Help negotiating a Federal position

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Windylotus
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Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm

Greetings BH community,

My wife was officially offered a Federal job position with Veterans Affairs today. She will be starting at a Step 1 of the GS scale that she is being offered. She has not yet signed and returned the offer letter yet.

She has a 403(B) with her current employer and a 401(B) service plan which her employer contributes $1,350 a year towards (employers can only contribute to the 401(A) plan). The next contribution to the 401(A) from her employer will happen mid-April and put the account at about $6K. The one caveat is, for her to be 100% vested in the 401(A) plan, she needs five years of work. Next November 2019 will be her five year anniversary.

So essentially, her taking this new VA job, she will loose $6K. Not a crazy amount but that's $6K in a tax deferred space she can never get back.

Is this even worth trying to negotiate anything over? Possibly a couple steps up on the GS scale? Possibly full vacation time benefits from the get-go? Does anyone have experience negotiating for a federal position? Thank you all for your thoughts.

~Windy~

retiredjg
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by retiredjg » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:12 pm

There may be some exceptions for high level jobs and/or jobs that are difficult to fill, but the run of the mill fed government job salary is usually not negotiable. If you are coming in from outside the government, what they offer is what you get. They don't look at what you offer - the salary is tied to the job, not to you or your unique qualifications.

My one "negotiation" with the fed govt was for my first job. I had a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in subjects related to the job and the starting salary seemed pretty small to me. I was told "this is what this job offers".

GS-5 step 1 and no career ladder. Wow! :D

But I wanted the job and it did finally work out OK in the later years.

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Elric
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Elric » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:20 pm

I haven't worked for the Feds, but I've worked with many and I've applied for a Federal position and got to the 2nd interview stage. The Feds have little flexibility (I doubt you can negotiate vacation, for example), but it's my understanding that she CAN enter at a step above 1, so that's something that may be open to negotiation. You can look up the Federal pay scale, including steps, and determine what might be reasonable to ask for. But she has to also build a case that her quals are above entry level for that GS level.
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Nestegg_User
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:34 pm

OP

for fed jobs, leave is non- negotiable....it's tied to years of service (4hrs PP to 6 hrs to eventually 8 hrs PP after 15 years....) but can be banked to 240 hours carry over.

there can be some "wiggle room" for getting above step one, but it takes some real work by the super and HR and even then can not work.... usually only for "hard to fill" positions with unique skill sets (I've seen it done, but only for rare technical positions, not normal fills). {don't count on it as it's a very difficult case to get made)

Some technical positions can be filled at slightly higher than step one ( usually step two only) but the applicant has to be rated and the position allowed to be filled higher.

{also, if VA and the position is medical, there's the commissioned corp... that could also include special pay, but typically start at lower O-2/O-3 level, but it has benefits just like the other uniformed services}
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

westie
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by westie » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:36 pm

can't hurt to ask but doubt you'll find any success, especially vacation time, that won't happen.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm

retiredjg, Elric, Nestegg_User,

Thank you for you comments. You have pretty much clarified my suspicions of trying to negotiate with Uncle Sam. It just irks me to know she's loosing $6K for nothing else than leaving eight months prior to vesting.

On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by miamivice » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm
On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!
Couple notes:

1. She will be paying into the pension. It is not 100% employer paid.

2. Fed health benefits are medicore, not great. First problem is there is a zillion of them. Second problem is that they all have premiums of $300 a month or more. There are some high deductible plans where I believe the employer contributes but it's really confusing to figure out which ones these are and what the cost is.

3. The TSP is great in terms of low cost and a nice variety of investment opportunities.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by rooms222 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:55 pm

There is some leeway on some items in Federal negotiations, such as vacation. Negotiation the federal offer is heavy on process and what to ask for in a correct way to see if it is possible. Asking people you know who work as Federal employees now is often helpful.

