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Federal employment benefits are among the most comprehensive programs available anywhere. At EPA, our goal is to be considered by all as an "employer of choice." We are committed to paying people well and providing progressive incentives and excellent benefits.

Retirement Benefits

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.   As a federal employee, you are automatically enrolled to contribute 3% of your salary beginning your first pay period.  You may also elect to contribute a greater percentage of your salary to the TSP Plan and we will match your contributions up to 5% of your total salary.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

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.

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Health Benefits

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)

As a federal employee, you are eligible to elect FEHB coverage, unless your position is excluded by law or regulation.   You can choose from among Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan. No medical exam is required to enroll, and there is no waiting period. Your health benefits coverage may be carried over into retirement.  Your biweekly contribution to health benefits varies with the plan you choose and you have an opportunity every year to change plans or enroll. The government pays part of the premiums.

View additional information about federal health care and insurance benefits.

Health Insurance Premiums Use Pre-Tax Dollars

You can use pre-tax dollars to pay health insurance premiums for your selected insurer through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Federal Employees Dental/Vision Program (FEDVIP)

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) provides comprehensive dental insurance at competitive group rates. There are four nationwide dental plans and three regional dental plans from which to choose. Nationwide plans provide benefits for eligible employees and their families living overseas.

FEDVIP offers dental benefits to eligible individuals. These dental plans provide a comprehensive range of services including orthodontia (for children under the age of 19), routine exams, cleaning, x-rays, bridges, and crowns.

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) provides comprehensive vision insurance at competitive group rates. There are three vision plans from which to choose.

FEDVIP offers vision benefits to eligible individuals. The vision plans feature comprehensive eye examinations and coverage for lenses, frames and contact lenses. Other benefits such as discounts on LASIK surgery may also be available. There are no pre-existing condition limitations and no waiting periods for vision services.

Medical Monitoring Programs

These provide periodic on-site screening for medical concerns such as high blood pressure, cancer and sickle cell anemia.

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Life Insurance/Long Term Care Insurance

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

As a federal employee, you may be eligible for FEGLI group term life insurance. Since FEGLI is term insurance, it does not build up any cash value or paid-up value. It consists of basic life insurance coverage and three options. In most cases, if you are a new federal employee, you are automatically covered by basic life insurance and your payroll office deducts premiums from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage. The cost of basic insurance is shared between you and the government. You pay 2/3 of the total cost and the government pays 1/3. Your age does not affect the cost of basic insurance.

In addition to the basic insurance, there are three forms of optional insurance you can elect. You must have basic insurance in order to elect any of the options. You have 60 days to decide on optional coverage. To determine if you are eligible for benefits, please read your offer letter carefully.

Unlike enrolling in the basic insurance plan, enrolling in any of the three options is not automatic. You must submit Standard Form 2817, Life Insurance Election (PDF). You pay the full cost of optional insurance, and the cost is contingent upon your age.

Long-Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP)

Long-term care insurance is NOT just for older people. Forty percent of the persons receiving long-term care are working adults between the ages of 18 and 64, with many of these people receiving it as they recover from an accident or crippling disease. The cost of the insurance is based on your age when you apply - the older you are when you apply, the higher the premiums. Certain medical conditions, or a combination of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage.

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Salaries and Incentives


Like other government agencies, most salaries in EPA are paid under the General Schedule. The grade level at which an individual enters a job depends on the specific position and the individual's qualifications. For positions classified in the engineering occupations - grades 5 through 12 - there are higher salary rates. Under the Federal Pay Comparability Act, salaries are adjusted annually.


EPA celebrates superior performance through various awards. Recognition may be additional pay, special salary increases, medals, etc.

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Employee Learning and Development / Educational Assistance

Employee Learning and Development

Employee learning and development are both encouraged and available in different forms within the Agency, whether in a classroom setting, mentoring, coaching, or attending conferences, as well as the most valuable ongoing development, the job itself. As you learn more about your work, you are increasing your knowledge, skills, and abilities and adding greater value to the overall goals of the Agency.

