Does a federal employee have to contribute to FERS?

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I am going back to the federal government for much, much lower pay than expected. On top of that, the FERS contribution is 4.1% of my base pay. Do I have to contribute to FERS? The HRO person at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard said I can defer my FERS contributions, but will loose years of service calculated towards my annuity.

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Posted by (Questions: 2, Answers: 1)
Asked on March 5, 2019 6:43 pm
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I need further clarification. You say you are returning to federal service, are you retired and returning as a reemployed annuitant or just being rehired? If you are being rehired, it depends on the type of position you are offered whether you must pay into FERS or not. If it is a temporary or seasonal position, no FERS is permitted, otherwise most other hiring authorities require you to pay into FERS. It is not a voluntary election. If you are a reemployed annuitant, FERS contributions are mandatory even if the position is temporary. Regarding the contribution rate you will be required pay into FERS depends on how much previous service you have, if any. If you are a new hire or rehired and have less than 5 years of potentially creditable FERS service, then the contribution rate would be 4.1% for regular employees. There are three exclusions from FERS-FRAE coverage; 1) If on December 31, 2013, you were covered under FERS or FERS-RAE; 2) On December 31, 2013, you were performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS or FERS-RAE; or 3) On December 31, 2013, you were not covered under FERS or FERS-RAE and were not performing civilian service which is creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS or FERS-RAE, but as of December 31, 2013, had performed at least five years of civilian service creditable or poten┬Čtially creditable under FERS-RAE, including service creditable for CSRS and/or CSRS Offset.

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Answered on March 5, 2019 8:04 pm

Thank you for the information, Elaine. Yes, I am a rehire to NNSY with only working there for a year prior (2009). I will be going back to them as a permanent employee (after my three-year probationary period). When I was talking to there “HR” person, she did not seem very confident and said that the determination of the FERS contribution mandate would be determined after I start there. However; through a NAVFAC job offer I received prior, their HR person was telling me different for the same position and everything (just different duty station). It all comes down to whether I can pay $6500 in health premiums and pay $3000 into FERS per year in making my decision to leave my natural gas private sector job to go back to the government. I will make about $35K more in the private sector, but I don’t have that “cant be fired” protection after three years with the government..

( at March 20, 2019 5:59 pm)
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kelly, obviously, this is a decision only you and yours can make. When considering the federal position, even with having to pay 4.1% into the retirement fund, this will guarantee you a retirement for life based on length of service x high-3 average salary multiplied by either 1% or 1.1% depending on your age and years of service at retirement. In addition, you are also eligible for 1% of your base pay being deposited into your TSP and should you decide to invest, matching dollar for dollar for the first 3% and $.50 on the dollar for the next 2%. And just for your information, contrary to popular belief, you can be fired from the federal government, even after your 3-year probationary period.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 399)
Answered on March 20, 2019 6:43 pm