The top expert on this writes a column for Federal Times, the controlled circulation paper offered to qualifying federal employees. I work in non-Federal government, and read the two pages in the center of each issue about retirement and personnel issues from a Fed employee point of view. She should apply for a subscription once working.

For the current matter, I recommend you look at her website: http://igotthejob.net/index.php When I helped someone apply for a GS-13 job and get an offer, coming from the private sector, I used her book, which is linked on her website and is available for $10.99 in a kindle edition. I would peruse it and the website this weekend. The initial thought is, if they can just give me a step or two that would be cool, but there are other things to ask for that may be easier to accomplish.

Because several people are saying vacation (accelerated leave accrual) cannot be negotiated, I went back and checked my copy of the book, and it is listed as possible, but not for everyone. The book points out that you lose your leverage once you accept the offer and are generally locked into pay and benefits for a while. You can negotiate the potential for a review at 6 months. I am looking at Chapters 16 and 17 of the book. It has a specific list of what things can be negotiated,and then gives details and situations when it can be.
Last edited by rooms222 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

miamivice
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by miamivice » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:56 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm
Greetings BH community,

My wife was officially offered a Federal job position with Veterans Affairs today. She will be starting at a Step 1 of the GS scale that she is being offered. She has not yet signed and returned the offer letter yet.

She has a 403(B) with her current employer and a 401(B) service plan which her employer contributes $1,350 a year towards (employers can only contribute to the 401(A) plan). The next contribution to the 401(A) from her employer will happen mid-April and put the account at about $6K. The one caveat is, for her to be 100% vested in the 401(A) plan, she needs five years of work. Next November 2019 will be her five year anniversary.

So essentially, her taking this new VA job, she will loose $6K. Not a crazy amount but that's $6K in a tax deferred space she can never get back.

Is this even worth trying to negotiate anything over? Possibly a couple steps up on the GS scale? Possibly full vacation time benefits from the get-go? Does anyone have experience negotiating for a federal position? Thank you all for your thoughts.

~Windy~

Can she neogitate a 45 delay in start date, so she could get the $6k vested? At the pace the government works, I would think they would be ok with a 45 day delay to the start of her employment, especially since she has not signed the offer letter yet.

I don't believe that the Step levels are negotiatable. Everyone starts at Step 1.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:04 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm
Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm
On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!
Couple notes:

1. She will be paying into the pension. It is not 100% employer paid.

2. Fed health benefits are medicore, not great. First problem is there is a zillion of them. Second problem is that they all have premiums of $300 a month or more. There are some high deductible plans where I believe the employer contributes but it's really confusing to figure out which ones these are and what the cost is.

3. The TSP is great in terms of low cost and a nice variety of investment opportunities.
miamivice, yes I realize she will be paying into the pension. In fact I think it has increased from a .08 contribution to a 4.something? Still, a pension will be nice with SS and our investments in retirement.

Do you have any experience with the health benefit plans with the feds? What are good options/plans we should be looking out for? I didn't realize there are "zillions" of them available? I was under the impression that fed health benefits were very good, I may be mistaken?

bhsince87
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by bhsince87 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:25 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm
Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm
On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!


2. Fed health benefits are medicore, not great. First problem is there is a zillion of them. Second problem is that they all have premiums of $300 a month or more. There are some high deductible plans where I believe the employer contributes but it's really confusing to figure out which ones these are and what the cost is.
I disagree with this. I just retired from non-government work at age about 54. I'm toying with taking a government job in just for the health insurance!

Yes, it will cost about $4k per year. But after a certain period, it's guaranteed access for life!

Similar insurance on the ACA will cost us $28k per year, this year, and it's a roll of the dice whether it will even be available in future years.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

GmanJeff
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:46 pm

Some private sector employers offer equal or even superior benefits at lower cost while an individual is employed, but few offer to continue such coverage at their expense into an employee's retirement, extending to an employee's survivor. FEHB may be carried into retirement, with the government paying around 70% of the premiums forever. The specific insurers/HMOs available to federal employees vary with geography, but there are typically quite a variety to choose from. Over the course of a long retirement, the value of this retirement health care coverage can in many instances more than balance out what might otherwise appear to be a facially superior private sector compensation package. I do know people who have taken federal positions late in their working lives expressly to qualify for federal employee retiree health care coverage.

