Survey Coming on Employee Views of Benefits

OPM has said that in the fall it will conduct a survey of federal employee views of their benefits, a biennial survey that is separate from the much larger annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted each spring,

The Federal Employee Benefits Survey is designed to “measure the importance, adequacy and value of employee benefits to assess if employees believe that the available benefits meet their needs. The FEBS will also help to evaluate whether or not federal employees understand the flexibilities and benefits available to them. Additionally, due to the ongoing focus on health and wellness programs across all federal agencies, the survey will capture information regarding employee tobacco use and health demographics,” OPM said in a memo to agencies.

The survey will be sent to a nationwide random sample of some 40,000 employees and will be open for four weeks.

Results of the 2015 survey released last year showed that more than 90 percent of enrollees in the FEHB, TSP and dependent care flexible spending account programs said those programs meet their needs to a great or moderate extent, while between 80 and 90 percent said the same of the FLTCIP, FEDVIP and FEGLI programs. The dependent care FSA program was rated as giving excellent or good value for the money by 91 percent, followed by the TSP at 87 percent; all those other programs received that rating by at least 70 percent except for FEDVIP dental, which rated at 66 percent.

Respondents placed the TSP at the top in terms of importance, with 95 percent calling it important or extremely important to them. Retirement annuities were the next most important, rated that highly by 94 percent; availability of FEHB in retirement by 92 percent; FEHB in general by 90 percent; and FEGLI and FEDVIP dental by above 70 percent. The lowest was dependent care FSAs, 17.1 percent, largely reflecting the limited eligibility for using that benefit.

Also, 84 percent said annuity benefits motivate them to stay to a moderate or great extent, and 78 percent said that of both the FEHB and the TSP. The survey also asked why respondents passed up on voluntary benefits and found the reasons varied by benefit. For those declining FEHB, it most commonly was because they had health insurance through a spouse or other program such as Tricare; in the TSP it was because of lack of money available to invest.