Federal employes would get annual statements showing the value of their pay and fringe benefits under a proposal being considered by several House members.

Uncle Sam contributes more than $30 billion each year to employe fringe packages. But many federal workers are unaware of those employer contributions or what benefits they have. Many, for instance, think they split the cost of their pension package with the government, when in fact the government puts in three to four times more than the 7 percent of pay that most workers contribute toward their pensions yearly.

Most progressive private firms give employes the annual computer benefits printouts. Typically they show information on salary, life and health insurance and retirement, and updated estimates as to what an employe can expect from Social Security benefits or compensation a worker might get if disabled on the job.

The statements are an excellent way for individuals and families to know where they stand, and for retirement and estate planning.

But only a handful of U.S. agencies provide the benefit profiles to workers. That leaves most civil servants in the dark on that key side of their work lives.

At the request of Reps. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Alan Wheat (D-Mo.), the General Accounting Office looked at what agencies were -- and were not -- doing to provide the data, to see if Uncle Sam should adopt it government-wide. All three are members of the Congressional Federal Government Service Task Force, a civil service caucus made up of members of Congress who have a lot of U.S. workers and retirees in their districts or home states.

GAO studied 23 federal agencies but found only 10 that provided benefits statements to their people. They include the departments of Agriculture, Interior and Commerce, and the Enviromental Protection Agency. GAO said that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to adopt the practice, and that Agriculture's payroll service also provides benefits updates to workers in the Merit Systems Protection Agency, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, ACTION agency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Appalachian Regional Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In other agencies, federal workers who need the information must get it piecemeal from personnel or retirement offices, a process that is often unpleasant, time-consuming and unrewarding for both the information givers and receivers.

The Presidential Council on Management Improvement has recommended that the government could save time and money, plus provide a service to workers, if it followed industry's lead and let employes know what they have and what it is worth.


Veterans Administration facilities around the nation will participate in ceremonies tomorrow honoring former prisoners of war and people considered missing in action. VA says 142,227 Americans were taken prisoner during World War I, World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The ACTION agency's Volunteer Grandparents Program is celebrating its 22nd birthday this month. Under the program, more than 16,000 volunteer grandparents have given their time to thousands of youngsters.