NARFE NewsWatch
Jan. 27, 2015

NARFE participates in news conference on Paid Parental Leave bill
NARFE President Richard G. Thissen joined congressional leaders at a press conference Monday at the U.S. Capitol announcing a new bill to provide six weeks of paid leave to federal employees for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. "More and more private employers around the world are offering parents paid time off so they can take care of their newborns," Thissen said. "However, America is the only industrialized nation whose civil service employees do not receive a single week of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child." He urged Congress to support federal employees and enact the bill swiftly. The press release is available here. More

Last call for registration for the 2015 NARFE Legislative Training Conference
With the Feb. 3 registration and room reservation deadline approaching, time is running out to sign up for the 2015 NARFE Legislative Training Conference, March 14-17 at the Arlington Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The biannual conference offers an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on training, learn about NARFE's issues on Capitol Hill, hear from national experts and network with other NARFE Legislative leaders. The three-day conference culminates in an advocacy day on Capitol Hill where participants have the opportunity to take NARFE's message directly to legislators and their top aides. Information on the conference and hotel is available at More

Retirees: Be on the lookout for 1099-R
The Office of Personnel Management says it will send the 2014 1099-R forms for retirees and survivors in time to be received in the mail by Jan. 30. Those who have signed up to receive the tax forms online will be able to view and print their 1099-R forms for 2014 by Jan. 30.More

Question: Will the Office of Personnel Management calculate the tax-free portion of my annuity and include the information on my 1099-R? I don't understand why this is referred to as tax-free money.More

Democrat bill would give federal workers paid parental leave
The Washington Post
Federal employees would be eligible for six weeks of paid leave for purposes related to the birth or adoption of a child, under legislation introduced by a group of House Democrats. President Barack Obama two weeks ago called on Congress to enact that benefit — which would be paid "administrative" leave that would not be charged against either sick leave or annual leave time —while separately ordering agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for those purposes under existing authority.More

OMB: No sequestration cuts in 2015
Federal News Radio
Agencies can let out a deep breath of relief for a second year in a row — there will be no budget cuts because of sequestration in fiscal 2015. The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter and report to Congress Jan. 20, detailing why the reductions to agency discretionary budgets will not be necessary as called for under the Budget Control Act.More

New bill slashes 10 percent from federal workforce
Federal Times
The federal workforce would be slashed by 10 percent - or more than 200,000 employees - over the next two years under legislation introduced Jan. 23. The Federal Workforce Reduction Through Attrition Act would limit agencies to just one new hire for every three employees that quit or retire, according to the bill. More

And the most popular federal agency is...
The Hill
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the highest approval rating of any government agency despite the high-profile fallout from its handling of the Ebola outbreak last fall. Seventy percent of people said they have favorable opinions of the CDC, just above the 68 percent approval rating for NASA and 65 percent for the Department of Defense, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.More

Common estate planning mistakes
The Wall Street Journal
We all know that having an estate plan is good for our finances and for our heirs. But many of us fail to put a plan in place — for fear of facing our own mortality, among other reasons. And those who do have a plan often make mistakes that can lead to familial and financial problems down the road. The Experts, a group of finance professionals and academics, weigh in on what they see as the biggest mistakes people make with estate planning.More

Tips to enjoy a lifestyle that can prevent premature aging
New Year's has become synonymous with a desire to change your lifestyle – in fact, 4 in 10 individuals have been said to before made resolutions to lose weight. But what about individuals who are facing physical limitations to weight loss and other barriers to healthy living?More

The keys to starting a business in retirement
USA Today
More people are starting businesses later in life, says Deborah Banda, AARP's interim vice president of the financial security team. "It can be a way to strengthen their financial security, and it can give people great personal satisfaction." Almost a quarter of new businesses were started by entrepreneurs ages 55 to 64 in 2013, an increase from 14 percent in 1996, according to the latest data from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.More

Time your travel abroad to the exchange
In January, an already strong U.S. dollar hit an 11-year high against other major currencies. For U.S. travelers, this is good news: The recent changes in the relative values of the U.S. dollar, the euro and the British pound mean that your tourist dollar will go further. Travelers in late January, for instance, paid $1.16 per euro, the lowest the value of the euro has dipped in many years.More

The top 10 consumer scams of 2014
With fraud costing insurers and consumers an estimated $80 billion a year, it's easy to see why so many scammers are finding it a lucrative way to make money. The pain and cost to the victims seem to escalate even as technology has made it easier for fraudsters to steal information and use it in a variety of ways.More