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Employee Incentives at a Glance

Federal employment offers a competitive benefits package including paid holidays, annual and sick leave, comprehensive health coverage, life insurance, Social Security, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and Thrift Savings Plan participation.

These benefits are briefly described below:

Paid Holidays

Federal employees receive 10 paid holidays each year: New Year's Day, M.L. King's Birthday, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Days, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Annual Leave

As a Federal employee, you will earn annual leave that may be used for vacations, rest and relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. Hours are earned each biweekly pay period. A maximum amount of 240 hours of annual leave may be carried over from one leave year to the next. Following is the rate of accrual for full time employees (leave is prorated for part-time employees or those on uncommon tours of duty): 

  • 1 - 3 years of service 13 days leave
  • 3 - 15 years of service 20 days leave
  • 15 years of service and up 26 days leave

Sick Leave

As a Federal employee, you will earn sick leave that may be used for your own or a family member's medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment. Regardless of length of service, full time employees earn 13 days of sick leave each year (leave is prorated for part-time employees or those on uncommon tours of duty). There are no limits on the amount of sick leave that can be accumulated. Federal employees may use up to 12 administrative work weeks of accumulated sick leave (480 hours) each leave year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Health Insurance

As a Federal employee, you will have a variety of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) or fee-for-service health plans from which to choose coverage. As the employer, the agency pays part of the biweekly health benefit premium. No medical exam is required to enroll, and there is no waiting period. Coverage may be carried into retirement.

Life Insurance

As a Federal employee, you may enroll in the Federal Government-wide Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program. FEGLI provides a variety of coverage and benefit amounts. Coverage is automatic for most employees unless they waive it.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

FERS consists of three components: Social Security benefit, a basic annuity plan, and the tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Employees pay full Social Security taxes and a small contribution to the basic annuity plan. As your employer, we make an automatic 1% of salary contribution to your TSP. You may also elect to contribute a percentage of your salary to the TSP Plan and we will match your contributions up to 5% of your total salary.

Thrift Savings Plan

The TSP is a retirement savings plan for civilian employees of the U.S. Federal Government. The purpose of the TSP is to provide retirement income. The TSP offers Federal civilian employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401-K plans. The TSP is a defined contribution plan. To see more information on TSP and other incentives for joining the Census Bureau, see our Benefits and Compensation link at the top of this page.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Human Resources Division | (301) 763-4748 |  Last Revised: April 08, 2013