Monitor our Federal Diary discussion for additional insight.

The guide to official resources for federal workers features useful Web links.

Check Per Diem Charts for reimbursement amounts for expenses incurred during official travel.

Go to Federal Community

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Federal Diary Scrapbook

The Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace, runs six days a week in the Metro section. We have clipped selected columns for your reference. Peruse them below, or stay up-to-date by reading Mike Causey's latest columns.

Civil Service Laws and Regulations
Guideline Guidance -- Tracking and deciphering civil service laws and regulations has become so complex that you'll appreciate these guides to to the labyrinth.

Report on Diversity -- Uncle Sam was one of the first employers to be officially colorblind and gender-neutral. But although agencies don't require workers to label themselves, they carefully track race, sex and ethnic data. Call it a don't-ask-but-do-tell system.

Careful What You Say -- In this era of heightened awareness and political correctness, federal workers who want to keep getting a paycheck should be very careful about what they say -- or write.

Religious Rights -- The new freedom of religion policy for federal agencies condones many standard procedures and also breaks new ground.

Benefits and Salary
Filling In the Pay Gaps -- Statistical proof that Uncle Sam underpays workers 20 to 30 percent could be undermined -- or disappear altogether -- when the government broadens its annual survey of private-sector salaries.

Making the Best of Health Care -- Looking for a low-cost, covers-most-everything health plan? If you are a federal worker or retiree, your options are good.

Dental Plan Checkups -- When it comes to dental benefits, all of the federal health plans have cavities. Here are things to watch out for as you review the dozens of choices.

Providing for Your Spouse -- Federal workers can provide their spouses with a lifetime benefit, indexed to inflation, if they die while on the government payroll. Learn about the coverage and planning and paying for it.

Caught Without Coverage -- In contrast to most nonfederal company plans, which often increase premiums for retirees, the federal health program is a cradle-to-grave deal that shines in retirement.

Your Investments
Tracking Your Investments -- The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has created a Web site where feds can track rates of return and even do estimates of their future account balances.

One Blown-Away Windfall -- Reaching the 40-quarters mark of paying into Social Security means a benefit, but probably not the amount many federal employees are expecting.

Federal Jobs and Hiring
A Faster Way to Find the Plums -- You can surf your way through some of Washington's hottest, best-paying federal jobs with the online edition of the Plum Book.

Truth or Consequences -- Most employers no longer dare ask job applicants once-standard questions such as: Are you married? Or pregnant? And you sure won't see ads for skinny orphans with a death wish.

See also our guide to job resources on the Web, the Federal Job Finder, and our guide to more resources for federal workers.

Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Co.

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