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Marine Corps Installations Command - Pacific

 

Marine Corps Installations Command - Pacific

Civilian Human Resources Office

Okinawa, Japan
U.S. Employee - Labor Relations and Benefits

US Employee Labor Relations and Benefits

Benefits

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has Government-wide responsibility and oversight for Federal benefits administration.

As a Federal employee, the benefits available to you represent a significant part of your compensation package. They may provide important insurance coverage to protect you and your family and, in some cases, offer tax advantages that reduce the burden in paying for some health products and services, or dependent or elder care services.

In addition to your Civil Service or Federal Employees Retirement System benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan, the Federal government offers five benefits programs to eligible employees. The five programs are:

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) supplies 24 hour a day, 365 days a year assistance from a licensed professional counselor to all employees and their immediate families through the Federal Occupational Health organization.

 

Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS)
EBIS is a secure web site that provides current civilian employees access to general and personal benefits information, the ability to receive retirement estimates, and enroll or make changes electronically for health and life insurance and the Thrift Savings Plan.

Questions pertaining to employee benefits and insurance programs should be referred to the Navy Civilian Benefits Center.  Please contact the Benefits Line at 888-320-2917 between 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. The TTY is 866-359-5277.You may also email your questions to navybenefits@navy.mil.

 

Family Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles most Federal employees up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid leave, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), during a twelve (12) month period.

 

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
The Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004 provided the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the opportunity to establish arrangements under which supplemental dental and vision benefits are made available to Federal employees, retirees, and their dependents.

 

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program
The Federal Employees’ Group Life (FEGLI) Program became effective on August 28, 1954 and is a Term Insurance program. Managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the program is governed under 5 Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR), Part 870, offering eligible employees several choices in selecting the level of life insurance that is right for their individual needs with low group rates and the convenience of payment through payroll deduction.

 

Federal Long Term Care Insurance
The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), a benefit authorized by Congress in September 2000 to help federal employees, including military, defray the rising costs of long term care, helps pay for services such as home care, nursing home care, or assisted living facilities for people no longer able to perform the normal daily activities of living because of chronic mental or physical conditions.

 

Flexible Spending Accounts
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-favored program offered by employers that allows their employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

 

Injury Compensation
All civilian employees are covered under The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). Employees are provided compensation benefits for disability due to personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty or due to employment-related disease. The FECA also provides for the payment of benefits to dependents if the injury or disease causes the employee's death.

 

The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program
The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) is a program that permits Federal civilian employees to donate annual leave to other Federal civilian employees who are experiencing personal medical or family medical emergencies. An employee who has a personal medical or family medical emergency that is likely to require the employee's absence from duty for at least 24 hours in a non-pay status, may apply to receive transferred annual leave from other employees with the concurrence of the respective management officials.

 

Your Leave
Leave earned by Federal employees’ compares very favorably with that earned with those employees within the private sector. The two main types of leave are Annual Leave and Sick Leave.

 

Foreign Area Allowances

Overview

Authorization and payment of overseas allowances and differential is governed by the provisions of the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR)(Government Civilians/Foreign Areas) and Department of Defense Instruction 1400.25, Volume 1250. Overseas Allowances and differentials (except post allowance) are not automatic salary supplements, nor are they entitlements. They are specifically intended to be recruitment incentives for U.S. citizen employees living in the United States to accept Federal employment in a foreign area. If a person is already living in a foreign area, the inducement is normally unnecessary. Under limited circumstances, an employee hired outside of the United States may become eligible for allowances. Selectees should be advised of their eligibility for allowances at the time an offer is made. Following is a brief description of some the allowances you may receive during your tour of duty in a foreign area. The Standard Form (SF) – 1190, Application for Foreign Allowances, Grant, and Report, and perspective worksheets are used to apply for foreign area allowances.


