OPM issued the following press release:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer today submitted a proposal to both chambers of Congress to establish a short-term disability insurance program to protect federal employees who suffer an injury or illness which temporarily prevents them from performing their normal job duties.
“If we are to maintain an efficient and effective Federal workforce, it is imperative to ensure workers are protected in the unlikely event of a short-term disability,” Director Springer said. “Health care costs can be economically devastating to many employees, especially those who have not yet accumulated sufficient sick and annual leave.”
OPM would leverage the purchasing power of the 2.6 million Federal employees in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, to obtain the best coverage at affordable premiums. Under the proposal, participation would be voluntary and insurance premiums would be fully paid by the policy holder.
Springer said an added benefit to this insurance product would be its ability to attract a quality work force. A sound short-term disability insurance benefit will fill the gap in an otherwise attractive and competitive Federal benefit program.
“Recent college graduates, or men and women only a few years removed from college campuses who are thinking about starting families will find this benefit to be an inducement to considering a career in the Federal civil service,” Springer said. “If they know they will not be penalized should something occur before they have had enough time to accumulate sufficient sick leave, they will be more likely to consider public service.”
Springer noted the program would benefit employees in a variety of short-term situations, including childbirth, adoption, unforeseen injury to the employee or a close family member, and emergency surgery.