As to the OP's question regarding negotiating conditions of federal employment, grade levels are associated with positions, not with the individuals who occupy them, so if you apply for a specific position, you get the grade level associated with it. It may sometimes be possible to persuade the hiring authority that a particular candidate qualifies for a different position with a higher associated grade level, or for a higher grade level within a particular job series, but generally an applicant gets the grade associated with the position they applied for. Applicants also earn annual and sick leave according to a defined, non-negotiable schedule, and are expected to progress (be promoted) automatically along a career ladder at defined intervals, assuming performance at the Fully Successful or higher level. Some jobs are not within career ladders, and advancement requires competitive selection as vacancies occur, but incumbents can expect to receive step increases within the grade level they occupy. Within grades, advancement to higher salary steps is automatic, again assuming performance at the Fully Successful or higher level.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by ICMoney » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:53 pm

OP, I sent you a PM.

123
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by 123 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:03 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm
...So essentially, her taking this new VA job, she will loose $6K. Not a crazy amount but that's $6K in a tax deferred space she can never get back...
Little about federal positions are negotiable so it's pretty much a take it or leave it situation.

She can have the best of both world (maybe eventually) if she declines the current position offer and reapplies for a fed position after she is vested. If she declines the current job offer however there is no guarantee that there will ever be a second desirable offer for a fed position. Opportunities with the federal government can be erratically available and the competition and availability of alternate candidates for positions can vary widely.

You may want to look into the vesting provisions of the plan she is participating in. In some of these sorts of plan there are various ways of calculating elapsed periods of service that may differ from what a regular person might believe is a 5 years of employment requirement.
Last edited by 123 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by yangtui » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:04 pm

losing

Stratotanker
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Stratotanker » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:07 pm

OP, what occupation is this? If the job is at the Veterans Health Administration and provides direct patient care or services supporting the provision of direct patient care (as most series within the 0600 occupational group are), it'll be a Title 38 or Hybrid position so pay setting, leave accrual, probationary period etc. will be different from Title 5 positions (that most people are familiar with).

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by stan1 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:08 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm

My wife was officially offered a Federal job position with Veterans Affairs today. She will be starting at a Step 1 of the GS scale that she is being offered. She has not yet signed and returned the offer letter yet.
Is she a physician, attorney, or being hired as a member of the Senior Executive Service or another grade above a GS-15 level? That information is relevant.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by UpperNwGuy » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:16 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm
Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm
On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!
Couple notes:

1. She will be paying into the pension. It is not 100% employer paid.

2. Fed health benefits are medicore, not great. First problem is there is a zillion of them. Second problem is that they all have premiums of $300 a month or more. There are some high deductible plans where I believe the employer contributes but it's really confusing to figure out which ones these are and what the cost is.

3. The TSP is great in terms of low cost and a nice variety of investment opportunities.
Huh? The health benefits are fantastic! All my private sector friends are jealous. The premiums are quite reasonable. Yes, there are lots of choices, but the reality is that most Feds go with either Blue Cross or a few of the other larger plans.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:22 pm

yangtui wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:04 pm
losing
yangtui, do you have something edifying you can contribute to my question, or are you just trying to correct my grammatical errors?
stan1 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:08 pm
Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm

My wife was officially offered a Federal job position with Veterans Affairs today. She will be starting at a Step 1 of the GS scale that she is being offered. She has not yet signed and returned the offer letter yet.
Is she a physician, attorney, or being hired as a member of the Senior Executive Service or another grade above a GS-15 level? That information is relevant.
stan1, no this is mid-level GS position that is not in high demand.
Stratotanker wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:07 pm
OP, what occupation is this?
Medical Support Assistant

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by junior » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:36 pm

Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:04 pm
miamivice wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm
Windylotus wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm
On the flip-side of the coin, the fed health benefits are great, access to the TSP, and she will be building a pension for retirement!
Couple notes:

1. She will be paying into the pension. It is not 100% employer paid.

2. Fed health benefits are medicore, not great. First problem is there is a zillion of them. Second problem is that they all have premiums of $300 a month or more. There are some high deductible plans where I believe the employer contributes but it's really confusing to figure out which ones these are and what the cost is.