Student Loan Reimbursement

In some instances, EPA may offer highly or uniquely qualified candidates assistance in paying off their student loans. In exchange, these employees are required to commit to at least three years of employment. The benefit was designed to cover both existing loans and potential loans for future classes and degrees.

Tuition Assistance

You can get tuition assistance for courses, seminars and conferences that directly relate to your job or to the Agency's mission overall. If your studies last longer than 120 days, you must agree to stay with EPA or the federal government for three times the length of your classes.

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Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Holidays and Alternative Work Schedules (AWS)

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 (6 weeks) 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). 

Length of Service Full-time Employees Part-time Employees
Less than 3 years 4 hours/pay period 1 hour/20 hours worked
3 up to 15 years 6 hours/pay period 1 hour/13 hours worked
More than 15 years 8 hours/pay period 1 hour/10 hours worked

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.

Leave Sharing (Transfer)/Leave Bank

EPA employees may join and contribute to a voluntary leave bank. Members of the leave bank may receive annual leave if he/she experiences a personal or family emergency and has exhausted all of his/her paid leave. It also allows you to donate your leave to fellow employees with catastrophic leave demands.

Paid Holidays

Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103) establishes the following public holidays for Federal employees. Please note that most Federal employees work on a Monday through Friday schedule. For these employees, when a holiday falls on a nonworkday -- Saturday or Sunday -- the holiday usually is observed on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).

New Year’s Day January 1st
Martin Luther King’s Birthday 3rd Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday 3rd Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day July 4th
Labor Day 1st Monday in September
Columbus Day 2nd Monday in October
Veterans Day November 11th
Thanksgiving Day 4th Thursday in November
Christmas Day December 25th

Flexible Work Schedules

EPA continues along with other federal agencies in developing and implementing programs that allow you to tailor your work schedule with your personal needs and professional goals. Flexiplace is a relatively new program that offers some employees the opportunity to work at home temporarily or during a part of their workweek.

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Additional Benefits

Transit Subsidy

Transit subsidies are a financial incentive to encourage employees to use public transportation back and forth to work. You are entitled to the subsidy as long as you use public transportation (e.g., vanpools, commuter rail and/or buses) to commute to work.

The amount of the subsidy equals the actual amount paid for public transportation, not to exceed the monthly maximum amount.

Childcare Tuition Assistance

EPA has a Childcare Tuition Assistance Program. The program targets employees whose annual family income is $75,000 or lower and is available to all eligible employees on a first-come, first-served basis.

If employee’s Total Family Income is...

Then EPA Will Pay This Percentage of Employee’s Child Care Costs**

More than $75,000






Less than $36,000


**The award will be reduced by the amount of other state or local child care subsidies received. The employee is responsible for determining his or her income tax situation. IRS Publication 503 “Child and Dependent Care Expenses” (1.2MB, About PDF)is a helpful resource; employees may also wish to consult a tax advisor.
This table is subject to changes in Agency funding and may be adjusted. Appropriate notice will be made to all employees when any adjustments to the Agency subsidy occur.

If you qualify, complete both OPM Form 1643 (PDF)(278KB, About PDF) and OPM Form 1644 (PDF) (2.5MB, About PDF) and mail to:
Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA)
3333 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakeland, CO 80227

You can also phone the FEEA at 1-800-338-0755, 1-800-323-4140, or 303-933-7580. Learn more about the FEEA.

Quality of Work-Life Programs

These programs were developed with the knowledge that a well-balanced and stress-free person makes a happy and productive employee. We recognize the importance of providing you with the maximum opportunity to complete your work, in an environment that is sensitive to your personal needs and professional goals.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance program provides a helping hand for dealing with personal problems and stresses. This program offers confidential assistance with problems or concerns related to substance abuse.

Fitness Centers

Fitness Centers and Stress Labs are important components of the employee health program. These facilities provide an array of classes and workout equipment.

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