NFFE Applauds Reintroduction of Bipartisan Federal Retirement Fairness Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
October 23, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) praises the reintroduction of the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, legislation that would allow former seasonal and temporary federal employees the option to ‘buy-back’ retirement contributions to retire on time. These seasonal or temporary employees include wildland firefighters during fire season, park rangers during tourist season, civilian personnel to assist the military during special operations, staff for programs and agencies during transitions, and so on.
In many cases, these temporary workers become permanent, full-time federal employees, often with several years of service to their name, but with no way of counting that time toward retirement. Under the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, these workers could count their time as a seasonal or temporary employee, paying the normal retirement contributions plus interest back to the government. Because the employee is paying for this time to count towards their retirement, the burden to the taxpayer is minimal.
Federal employees that began their career as temporary employees are not able to contribute the requisite number of years to draw full retirement benefits after 30 years of service. These dedicated workers then face a choice: leave the federal service without full retirement benefits or work longer than their peers to obtain their full retirement benefits. For workers in physically demanding or dangerous jobs, this is a choice between two bad options: Retire without the security you thought you would have, or put your health and safety at risk by working a few years longer than the rest of your peers.
“Seasonal and temporary federal employees who answer the call of duty deserve the same level of deference as the permanent employees they work with,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “It is unconscionable to ignore temporary or seasonal labor upon becoming permanent employees. Given that many of these employees risk their lives and health working in dangerous jobs at agencies such as DoD and the federal land management agencies, to deny counting that time is akin to creating a second class of employee. Not only will this legislation level the playing field for temporary employees, it will also aid in the recruitment and retention of experienced federal workers to full-time positions. Thank you to Representatives Kilmer, Connolly, Bacon, and Valadao for their leadership on this important issue.”