3. The TSP is great in terms of low cost and a nice variety of investment opportunities.
miamivice, yes I realize she will be paying into the pension. In fact I think it has increased from a .08 contribution to a 4.something? Still, a pension will be nice with SS and our investments in retirement.

Do you have any experience with the health benefit plans with the feds? What are good options/plans we should be looking out for? I didn't realize there are "zillions" of them available? I was under the impression that fed health benefits were very good, I may be mistaken?
They are good, disagree with the idea it is mediocre.
you get to choose between a lot of healh insurance offerings(not a bad thing) and you get to stay on the plan in retirement if you are on it 5 years before retirement.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:40 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:56 pm

Can she neogitate a 45 delay in start date, so she could get the $6k vested? At the pace the government works, I would think they would be ok with a 45 day delay to the start of her employment, especially since she has not signed the offer letter yet.

I don't believe that the Step levels are negotiatable. Everyone starts at Step 1.
DW is 8+ months away from vesting (November) not 45 days.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Stratotanker » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:47 pm

[quote=stan1 post_i
OP, what occupation is this?
[/quote]

Medical Support Assistant
[/quote]

Medical Support Assistants (0679) were the last to be converted to Hybrid from what I recall. As a Hybrid, the position is eligible for pay setting flexibilities but, unfortunately, Title 5 rules apply for leave accrual purposes. VA Handbook 5007 covers pay administration and just googling VA Hybrid positions will probably yield quite a bit of information to familiarize your wife with the whole system.

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MillennialFinance19
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by MillennialFinance19 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:38 pm

So many incorrect responses here, to no fault of anyone, since every agency is different and tracking inconsistencies is futile.

You CAN negotiate a step. I was offered a GS-11 step 1 for my first position and negotiated a step 8.

The factors that determine this are:

1) highly specialized field in which few people are qualified.

2) your ability to show that your current salary is greater than step 1, in which case you’re requesting a “match”.

3) the attitude and willingness of the HR professional to work with you. Some will while others are 100% against it because they started at step 1 and feel everyone should.

Good luck, hope this helps!

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:42 pm

Stratotanker wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:47 pm
Medical Support Assistants (0679) were the last to be converted to Hybrid from what I recall. As a Hybrid, the position is eligible for pay setting flexibilities but, unfortunately, Title 5 rules apply for leave accrual purposes. VA Handbook 5007 covers pay administration and just googling VA Hybrid positions will probably yield quite a bit of information to familiarize your wife with the whole system.
Strat, wow! Sounds like Latin to me, but I will look into it. Thank you for the recommended information to research. Yes, on DW's offer letter it states, GS-0679. I'm not familiar with "hybrid positions" or "pay setting flexibilities". Sounds like we have some digging to do.

Small Savanna
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Small Savanna » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:57 pm

Regarding federal health benefits, they aren't that great while you're employed. However, there is one great feature - if you've been enrolled for at least five years and then retire from federal service, you can take them into retirement at the same subsidized premium, meaning no worries about what to do until medicare kicks in, and possibly a savings on medicare part B premiums when you do hit 65.

