H.R. 5389, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, has been introduced by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA). The bill would allow federal employees to pay into the retirement fund for the years these individuals worked under temporary status. This bipartisan bill solves an issue that NTEU has supported seeing addressed for years.
When legislation creating the FERS system was crafted by Congress, a provision was dropped from the CSRS retirement system’s rules that allowed employees to “buy back” the time they worked as temporary employees, when they were not allowed to participate in the retirement system. However, following the advent of FERS, certain agencies continued to hire individuals into long-term temporary positions, with many of these individuals eventually becoming regular full-time employees. As this group now begins to retire, they are faced with a shortfall — they either have to take a reduced pension or work longer than they planned. Under H.R. 5389, these employees would now be able to pay for their earlier, uncredited time, and be made whole. The bill would require that employees pay both the 1.3 percent of their base salaries, and the interest and contributions the U.S. government would have been responsible for during the time they were on temporary or intermittent status. Despite the upfront cost, NTEU believes the measure will still benefit these employees in retirement.
NTEU is working on introduction of a companion bill in the Senate. I will keep you apprised of NTEU’s efforts.