Today's Monday Morning Quarterbacks are a new worker who has taken a pay cut pending final action on a new federal pension plan; an injured, unemployed fed describing a red-tape nightmare, and a worker who says that within-grade pay raises (which go to 99 percent of all workers) are for performance, not time on the job.
This is your space on Monday. If you have a comment, complaint or suggestion, send it along. Here are today's offerings:
*"I'm writing in hopes that a pension plan for new federal workers will be approved soon. I recently left a good job in industry . . . because I wanted to serve the American people. I gave up benefits such as profit sharing, company-paid health and life insurance, steady and substantial raises and a tax-deferred investment plan.
"Since May 1 I have been forced to contribute 14.15 percent of my pay to Social Security and the government retirement plan. It is unfair to force new workers to make full contributions to two different plans.
"This year federal workers didn't get a pay raise and now many are being hit with a 5.7 percent cut (to pay for full civil service retirement benefits).
"Before May 1 my take-home pay was 67 percent of my gross pay. With the new retirement deduction it is 61.7 percent, with which I have to pay for two in college, mortgage, etc. I cannot afford to lose $225 a month because of retirement. I need the money now." E.N., Rockville
That extra deduction for people like E.N. should be ended shortly. Congressional conferees and the White House have agreed on a compromise and are taking steps to implement it.
*"In September 1985 I was forced to leave government because of a job-related injury. I immediately filed with the Labor Department's Office of Workers' Compensation. There was always some information that wasn't sufficient, so I had to file several times.
"After hearing nothing I contacted OWC. Each time they said my claim was being reviewed. Finally I called my congressman. He wrote them a letter. In March, OWC sent a letter saying my claim had been accepted that very day, but couldn't be processed because they had no record of previous papers filed. And I had to go to a doctor of their choice.
"I followed all instructions. At the end of April, OWC called saying they had no record of 10 documents I sent them in January. I refiled.
"All this time I have been on leave without pay. I've borrowed from family and friends to survive. Now they are short of money and I have nothing.
" . . . . I've lost my credit rating and may soon lose my home. I am not the only person having these problems. I just thought somebody ought to know . . . . " Worried in Easton, Md.
*"It disturbs me when you and others covering the federal sector refer to within-grade pay raises as 'longevity' raises. It is no more a longevity raise than a pay raise resulting from a promotion. In both cases one must meet both performance and time requirements. Employes don't get within-grade raises simply by serving time. The individual's performance, first and foremost, must be at an acceptable level of competence -- at least fully acceptable.
"It is true that some managers don't manage. However, this group is a minority. In any event, the legal intent is not to reward longevity but to reward performance. Your references to within grades as a longevity increase is a misinterpretation of the law." M.M.G., Washington