Stratotanker
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Stratotanker » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:20 pm

Yes, HR in the federal service seems to be designed to confuse and frustrate. The challenge is also finding the most current publication as each VA handbook has been revised about a million times, with obsolete versions still floating around the net. You may first want to take a look at Part II, Appendix U of VA Handbook 5005 (Staffing) dated Jan 5 2018 (this is the best link I could find: https://www.va.gov/vapubs/viewPublicati ... 94&FType=2 ... hoping it works), which references the "utilization of pay setting flexibilities" specifically for 0679s:
"Once a selection is made the Supervisor will consult with Human Resources and submit supporting documentation for utilization of pay setting flexibilities (if applicable) found in VA Handbook 5007, Part II, Chapters 2, 3, and 4, pertaining to hybrid title 38."
VA Handbook 5007 is massive and entirely dedicated to Pay Administration so some things will apply and some won't (based on both the occupation and your wife's background). Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but going into this armed with more information can't hurt!

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Slacker » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:45 pm

You don't always have to come in as a Step 1. I started as a GS-7 Step 10.

Compared to my prior private employer health insurance, the premiums are higher and coverage not quite as good... But I wouldn't have been able to take my insurance into retirement with the private employer I previously had. This is comparing non- high deductible plans.

Right now we use a high deductible plan which is $56 every two weeks for one person or something like $125 every two weeks for a couple. Every month, the govt puts $75 into your hsa for a single (and I believe $150 for couple/family). The plan is just fine unless you have to contact someone (cust svc)... Then it becomes a little terrible.

Never heard of any way to negotiate vacation as that seems pretty set in stone. If you have prior military service, you can get credits towards qualifying for more vacation time sooner (ex: you served 4yrs active duty so now you start federal service accruing 6hrs/pay period instead of 4hrs).

Depending on your agency, telework a few days a week may be an option.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by chemocean » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:24 pm

I know there is some negotiation in the step in which you start. You can ask for a higher step, but VA seems to be more traditional. Her justification for a higher starting step should be based on civil service protocols so that the supervisor is not seen as being unfair in the eyes of his/her other employees.
Steps increase are based on experience at the same level of responsibility (grade.). If her present job is similar to the federal job, you should be able to justify a higher step based on her years of experience in the private sector in that position. One year to advance to steps 2, 3, and 4, two years to advance to steps 5, 6 and 7, and three years to advance to steps , 8, 9 and 10. So after 18 years in the same position with no promotion, she will be a step 10.
If her new position has a higher level of responsibility than her current position, you might use the tact of using the federal system of promotion to negotiate a higher starting step. In a promotion within the federal government, you begin by figuring your salary at two steps higher than your current step in your present grade. Then use that higher + 2 step salary in your present grade to see what step you would be fall in your new higher grade. Your starting step in your new position is the step whose salary is equal or greater than the higher + 2 step salary in your present grade . You might try to use her present private sector salary using the federal system to justify a higher starting step.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Jeep4Life » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:16 am

OP, Slacker and the other poster are correct, have the DW show her current paystubs to verify which step she should be able to achieve for a pay-match situation. Like others have mentioned, vacation time is non-negotiable, strictly limited to time in service and time in grade requirements. BTW, recently retired Civil Servant, 33 years on the job at NASA.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by bhsince87 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:36 am

Small Savanna wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:57 pm
Regarding federal health benefits, they aren't that great while you're employed. However, there is one great feature - if you've been enrolled for at least five years and then retire from federal service, you can take them into retirement at the same subsidized premium, meaning no worries about what to do until medicare kicks in, and possibly a savings on medicare part B premiums when you do hit 65.
And again, I'll say what do you mean the health benefits aren't great while you're employed?

I don't think you understand what's available "in the real world".

IMO, they are equal or better to most anything you'll find outside of Federal employment. And much more flexible depending on location. And MUCH less expensive.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:34 am

My H was a 45 year fed employee. We have been thrilled with his medical benefits while he was employed and since he’s been retired. Premiums are partly paid by the fed govt—from the time he started until the rest of his and my life.

There are a nice variety of policies to choose among every year and you get a summary of the available options during open season. H was on HMO Kaiser when he was single and has been on PPO BCBS since we’ve been married. Premium portion we pay have been reasonable and never had the crazy increases I’ve read/heard others mention.