Living Quarters Allowance (LQA)

The LQA is provided to eligible employees for leased quarters in lieu of Government provided housing and is intended to cover the average cost of rent, utilities and other allowable expenses. A maximum LQA is established for each post abroad based on the employee’s grade, quarter's group and family size. Reimbursement of LQA expenses will not exceed the authorized annual cost of rent and utilities or the maximum rate set by the Department of State, whichever is the lesser amount. LQA is non taxable.


Payment of LQA

LQA payment is reflected bi-weekly on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement as nontaxable income. LQA is computed by dividing the authorized annual expenses by 365 days (366 in a leap year) to obtain a daily rate. The daily rate is then multiplied by 14 to obtain the bi-weekly rate. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) makes payments to employees in US dollars, using the authorized foreign currency expenses and then converting the amount to US dollars using an exchange rate provided to their office. DFAS automatically adjusts LQA payments each pay period when there are changes in Department of State maximum rates or foreign currency conversion rates. For personally owned quarters, the rental portion (10 percent of the purchase price) of the LQA is converted to US dollars using the exchange rate that was in effect on the date of purchase. Therefore, the biweekly amounts for the rental portion will not normally fluctuate unless there is a change to the maximum rate authorized.


Reporting Adjustments to your LQA

Employees are responsible for reporting any changes that may affect their allowance authorization. Below are some examples that affect an employee's allowances and should be reported by submitting an SF-1190 through CHRO as soon as possible after the event occurs to avoid any under/overpayments.

1.     change in marital status (i.e. marriage/divorce/separation/death of spouse)

2.     change in the number of family members residing at post

3.     birth or death of a child

4.     legal adoption or obtaining legal custody/guardianship of a child

5.     child reaches age 21

6.     change in residence quarters

7.     letting or subletting of quarters

8.     sharing of LQA expenses

9.     reaching 10-year eligibility for rental portion for homeowners

 

Post Allowance (PA)

The authorization and payment of post allowance is governed by the provisions of Chapter 200 of the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR). Post allowance is a cost-of-living allowance granted to full-time employees officially stationed at a post in a foreign area where the cost of living, exclusive of quarters costs, is substantially higher than in Washington, D.C. Part-time, intermittent, and U.S. family member winter/summer hire employees are not eligible for post allowance. The post allowance is paid to eligible full-time employees even though they may not be eligible for LQA, post differential or other allowances. Post allowance is non taxable income.

When married couple employees without family members are both eligible for the post allowance, each may be granted the post allowance in Section 229 for one person. When married couple employees with family members are both eligible for the post allowance, one employee spouse, at his/her option, may receive the post allowance for family members. The other employee may be granted the post allowance for one person only. Civilian employees who are spouses of military members receiving a cost of living allowance (COLA) at the "with family" rate will be granted the post allowance for the "without family" rate for one person only.

The post allowance rate is determined by the post classification of the employee’s post, his/her salary, family size, and the applicable annual rate prescribed in Section 229.1 of the DSSR. Your personnel center representative should be able to advise you if a post allowance is currently authorized at your post of assignment. If a post allowance is authorized and you are currently a full-time employee not receiving a post allowance, you may submit a completed SF-1190, Foreign Allowances Application, Grant, and Report, through CHRO initiate your post allowance. Completion of the SF-1190 provides the necessary information to determine the correct amount of post allowances based on family members residing at the post. However, if you are married to a civilian employee who is currently claiming you for post allowance, then your civilian spouse must concurrently make an adjustment to his/her post allowance authorization to delete you as a family member as there can be no duplication of benefits. 

Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance (TQSA)

The purpose of TQSA is to assist with temporary lodging, meals, laundry and dry cleaning in a foreign area when an employee first arrives at a new post and permanent quarters are not yet available, or when an employee is getting ready to depart post permanently and must vacate residential quarters. An employee cannot receive the post (cost of living) allowance when receiving the TQSA. An employee may receive TQSA and LQA at the same time when departing post only with agency permission for unusual circumstances described at DSSR 124.1 and DSSR 132.41a.

For further information on TQSA, go to Section 120 of the DSSR