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Federal Benefits

Listed below in alphabetical order are brief descriptions of the benefits available to federal employees. Eligibility for each benefit is typically based on the duration of the hiring appointment.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is accrued on a pay-period-by-pay-period basis and may be used for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business.

Accrual rate is based on your length of service and your work schedule (full-time vs. part-time).

Full-time employees with:

  • less than three years of service earn four hours
  • three to 15 years of service earn six hours
  • 15 or more years of service earn eight hours

Part-time employees with:

  • less than three years of service earn one hour for every 20 hours worked
  • three to 15 years of service earn one hour for every 13 hours worked
  • 15 years or more earn one hour for every 10 hours worked

The annual leave ceiling is 360 hours. Annual leave in excess of 360 hours will be forfeited if not used by the end of the “leave year.”

Supervisors and senior officers earn eight hours every pay period regardless of years of service. The annual leave ceiling for supervisors is 360 hours. The annual leave ceiling for senior officers is 720 hours.

Commissioner members are excluded from the general provisions of earning or using annual and sick leave. Members are required to be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Time off is taken as needed.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

FEDVIP provides dental and vision insurance to federal employees and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. Eligible family members include your spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 22. Employees may enroll in a dental and/or vision plan. Premiums are withheld from salary on a pre-tax basis. FEDVIP is in addition to any dental or vision coverage you may have under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program or under a non-FEHB plan, including the SEC’s Supplemental Health Benefits Program that includes dental and vision insurance at no cost to employees. See SEC Select under agency-specific benefits.

Learn more about FEDVIP.

Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

FEGLI provides group term life insurance coverage for you, your spouse, and your children under the age of 22. A new federal employee eligible for FEGLI is automatically enrolled in basic life insurance coverage and has the option to elect additional coverage. The government pays one-third of the cost of basic insurance. Your cost for the basic insurance is $0.15 per $1,000 worth of coverage.

Learn more about FEGLI.

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)

Federal employees enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. You can choose from among the Fee-for-Service (FFS), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) consumer-driven or high-deductible plans. FEHB provides comprehensive health insurance for you, your spouse, and your children up to age 26. On average, the government pays 70 percent toward your premium; in addition, the SEC pays a subsidy of about seven percent more—for a total of 77 percent toward the total cost of your health insurance premium. See FEHB Subsidy under agency-specific benefits. Premiums are withheld from your salary on a pre-tax basis.

New hires have a 60-day window from their date of appointment to enroll in the FEHB program. Verification of each eligible family member is required before they can be enrolled in the FEHB program.  A list of acceptable documents for your family member’s eligibility verification is available for your review, FEHB Family Member Eligibility Documents.

Learn more about FEHB.

Federal Holidays

Federal employees receive 11 paid holidays a year:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King’s Birthday
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan (FLTCIP)

The FLTCIP provides long-term care insurance to help pay for costs of care when you need assistance to perform daily activities or if you have a severe cognitive impairment. Federal employees and their qualified relatives (spouse, parents, parents-in-law, stepparents, children over the age of 19, and same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners) are eligible to apply. Newly hired employees and their spouse/partner have 60 days to apply under abbreviated underwriting procedure. Otherwise, eligible applicants apply under the full underwriting procedure (medical history). You pay the entire premium.

Learn more about the FLTCIP.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

An FSA allows you to save money for health care expenses with a Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSA. FSAs also provide savings for families with young children or elder care expenses with a Dependent Care FSA. You set aside money from your salary before taxes are withheld, incur eligible expenses, and receive reimbursement.

Learn more about FSAs.


The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) is a three-tiered retirement plan that consists of a basic benefit plan, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Deductions are automatically withheld from salary for the basic benefit and Social Security. Social Security and the TSP are portable if you leave the federal government.

Learn more about about FERS.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is accrued on a pay-period-by-pay-period basis and may be used for personal medical needs, family care or bereavement, care of a family member with a serious health condition, or adoption-related purposes.

Accrual rate is four hours per pay period regardless of your length of service and is prorated according to part-time schedule. Accrual rate does not increase and there is no limitation on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated.

Senior officers also earn four hours per pay period.

Student Loan Repayment

The SEC may provide student loan repayment benefits of up to $10,000 per year per employee, with a cumulative maximum of $60,000 per employee.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees. The TSP is a defined contribution plan and is one part of the three-part FERS retirement plan that also includes a basic benefit and Social Security. You have the option to contribute to the traditional plan or Roth plan. You can contribute up to the IRS elective deferral amount each year. TSP also offers TSP catchup contributions for those individuals age 50 and over and contributing the maximum to their regular TSP.

Learn more about the TSP.

FERS Employees

New hires are automatically enrolled to contribute five percent into the traditional pre-tax TSP option. As a FERS employee, you can receive two types of agency contributions to your TSP account, which together can equal as much as five percent of your biweekly basic pay:

  1. Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions
    The agency will automatically deposit into your TSP account an amount equal to one percent of your biweekly basic pay each pay period, even if you do not contribute your own money to the TSP.
  2. Agency Matching Contributions
    The agency will match the first three percent of biweekly basic pay you contribute each pay period dollar for dollar. Each dollar of the next two percent of biweekly basic pay will be matched 50 cents on the dollar.

CSRS Employees

CSRS can take advantage of the TSP to provide a source of retirement income in addition to their CSRS retirement benefit. However, CSRS employees do not receive any agency matching contributions to their TSP.

Transit Benefits

The Transportation Benefit is a non-taxable subsidy provided to assist you with commuting costs to your official work site.

The Bicycle Benefit Program assists cyclists with bicycle commuting expenses. The benefit is provided to employees who regularly use a bicycle for a substantial portion of their commute.

The Pre-Tax Parking Benefit Program allows employees to receive a reduction in payroll taxes by the amount of claimed qualified monthly parking fees that are associated with commuting to work.

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