This said, I’m not sure exactly what is and isn’t negotiable for new employees. Our relative who was hired by the fed govt had 2 summers of internships—one working for a professor and one working for NASA. Because they wanted him, they offered him an extra 2 years of experience credit for those summers in determining his seniority as an EE. They also let him weigh in on which cities he wanted to travel to for projects he would manage and he got his top picks.

After he had been working for 18-24 months, they encouraged him to apply for another position to get a raise and promotion; he got both with the new position. They have a program to help subsidize any further degrees he wants but so far he hasn’t been interested.

Sorry not to have direct info about negotiating other than the above. His security clearance took over a year, so he was offered a job in Feb and didn’t get to start until the following summer 16+ months later.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by rgs92 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:44 am

I would take the job w/o any negotiations or demands and start ASAP.
A federal job is a big prize just for the job security alone. And the benefits are icing on the cake.
I would kiss the ground if I was offered a gov't job.

3504PIR
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by 3504PIR » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:13 am

I started as a Fed in 2008 as a 13. I was able to negotiate starting as a step 3 but know others who stared as step 10 based on showing experience and expertise in their field during the negotiation process. It really comes down to the hiring organization and what they are willing to do, which usually isn’t much as most hiring officials know less about the process than the applicant.

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Yooper16 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:31 am

I'm a bit baffled by the comments that fed health benefits aren't that great--- ours is $900 per year self plus one deductible and $4500 MOP for about $330 per month and is a fee for service, no referrel product.

If you want to check the benefits-- you can go to OPM website and click around until you get to the health insurance part. No password is needed and you can have total access to the plans, costs, etc.

We are just starting Medicare and ours and some of the insurances have a no deductible, no copay, no co-insurance aspect with a medical reimbursement account if you also take part B.

In 43 years, of work and retirement absolutely not a complaint about the insurances.

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midareff
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by midareff » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:37 am

I had to take what was offered when I joined government 37 years ago. That also meant I took the 13 yearly holidays off, the two weeks vacation time and the ten sick days annually, all of which could be banked. It also meant I took the state pension system they paid for as well as the free health care insurance. At the time (now changed) it also meant I signed on for two annual cola's and a step pay system. I was broke as hell for about three years and things gradually got better, promotions happened, and happened... retired 4/2012.

With government work there is a larger picture to be viewed including job security that is unmatched in the private sector.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:55 am

Slacker wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:45 pm
Right now we use a high deductible plan which is $56 every two weeks for one person or something like $125 every two weeks for a couple. Every month, the govt puts $75 into your hsa for a single (and I believe $150 for couple/family).
Slacker, does this mean with all the different plan choices, there are some options to have a high deductible plan with the availability to have an HSA? This was one area DW and I were bummed about losing our HSA at her current employer. Her current employer also contributes $1,400 per year to the plan which is nice. This would have been the first year that we were on track to max the family plan limit of $7k.

If the govt contributes $150 per month for couple/family that would be a $1,800 yearly contribution which would be great!

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:04 am

Yooper16 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:37 am
In 43 years, of work and retirement absolutely not a complaint about the insurances.
Yooper16, I agree that the insurance and benefits are quite reasonable. We are currently on a high deductible health plan now so, anything should be an improvement. Thanks for reaching out.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:13 am

midareff wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:37 am
With government work there is a larger picture to be viewed including job security that is unmatched in the private sector.
midareff, I completely agree. We are trying to have good foresight for the future with our employment. We are not spring chickens anymore (ages 44/43) and the reality of age discrimination in the privet sector is an ever real thing. Just read some of the recent threads here, "lost my job at age 50, now what?" Thank you for reaching out and sharing your career experience with the govt.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:14 am

rgs92 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:44 am
I would take the job w/o any negotiations or demands and start ASAP.
A federal job is a big prize just for the job security alone. And the benefits are icing on the cake.
I would kiss the ground if I was offered a gov't job.
rgs92, I think ultimately, this is what we're going to do.Thanks

