Federal Employees News Digest

Unions press for LEO equity

For years, federal employee unions and allied advocates have pressed to reform an unfairness built into careers in federal law enforcement retirement and benefits: some law enforcement feds get reasonable packages, while others do not.

Most federal law enforcement officers (LEOs) can retire after 20 years of service with enhanced retirement and benefits, due to the often dangerous and tough physical and mental demands of their work.

A few fed law enforcement personnel who were left out of this retirement scheme had that problem corrected, and were ultimately included in it by corrective congressional action—for example, the U.S. Secret Service and the federal Park Police.

But many other LEOs—who simply are not classified in the same way as LEOs who qualify for the more generous benefits—have waited in vain for years for the problem to be corrected.

Those excluded include many thousands of officers who work for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Police, the U.S. Mint, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) Police and other agencies. Also left out are the Federal Protective Service (FPS) who secure federal facilities.

So, here we go again, lobbying for change in 2021—and backers of reform are upping the ante. They invoke the increased stress of this last, extraordinary year of demands on fed first responders and law enforcement officers (LEOs). It’s been a year of continuing clashes at protests, the Jan. 6 violence against police at the Capitol, COVID injuries and deaths, as well as record-breaking fires and other natural disasters that put federal law enforcement at risk.

“NFFE is calling on all union members to contact their representatives in Congress to urge them to pass H.R. 962, The Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act,” the union urged this month. “NFFE is working tirelessly on Capitol Hill to push for this legislation to become law, but everyone’s support is needed for its passing.”

Many "officers are not provided a Federal Law Enforcement Officers Retirement Plan and are currently under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), which is not a law enforcement retirement system," NFFE added. 

Getting the bill passed would correct the situation for more than 30,000 feds, supporters say.

Additional federal and non-federal labor orgs pressing for members to contact Congress and gain passage include the American Federation of Government Employees, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the Fraternal Order of Police, among others. 

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2021 Digital Almanac

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