagram of Federal benefit programs and how to get the most value from the programs.

How to Get the Most Value from the Federal Benefits Programs (.pdf)

The Federal Government provides many benefits, financial incentives, and family friendly programs to its employees. Some of the benefits available to Federal Employees are:

Absences & Leave

It is DOI’s policy to be fair and consistent regarding leave time. Employees are expected, in return, to think of the interests of DOI in asking for leave and to avoid any abuse of leave benefits. DOI employees receive ten paid holidays per year. Visit OPM's Leave Administration website for more information.

Leave Accrual Rates

Employee Type

Less than 3 years of service

3 - 14 years of service

15+ years of service

Full-time employees

½ day (4 hours) per pay period

¾ day (6 hours) per pay period, except 1¼ day (10 hours) in last pay period

1 day (8 hours) per pay period

Part-time employees

1 hour of annual leave for every 20 hours in a pay status

1 hour of annual leave for every 13 hours in a pay status

1 hour of annual leave for every 10 hours in a pay status

Uncommon tours of duty

(4 hours) x (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) / 80 = biweekly accrual rate

(6 hours) x (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) / 80 = biweekly accrual rate

(8 hours) x (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) / 80 = biweekly accrual rate

Alternate Work Schedules

Alternative Work Schedules (AWS) is an umbrella term for flexible and compressed work schedules.  A flexible work schedule includes designated hours and days when an employee will be present for work and hours during which an employee may elect to work.  A compressed schedule is always a fixed schedule wherein an employee is scheduled to work on less than 10 workdays per pay period.

Alternative Work Schedules allow employees to be more flexible in scheduling their personal activities. As employees gain greater control over their time, they can balance work and family responsibilities more easily, become involved in volunteer activities, and take advantage of educational opportunities. The employee benefits provided by AWS programs also are useful recruitment and retention tools.

Child Care Subsidy

The subsidized child care program helps lower income Federal employees pay their child care fees. Although the Department of the Interior has a child-care subsidy plan, currently the National Park Service is the only DOI organization which offers the program to their employees. 

Employee Assistance Program

Everyone has personal problems from time to time. DOI's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers professional, confidential counseling and consultation that can help you resolve these issues. Services are available at no cost to you or members of your family. DOI has contracted with Espyr, Inc. to provide you with comprehensive EAP services. Espyr offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referral services for a wide range of personal problems, as well as a variety of work/life issues.

COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave Forms

COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave (EPL) Employee Notification and Supplemental Leave Request Form

Employee Agreement in Connection with Emergency Paid Leave (EPL) Provided Under Section 4001 of the American Rescue Plan of 2021

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Program

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) let employees make pre-tax salary contributions to pay for qualified medical expenses not reimbursed by FEHB or any other source, and to pay dependent care expenses. The funds put into an FSA are not subject to Federal income and FICA taxes, nor most state and local income taxes.

A Health Care FSA (HCFSA) pays for the uncovered or un-reimbursed parts of qualified medical costs. The HCFSA does not replace health insurance. It simply pays for your out-of-pocket health care expenses with pre-tax dollars. 

A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) lets employees pay eligible costs for dependent care, such as the cost of childcare or a disabled adult, with pre-tax dollars.

Unlike the FEHB, there are no government contributions to the program. Employees contribute all of the money to the FSA.

Health Insurance

Eligible employees can enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program regardless of age or medical condition. FEHB is a group health insurance plan that offers about 200 health plan options nationally. The government pays most of the cost for these benefits and the employee's cost is deducted every other week from his/her pay. Visit OPM's Healthcare Insurance website for more information.

Life Insurance

The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI) provides term insurance. It builds no cash value. FEGLI consists of basic life insurance coverage and three options, which are: 

All new employees are automatically covered under basic insurance, unless waived. Employees must have the basic insurance in order to select any of the optional coverages. Optional insurance coverage is NOT automatic – employees must select it. Employees who want it must select coverage within 60 calendar days after becoming eligible. Not selecting optional insurance is considered waiving it.

Long-Term Care Insurance

The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) helps pay for care costs when employees need help with every day activities and/or have a severe mental injury or illness. Employees pay the full cost for this insurance. 

New employees may be eligible to apply for this program. Eligible employees should use either an abbreviated underwriting application or a full underwriting application, depending on whether he or she applies within 60 days of becoming eligible.

For more information on Federal health, life, and long-term care insurance, visit the Office of Personnel Management website.

Parental Leave

Eligible federal employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid parental leave if the child is born or adopted on or after Oct. 1, 2020. View the Department of the Interior policy, Personnel Bulletin 20-13, and FAQs for more information.  

Pay

There are several pay systems within the Federal government. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) develops and maintains government-wide laws and policies on pay, including: 

  • basic pay setting, 
  • locality pay, 
  • special salary rates, 
  • back pay, 
  • pay limitations, 
  • premium pay, 
  • grade and pay retention, 
  • recruitment, 
  • relocation and retention incentives, and 
  • cost-of-living allowances (COLA). 

Each Federal agency manages these pay policies and programs for its employees. Within DOI, the Office of Human Capital manages these programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (Student Loan Forgiveness)

The U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loans manages the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Individuals employed full-time in public service, who have Direct Loans, may qualify for PSLF.  It is possible for employees to qualify for DOI’s SLRP and after ten years of specific public service have the balance of their federally insured loan(s) forgiven.

Retirement

There are three retirement plans for Title V employees. Generally, the type of job decides what type of retirement plan covers an employee. 

Visit OPM's Retirement Services website for more information.

Social Security

Employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are also covered by Social Security. Social Security benefits are given to workers and their qualified dependents under the Old-Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs of the Social Security Act. It replaces part of earnings lost because of retirement, disability, or death.

Employees are also covered under Social Security Medicare Hospital Insurance program. While an employee gets Social Security disability benefits or retirement benefits at age 65 or older, it pays part of hospital expenses during that time. 

For more information on Social Security benefits to include Medicare, visit the Social Security Administration website.

Student Loan Repayment Program

Government agencies have loan repayment programs to help attract and keep highly qualified employees. DOI’s Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is not available for all employees with student loan debt. It is available to Title V employees with specific mission critical occupational series positions. Visit OPM's Student Loan Repayment website for more information.

Telework

Telework is an important workplace flexibility that enables eligible employees to perform their duties from an approved alternative worksite (e.g. home or telework center). Learn more on the DOI Telework webpage.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a tax-deferred retirement savings and investment plan that offers Federal employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. By participating in the TSP, Federal employees have the opportunity to save part of their income for retirement, receive matching agency contributions, and reduce their current taxes.

Transit Benefits Program

DOI also offers a Transit Benefits Program. It encourages employees to use public transportation for getting to and from work on a regular and ongoing basis. This non-taxable assistance encourages employees by reducing the cost of his/her daily work commute. On and off use of public transportation does not qualify an employee to enroll in this program. Although this program is meant to help employees' commuting costs, DOI can only reimburse these costs up to the maximum allowable amount.

Voluntary Leave Transfer Program thumbnail

VLTP infographic

Voluntary Leave Transfer Program

Under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP), 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. Each agency must administer a voluntary leave transfer program for its employees. 

Was this page helpful?