Federal Benefits Information

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Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI).  FEGLI provides group term life insurance. It consists of Basic life insurance coverage and three options. You are automatically covered by Basic life insurance. 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. You pay the full cost of Optional insurance, and the cost depends on your age.  For more info: http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/index.asp.

The government subsidizes the cost of commuting for employees who routinely commute to work using public transportation, including the cost of busses and vanpools

Flexible Spending Accounts for Federal Employees (FSAFEDS).  A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-favored program that allows employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars. By using pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses, an FSA gives you an immediate discount on these expenses that equals the taxes you would otherwise pay on that money.  For more info: https://www.fsafeds.com/fsafeds/SummaryofBenefits.asp#WhatIsFSA.


The Corps of Engineers has an incentive program to encourage high productivity by acknowledging superior performance.  The recognition may be cash awards, special salary increases for performance, time-off awards for performance, and cash awards for suggestions.

Employees injured on the job are entitled to medical care.  If a disabling, traumatic, job-related injury is sustained, employees may receive their regular pay for a period of time.  If still disabled, they are entitled to disability compensation.

Employees earn approximately 13 days of sick leave per year, which do not expire.  Vacation is earned on a progressive schedule:  approximately 13 days per year for the first 3 years of employment, approximately 20 days per year for the next 12 years of employment, and approximately 26 days per year after 15 years employment. Employees may roll over up to 240 hours of vacation time. Federal employees also get 10 paid holidays each year.

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).  The government pays an average of 72% of employees’ health insurance premiums.  The employee’s portion of premiums can be deducted automatically from pre-tax wages, which reduces the amount of tax you pay.  You can choose between different types of insurance such as Fee-for-Service (with the option of a Preferred Provider Organization), Health Maintenance Organization, Point-of-Service plans, Consumer-Driven plans, or High Deductible Health Plans. There are numerous providers in these categories to choose from.  Long Term Care Insurance as well as supplemental dental and vision insurance are also available at reduced rates.  For more info: http://www.opm.gov/insure/07/guides/70-01/ or www.opm.gov/insure/health.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three components are: Social Security Benefits, Basic Benefit Plan, and the Thrift Savings Plan.  You pay normal Social Security taxes and a small contribution to the Basic Benefit Plan. The Basic plan essentially pays an annuity equal to 1% of the average of your highest 3 years salary, per year of service (e.g. if you retire with 30 years of service, you receive 30% of your highest salary per year) from the Basic plan.  In addition, the government puts an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period into your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account, similar to a 401(k) account. You may make tax-deferred contributions to the TSP up to 15% of your salary and a portion (up to 4%) is matched by the Government.  The three components of FERS work together to give you a strong financial foundation for your retirement years.   For more info: http://www.opm.gov/retire/index.htm or http://www.tsp.gov/.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, offers three different work schedules to most employees.  The basic work schedule is 8 hours per day, five days per week.  The most popular schedule is the Alternative Work Schedule, on which employees work 9 hours per day for eight days during a 2 week pay period, one 8-hour day, and get one day off every two weeks (e.g. week 1: M-Th 9 hrs/day, F: 8 hrs; week 2: M-Th 9 hrs/day, F: day off).  The third work schedule is even more flexible, allowing employees to start and end their work day at different times and earn credit hours that can be taken like vacation time.

The normal career progression for engineers at the Corps of Engineers starts with a Co-Op position, working either part-time throughout the year or, more commonly, full-time during one semester per year.  Upon graduation, you may be offered a position as a Department of the Army Intern.  Internships normally last 2 years, starting at the GS-7 level with annual promotions based upon good performance, ending at grade GS-11.  Interns potentially start at GS-09 if they have a master’s degree.  Upon graduation from the intern program, promotion opportunities are competitive.  Most engineers reach the GS-12 level within a few years of graduating from the intern program. 

Many opportunities for advancement exist in the Corps for employees who show the initiative, ability, and willingness to accept the responsibility of higher level positions. Advancement is competitive and based on performance and merit. Mobility within the Corps leads to additional advancement opportunities across organizational lines.


Salaries are comparable to private industry in the area. District employees paid under the General Schedule are paid the basic Federal salary rate, as well as a locality adjustment. Trades and labor positions are paid under various wage schedules based on the Department of Labor's wage area structure. Certain positions, primarily engineers, are paid from a special rate schedule.