Happy New Year from FedSmith!
This is the time of year when I like to reflect on events from the year and their impact on the federal community.
Before I get to some of the highlights, I have to pause to give a genuine thank you to you, our readers. As much as I enjoy the opportunity each day to provide important news to the federal community, I will never forget that it would not be possible without you reading FedSmith.com. So thank you for continuing to give us the opportunity to provide this service to you.
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Highlights from 2019
Last year at this time, federal employees were just settling into dealing with the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. While it appeared at times during this year there might be another, Congress ultimately passed a budget as the deadline drew near to fund the government for 2020.
The Pay Freeze That Wasn’t
Paid Parental Leave
Another benefit most federal employees will receive starting in 2020 thanks to legislation passed this year: paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
Despite numerous past failed attempts in Congress to provide this benefit, a bipartisan effort in 2019 led to 12 weeks of paid parental leave set to begin in October 2020.
TSP’s I Fund Changing
The Thrift Savings Plan announced this year that the I Fund will begin tracking a new investment benchmark index starting next year. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) conducted two studies and found that the change mirrors what other large retirement plans provide to their employees and also stands to provide better investment returns.
However, the change is not without controversy. Some lawmakers vehemently opposed the change. At the forefront was Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who sent letters in opposition to the change, introduced legislation to block it, and even asked President Trump to remove the FRTIB board members involved in the decision.
TSP Modernization Act Takes Effect
And speaking of the TSP, it got a significant overhaul in 2019 when the changes from the TSP Modernization Act finally went into effect in September. TSP participants now can enjoy expanded withdrawal options among other changes.
Stock Market Sets Multiple Record Highs
Your TSP account should be riding high as we close out 2019 with the stock market indices setting record after record throughout the year. The number of TSP millionaires has exploded as a result.
Relocating Agencies Out of Washington
Did you ever think you’d see some federal agencies’ headquarters moved out of Washington, DC? Well, it happened in 2019.
Some lawmakers would like to see most agencies moved out of DC and introduced a bill to do so, but that seems unlikely to happen.
President Trump’s hotly contested Executive Orders that placed new restrictions on federal employee unions were finally allowed to take effect this year when a court lifted an injunction that had prevented them from being enacted by agencies.
Sexual Harassment Allegations at AFGE
Speaking of unions, AFGE launched an investigation into allegations that its national president had committed acts of sexual harassment.
2019 was certainly a big year for the federal workforce. What other events did you find significant in the federal community? Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.
We hope 2019 was a good year for you and your family and wish everyone a happy new year and all the best in 2020!