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OPM’s Human Resources Solutions organization can help your agency answer this critically important question.
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The Federal Government supports employee engagement in the community and home in a variety of ways, in order to foster a workforce that best meets the needs of the American public. As the nation's largest employer, by supporting Federal employees in balancing the responsibilities of work, family, and community, we also help create healthy communities for all citizens.
Dependent care programs and policies vary according to agency. Therefore, if you are looking for support with your dependent care needs, whether that be an adult dependent, a child or an elder, reach out to your agency’s work-life or dependent care coordinator. They will be able to connect you with valuable resources that will help you to effectively integrate your work responsibilities with those of your dependents. Examples of such resources often include childcare subsidies for lower income families, resource guides for finding quality childcare, worksite lactation support for new and expectant parents, and webinars and lunch and learns that educate employees on the navigating the path of caring for aging parents or relatives with special needs.
OPM encourages all agencies to expand the use of dependent care programs and other workplace flexibilities to best support employees who face both workplace responsibilities and the demands of caring for a loved one.
Child care can be extremely expensive, especially for lower income families, but without quality child care arrangements, working parents are hard-pressed to remain effective either at work or at home. Federal agencies, at their own discretion, can now use appropriated funds, including revolving funds otherwise available for salaries, to assist lower income employees with the costs of child care.
This Child Care Subsidy Program applies to employees whose children are under the age of 13, or disabled and under the age of 18, and are enrolled, or will be enrolled, in licensed family child care homes or center-based child care. The child care must be licensed and/or regulated by State and/or local authorities.
OPM issued final regulations (5 CFR Part 792) effective March 24, 2003 implementing the Child Care Subsidy Program legislation, entitled "Agency Use of Appropriated Funds for Child Care Costs for Lower Income Employees." The authority was first established as a pilot program by Congress in Public Law 106-58, sec. 643 (September 29, 1999) and was made permanent in Public Law 107-67, sec. 630 (November 12, 2001).
Further information is available in OPM's Guide for Implementing Child Care Legislation and the 2009 Child Care Subsidy Report.
As required by regulation, OPM issues an annual call for Child Care Subsidy data to all participating agencies or agency components at the beginning of each calendar year. The data are compiled and an information copy of the results is sent to Congress.
Complete your agency's annual Child Care Data Call.
The following is a list of Federal agencies or agency components that currently have a Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP). If your agency or agency component is not listed, then that agency or agency component does not have a CCSP. Please contact your agency or agency component's work life coordinator to find out what other options are available to you for child care services and/or child care assistance programs. If you do not know who your work life coordinator is you may use our Agency Points of Contact Search Tool to locate your work life coordinator.
Sykeethia StewartPhone: 202-402-8198Email: email@example.comDerek Fitzgerald (Back-up Support)Phone: 202-402-3431Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 202-564-0720 Email: email@example.com
Debra S. ArnoldPhone: 202-494-4991Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mika Cross (Back-up Support)Phone: 202-260-8075Email: email@example.com
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For families with infants, toddlers, and school-aged children, child care can be a real challenge whether it's finding programs, paying for care, juggling multiple and conflicting school schedules, or managing before-and after-school issues.
Many Federal agencies provide assistance to employees through multiple means, including on-site child care, resource and referral services, and the child care subsidy program. Many Federal employees also have access to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account program, which can be used for child care or camp.
Below are resources for Federal Work/Life coordinators and employees on child care.
Beyond child care, there are many other parenting issues that can be supported through workplace programs and access to resources. We encourage you to review the applicable resources created by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management below.
On December 20, 2010, President Obama delegated authority to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide guidance to executive branch civilian employees on workplace accommodations for employees who are nursing mothers. This delegation is in support of section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Act), Pub. L. 111-148, which added a new subsection (r) to section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) (codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. 207). This new subsection requires an employer to provide employees with (1) a reasonable break time to express breast milk for her child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk; and (2) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public which may be used by the employee to express breast milk. While subsection (r) applies only to employees who are subject to section 7, which sets forth the FLSA overtime pay provisions, the rationale for the policy contained in that section applies to all executive branch employees. In accordance with the authority delegated to OPM by the President on December 20, 2010, and in order to ensure consistent treatment of nursing mothers within the Federal workforce, agencies should also apply the requirements of subsection 7(r) of the FLSA to Executive branch civilian employees who are exempt from section 7 of the FLSA. I am providing guidance to agencies to assist them with implementation. For more guidance on the implementation of this policy, please review OPM's Guide to Establishing a Federal Nursing Mother’s Program and and Memo on Nursing Mothers in Federal Employment.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSA) can be used to pay for eligible child care expenses that allow you (and your spouse if you're married) to work, look for work, or attend school full-time. You may elect up to $5,000 each year.
For more information about eligibility and enrollment, visit the DCFSA website.
Today we are witnessing a rapidly growing elderly population. As diversity and longevity become two terms that describe America's workforce and population, the Federal Government is addressing the issues of aging and its impact on our families, work environment, and productivity.