ICMoney
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by ICMoney » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:26 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:55 am
Slacker wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:45 pm
Right now we use a high deductible plan which is $56 every two weeks for one person or something like $125 every two weeks for a couple. Every month, the govt puts $75 into your hsa for a single (and I believe $150 for couple/family).
Slacker, does this mean with all the different plan choices, there are some options to have a high deductible plan with the availability to have an HSA? This was one area DW and I were bummed about losing our HSA at her current employer. Her current employer also contributes $1,400 per year to the plan which is nice. This would have been the first year that we were on track to max the family plan limit of $7k.

If the govt contributes $150 per month for couple/family that would be a $1,800 yearly contribution which would be great!
This is correct, you can look at opm.gov to find FEHB plan info. Check out the GEHA HDHP with HSA, that tends to be a popular option. Federal HSAs are administered by HSA Bank. I think given that a HSA contribution is baked into the HDHP premium, the cost for the plans are quite reasonable.

Best, ICM

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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Slacker » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:00 am

Windylotus wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:13 am
midareff wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:37 am
With government work there is a larger picture to be viewed including job security that is unmatched in the private sector.
midareff, I completely agree. We are trying to have good foresight for the future with our employment. We are not spring chickens anymore (ages 44/43) and the reality of age discrimination in the privet sector is an ever real thing. Just read some of the recent threads here, "lost my job at age 50, now what?" Thank you for reaching out and sharing your career experience with the govt.
FYI - 40 and over is considered a protected class for age discrimination with Federal govt jobs, so you should be good to go there.

...now about that job security, just make sure you have a good emergency fund for the occasional government shutdown. I wouldn't expect any Boglehead to have problems with a shutdown, but many employees missed two paychecks in a row (and the back pay for some is still being sorted out, if I believe what I read from a news site).

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:19 pm

Slacker wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:00 am
FYI - 40 and over is considered a protected class for age discrimination with Federal govt jobs, so you should be good to go there.

...now about that job security, just make sure you have a good emergency fund for the occasional government shutdown. I wouldn't expect any Boglehead to have problems with a shutdown, but many employees missed two paychecks in a row (and the back pay for some is still being sorted out, if I believe what I read from a news site).
Slacker, Yes, an EM is very important and we are continuing to grow that. One nice thing we heard is, the VA here in our area has never been affected by a shutdown. They have remained open through all past shutdowns. That not to say it couldn't happen but gives us a little reassurance.

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Windylotus
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by Windylotus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:22 pm

ICMoney wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:26 am
This is correct, you can look at opm.gov to find FEHB plan info. Check out the GEHA HDHP with HSA, that tends to be a popular option. Federal HSAs are administered by HSA Bank. I think given that a HSA contribution is baked into the HDHP premium, the cost for the plans are quite reasonable.

Best, ICM
ICMoney, that's great news! I will look into opm.gov and familiarize myself with the available HDHP plans out there. Thanks

michaelingp
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Re: Help negotiating a Federal position

Post by michaelingp » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:46 pm

Having a large number of health insurance plans to choose from is a benefit, not a problem. A group called Consumers Checkbook puts out a booklet annually that does a very thorough analysis of all the plans for all family types (and health situations) and you can switch between plans once a year with no problems with pre-existing conditions. After you retire, you can re-assess and pick a plan that suits your new situation better. Suppose you have specific expenses. No problem, just switch to a plan with generous coverage. Your doctor doesn't participate in your plan? No problem, just switch to the plan they do participate in.

When I worked for the government I had many friends in private industry who were contractors, and for the most part they had only one plan to choose (take it or leave it), and when the contract went to a new company, they would be hired by the new company, but they would usually get a new health plan with different coverage, again take it or leave it. If the old plan covered a specific medical problem (or medication) their family had, and the new one didn't, too bad.

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