Happy New Year!  It’s time to make some predictions for 2014 that affect Federal Employees and Veterans.

1. Feds, You’ll get your 1% raise, (if you’re still working). 

2. Then again, maybe you won’t.  
There’s no guarantee there won’t be another round of furloughs this year once the Defense Service Chiefs figure out they are going to run out of ‘Gas Money’ by August.

 

3. 16,000 of you will take/receive a RIF in 2014.
Bold Prediction, you say?  Try these numbers on for size:

The DoD is looking at trimming ~6300 heads in the next few years due to Sequestration- Divide this number by 4 yrs to get  ~1,600 DoD RIFs/year.

 The Army alone has stated it will reduce its end-strength by ~14% by FY2017, and that civilian headcount reduction will be in-line with Active Duty end-strength reduction.  So knock 14% off of an Army Strong civilian workforce of ~264,000, which is 37,000 heads to RIF.
…Divide this number by 3 years (3 years left through FY2017) to get ~12,000 Army RIFs/year.
This adds up to 13,000 DoD RIFs (ALONE) per year.
Note that DoD makes up almost 41 percent of the federal workforce, so divide 13,000 by 40% to get ~32,000 RIFs out of the Executive Branch per year…  However, since other Federal Agencies are not typically smacked as hard as DoD during budget crunches, I’m going to ‘whack this number in half’ and say there will be 16,000 Federal Civilian RIFs in 2014.

 

4.  Over 120,000 of you will retire- Of which, more than 25,000 of will retire in January.
Another Bold Prediction, you say?
Consider that OPM’s CY2013 figures were ~108,000 retirees, with 22k of the retirements in January.  Note that we’re now in CY2014, and the ‘No FERS Employee Retires in 2013 Act’ is no longer in effect-.  You may now sell-back your 1,000+ hours of sick leave (that’s half a year) and use them to pad your FERS Annuity time-in-service calculation.

 

5.  FERS Annuity will continue to get chipped away. 
The ‘Camel’s Nose’ is already Under the Tent.
And I’m not talking about the funny Geico Camel asking you what day it is, I’m talking about the ugly nose that wants to get in under the tent and raid pension benefits of Feds and Veterans.  Congress has already gotten away with slashing the pension benefit of present and future Active Duty Retirees by tens of thousands of dollars.  While there is a lot of Squawking and Harrumphing about this taking place in the Senate, Squawking and Harrumphing is not voting, and a LOT of votes from both sides of the aisle are necessary to remedy the attack on Military pension benefits.

 

6. TIP will not be restored to its previous $245 per month benefit.
There was plenty of time to fix this (the IRS Notice came in October), and it didn’t get fixed.  Enough Said.

 

7.  Young Feds will leave in droves.
Many Millenials are up to their eyeballs in student debt (btw, Student Loan Debt is the next Housing Bubble, but that’s another topic for discussion).
Taking a Fed job as a first gig out of college makes sense for a lot of Millenials, as long as the stability, compensation, and benefits are in-line with private sector offers.  However, Young Feds will soon:
  •  Recognize they have a false sense of job security because they have a RIF target on their backs,
  •  Notice their college classmates are earning as much or more in the private sector, and
  •  Realize that their ‘take home’ pay is less due to ‘Fake FERS‘ – Increased FERS Annuity contributions for newly-hired Feds.

 

8.  FEHB Plan benefits and options will be curtailed in October.
The FEHB ‘Self-Plus-One’ option is almost a done deal.
Also, Look for fewer FEHB plans to be offered, and for increases in fees/reductions in FEHB benefits in order to avoid the ObamaCare ‘Cadillac Tax’ in 2018.

 

Note: I look forward to following up on this post by the end of the year.  All of these predictions will be pretty easy to measure, with the exception of #7.  Unless anyone has any suggestions where to pull this data, I’ll have to look at the median age of Feds in OPM’s annual workforce profile document.

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