An increasing number of American employees face the challenges and responsibilities of caring for an aging family member or friend. More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one1. Recent estimates from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicate that individuals turning 65 might require up to three years of long term care. Unpaid caregivers, such as family members or community volunteers, provide the majority of that long term care.
Family caregivers work as many hours on average (45 hours) as those without caregiving responsibilities (44 hours). Many are a part of the “sandwich generation” (46% of women and 40% of men); as such, they have children under the age of 18 at home. Almost half of the workforce (49%) expects to be providing elder care for a family member in the coming five years. Given these demographics, it is important that the Federal Government offer programs, policies, and initiatives to assist employees who are currently, or who will be, responsible for providing care to an elder.
The transition into elder caregiving will affect various aspects of your life and will, undoubtedly, impact your experience at work. Communication with one’s manager is critical; as a result, he/she will be better prepared to support you. There are resources one can easily tap into, as well. Three very helpful resources are your agency’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Administrator, Work-Life Coordinator, and Elder Care Coordinator. They can provide information and support to set priorities and make decisions. You can find your agency’s coordinators by searching the Work-Life Contact Tool. Another helpful resource is the ELDER CARE LOCATOR. HHS’s Administration on Aging (AoA) provides this public service for older adults and their families. Information specialists are available by phone at 1-800-677-1116 or Internet via web chat at from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., EST.
The Federal Government offers a wide range of benefits and flexibilities that employees can use to support them and their family members as they build a Federal career. A number of these resources can be effectively applied when an employee is attempting to manage an elder care situation. Federal employees enjoy generous health benefits, leave flexibilities, and flexible spending accounts, which enable employees to care for themselves and their family members while remaining effective and productive at work. For example, Medicaid and Medicare may be resources that can be applied to support an elder care situation. Although these two programs sound similar in name, they are quite different. More information can be accessed via the following websites: Medicare - Medicare.gov; Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services - CMS.gov.
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help federal employees and their families meet their health care needs. Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. Long term care insurance and Flexible Spending Accounts are two of the health-related benefits that Federal employees can use in managing an elder care situation. Long term care is care that a person needs if he/she can no longer perform everyday tasks independently due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long term care includes the supervision one might need due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Long term care insurance is one way to help pay for related expenses. Most Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and their qualified relatives are eligible to apply for insurance coverage under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). FLTCIP provides long term care insurance for its enrollees who are Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and their qualified relatives. Most employees must be eligible for the FEHB Program in order to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP. For more information about the FLTCIP, please contact Long Term Care Partners at 1(800)582-3337, or the FLTIP website.
Another source of possible support for elder care givers is Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). FSAs are a benefit offered by most employers that allow an employee the opportunity to put some of his/her salary aside before taxes to pay for many common out-of-pocket expenses. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sponsors the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program, also known as FSAFEDS, on behalf of all executive branch agencies, as well as other Federal agencies that choose to offer this benefit to their employees. Federal retirees and survivor annuitants are not eligible to participate in FSAFEDS. FSAFEDS offers two types of FSAs: a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) and a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA). Most Federal employees can elect to participate in one or both Flexible Spending Accounts. To learn more, you can consult the FSAFEDS website.
OPM also provides Governmentwide leadership on Federal leave policies and programs. This is accomplished by developing and maintaining Governmentwide regulations and policies on the administration of leave, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Federal leave sharing programs, annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, and time off for special circumstances--e.g., early dismissal or closure for weather emergencies. These leave programs assist employees in meeting their work, personal, and family obligations. The administration of these programs typically is addressed in agency internal policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Therefore, you should discuss your specific situation with your local Human Resources office. For general information, visit OPM’s Leave Administration.
If the work requirements and agency needs permit, an employee with elder care responsibilities may consider a flexible work arrangement. Working an alternative work schedule (AWS) or a schedule that includes telework instead of a traditional fixed work schedule (e.g., 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week) can enable employees to maintain schedules that better fit their needs and help manage work, personal, and family responsibilities. Since AWS programs for bargaining unit employees are established by negotiated agreements, bargaining unit employees and their supervisors/managers should consult the applicable collective bargaining agreement for its AWS provisions. General information and guidance is available on OPM’s Work Schedules and Telework websites.
Although Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statutes do not prohibit employment discrimination based solely on parental or other caregiver status, there may be circumstances under which discrimination against a working parent or other caregiver constitutes unlawful disparate treatment under Federal EEO statutes. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued the following guidance addressing these issues:
Federal employees, former Federal employees and applicants for Federal employment who believe they have been subjected to illegal discrimination or prohibited personnel practices, should promptly contact the relevant office(s) within their agencies. In addition,
The Federal Government's leave programs and workplace flexibilities are specifically designed to help employees better manage their professional and personal responsibilities. Because the implementation of these programs typically involves issues of pay and leave, more detailed information can be found on OPM's Pay & Leave pages. However, we have compiled a list of OPM resources and information below relevant to families.
If you have questions regarding these programs, please contact OPM's Pay & Leave Group at Pay-Performance-Policy@opm.gov.