When Uncle Sam says he wants blood, he means one pint, or else!

If you doubt the government's resolve, consider what happened to a fed working at a Georgia Marine Corps base who failed to come up with the pint he had promised.

It seems there was a critical blood shortage at the time. The base put out a call to donors.

The deal was that anyone who would roll up their sleeves and head for the nearest Red Cross center, would get half a day (four hours) off. A number of people volunteered.

One of them was a warehouseman. But when he was tested at the Red Cross center he was rejected because of high blood pressure. It was a Friday afternoon so, instead of returning to work, he went home.

On Monday he went back to work, but did not mention to his boss that he had not given blood. Someone else did, however, and on Tuesday the boss asked to see his needle mark, and/or blood donor card. The man said he had the card at home. His boss told him to bring it in tomorrow.

Tomorrow came but the man did not produce a blood-donor card. The boss persisted and the man confessed that he had not given blood, but claimed that somebody from the Red Cross had told him to go home. The boss reminded the man that he did not work for the Red Cross, and suspended him for three days without pay.

The rejected donor said that the suspension really gave him high blood pressure. He filed a grievance. His argument was that the three-day suspension was too severe for missing four hours of work. The case moved through the administrative process, finally reaching an arbitrator.

The arbitrator upheld the suspension, saying that the man asked for it when he had failed to return to work and then lied about giving blood. The point was well taken, and now employes who leave work to give blood make sure that the Red Cross gives them a receipt.

Medicare: The 1.3 percent Medicare tax that goes into effect Jan. 1 for federal and postal employes will be applied to all federal compensation (up to a maximum of $35,700) during the 1983 year. Persons retiring next month can work as little as one day in January and then be entitled to Medicare coverage at age 65.

The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 extends Medicare benefits to individuals who work or otherwise have an employer-employe relationship with Uncle Sam during 1983. Employes will be able to work under Medicare coverage for just one day, then retire and be able to count their previous federal service (for which they paid no Medicare or Social Security taxes) to qualify for Medicare Part A. That covers inpatient care in hospitals and in nursing facilities and certain home health services for persons 65 and older.

Employes who qualify for Medicare Part A automatically will also be entitled to enroll in Medicare Part B by paying a monthly premium after they reach 65. Medicare Part B covers a major portion of physicians' services, outpatient treatment and physical therapy, as well as other medical supplies and service. Government retirees who are eligible for Medicare coverage can, in most cases, get by with low-option health insurance plans sponsored by the government, which cost much less than the high-option plans that typically are better for retirees without Medicare coverage.

Workers retiring this month and next month will get something of a jolt when they receive their final paychecks -- including payment for unused annual leave. The 1.3 percent Medicare tax will apply to all compensation received in 1983, even if it was for services performed in 1982 or for annual leave earned in previous years.

The maximum Medicare tax for federal and postal employes in 1983 -- for those earning $35,700 or more-will be $464.10. Employes will not be eligible for other Social Security benefits unless they have coverage for nonfederal work.

In some cases, the families of federal workers also will be permitted to get Medicare benefits, just as if the employe had been working under a Social Security-covered job and paying Social Security taxes for many years.