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Heading: Working for the Great Outdoors.
Benefits (header)

Forest Service employees enjoy a flexible range of benefits in working for the federal government. Benefits are available to permanent employees and some temporary/term employees. Forest Service benefits are designed to mesh with the lives of our diverse national workforce in a flexible system that allows you to match benefit choices to needs.

One of the more attractive key benefits of federal employment is Federal Health Insurance. With the high cost of healthcare today, this is among the most valued benefits of federal employment. Key features of the federal health insurance available to all permanent (and some temporary/term) appointments include:

  • No medical examination to disqualify you because of a 'pre-existing' condition!
  • No waiting periods!
  • Choose from a vast number of policies available!
  • Choose from a variety of types of plans (Fee-for-Service, PPOs, HMOs, etc.)!
  • The goverment pays up to 75% of the total cost on employee premiums!
  • Employee premiums can be easily done through automatic payroll deduction!
  • Change plans or options during annual Open Season without restrictions!

Click below on any of the topics for more information

Health Insurance
Leave Policy
Family Friendly Policies

Employee Assistance Programs
Subsidized Transportation
Tuition Reimbursement
Life Insurance
Liability Insurance
Long-Term Care
Wellness Program
Worker's Compensation

Health Insurance
Forest Service employees can enroll in health insurance coverage for themselves and their families at reasonable rates. They enjoy one of the widest selections of plans in the country. Hundreds of plans participate in the health insurance program. Employees can choose among fee-for-service plans, health maintenance organizations, and point-of-service plans. There is an annual open season during which employees can change their enrollment. Unlike a growing number of private sector health benefits programs, Forest Service employees can continue their health insurance coverage into retirement with a full government contribution. Most enrollees pay only one-fourth of the health benefits premium.

Forest Service employees are entitled to 10 paid holidays each year.

Leave Policy
Sick leave and annual (vacation) leave policies are generous. Forest Service employees earn 13 days of sick leave each year. There is no ceiling on the amount that may be carried over from year to year. Annual leave accrued in the first year (13 days) exceeds the standard of 2 weeks (10 days) in the private sector. Employees earn additional annual leave as their tenure with the Federal government increases, up to a maximum of 26 days per year.

Family Friendly Policies
The Forest Service is a leader in providing family-oriented leave policies and flexi-time/telecommuting arrangements!

  • Alternative Work Schedules
    Allows employees to work several types of workweeks other than traditional 8 hours per day/40 hours per week. Hours per day and starting/ending times each day may vary and, in some cases, employees may be permitted to work fewer than 10 days in a 2-week period.

  • Leave Sharing Programs
    Allows coworkers to voluntarily transfer some of their annual (vacation) leave to specific coworkers or to a leave bank to assist coworkers in dealing with a personal or family medical emergency.

  • Telecommuting
    Subject to supervisory discretion, dependent on the type of job, this allows employees to work at home or at another approved location away from the regular office.

  • Part-Time Employment and Job Sharing
    Flexibilities are available with federal employment that may help balance an employee's work and family responsibilities.

  • Family and Medical Leave Act
    Ensures that up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid family and medical leave are available on a gender-neutral basis and mandates job security for employees who take such leave.

  • Paid Leave
    For family care and related purposes – sick leave can be used to care for family members, to arrange for or attend funeral services of family members, and for absences related to adopting a child. Federal employees can receive additional paid leave to serve as bone marrow or organ donors.

  • Childcare Services
    One-site child development centers – as well as childcare and elder care referral services are provided in certain locations.

Employee Assistance Programs
These programs provide a variety of confidential services, including counseling and referrals, to employees who are experience personal problems such as work and family pressures, substance abuse, and financial problems which can adversely affect performance, reliability, and personal health.

Subsidized Transporation
The Forest Service may pay for part of employee's commuting costs to encourage the use of public transportation.

Tuition Reimbursement
Forest Service may pay for training and education to improve an employee's performance of his or her official duties. With this authority, the Forest Service may pay all or part of the necessary expenses of training, including the costs of college tuition.


  • Federal Employees Retirement Systems (FERS)
    An outstanding 3-tiered plan to provide secure retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for employees and their dependents. In addition to Social Security benefits as a base, FERS offer both an annuity that grows with length of service and a tax-deferred savings plan called the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Employees pay less than 1 percent of salary to quality for the annuity and are fully vested after 5 years of service and, for disability benefits, after just 18 months.

  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
    Allows employees to save up to 12 percent of salary for retirement. The Forest Service contributes 1 percent of salary to employees who do not contribute and will match up to another 4 percent of savings for employees who do contribute. Because the savings plan is tax-deferred, no income tax is due on either the employee's contributions or the government matching funds, or the earnings on those amounts, until retirement. Employees can choose to invest in any of five funds, or to spread investments across the five funds: a government securities fund, a bond fund, and three stock funds, all professional and securely managed by an independent government agency, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. For more specific information on TSP investments for consideration in your portfolio, click here

Life Insurance
Most full-time and part-time employees are automatically enrolled in basic life insurance equal to their salary, rounded to the next $1000, plus $2000. No physical is required – employees do not have to prove insurability. The Forest Service pays one-third of the cost of this group term insurance. Basic coverage includes double benefits for accidental death and benefits for loss of limb(s) or eyesight. Employees can also purchase optional insurance at their own expense. Optional coverage includes additional insurance on the employee's life, as well as coverage for the employee's spouse and eligible children, if any.

  • Accelerated death benefits are available to terminally ill enrollees so that they can receive life insurance proceeds while they are living.

  • Many large organizations are cutting life insurance benefits to retirees. This is not true in the Federal government, which allows life insurance to be continued into retirement. It can also be converted to private coverage upon termination, without proof of insurability.

  • In addition to offering the life insurance program, federal agencies can pay up to $10,000 to the personal representatives of employees who die for injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Liability Insurance
A recently enacted law provides Federal agencies with the option of using available funds to reimburse law enforcement officers and managers for up to one-half of the cost of professional liability insurance, protecting them from potential liability and attorneys' fees for actions arising out of the conduct of official duties.

Long-Term Care
LTC policies will be available in the future at below market rates.

Wellness Program
Some Forest Service locations make funds available to support employee membership in private sector heath club/fitness programs.

Workers Compensation
Very generous coverage if you are injured on the job as a federal employee.

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