The convenience and security of an on-site childcare is an important employment benefit.
The General Services Administration oversees the management of an on-site childcare center located in the 911 Federal Building, adjacent to the BPA headquarters building in Portland.
The child care center is operated by Joyful Noise Child Development Centers, Inc., and is known as Joyful Noise-East. It is open to all federal employees, including BPA and contract employees. The facility can accommodate up to 72 children and accepts children ages six weeks to five years.
Childcare subsidy program
Child care tuition assistance is available in cases where child care expenses are beyond family income means. Parents may apply for tuition assistance directly through the child care center. Federal employees may contribute financial support for tuition assistance through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) program. The child care center also participates in subsidy programs through the State (ERDC), the Children’s Levy (CCI), and offer our own long and short-term tuition assistance program.
For specific information about enrollment, tuition assistance, curriculum or to arrange a site visit, please call the Child Care Center director at (503) 230-4114.
Joyful Noise also operates Joyful Noise-Downtown which accommodates 92 children. For more details call (503-326-6827).
- Bicycle Commuter Program
- Public transit programs
- Portland and Vancouver parking programs
Bicycle Commuter Program
BPA’s Commuting Office actively encourages bicycling as a sustainable form of commuting and provides riding incentives to motivate employees to stay healthy and active. The agency’s Bicycle Commuter Program provides bicycle commuters with facility amenities and reimbursement incentives that bolster BPA’s sustainability efforts. Depending on their location, participants in the Bicycle Commuter Program, can access the following resources:
- Annual bicycle commuting expense reimbursements (all sites/locations)
- Access to the Emergency Ride Home Program (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver)
- Alternative commuter parking (Portland)
- Free annual bicycle parking in a secured parking garage with bicycle tools and maintenance stations (Portland)
- An assigned locker (Portland and Vancouver) and access to the gear room in the 905 building (Portland)
Public Transit programs
BPA encourages alternative commuting in the best interest of the environment and local traffic conditions. In the Portland and Vancouver areas, BPA’s Commuting Office offers employees the benefit of annual subsidized fares for Tri-Met and C-Tran. BPA reimburses employees stationed outside the Portland and Vancouver areas for their commuting transit fares on a monthly basis.
Portland and Vancouver parking programs
Carpools and Vanpools
Because carpools help to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, qualified carpools are allotted parking in Portland headquarters parking garage and in the covered parking garage at the Van Mall location in Vancouver. Carpools may be formed at any time during the year and are recertified annually. Vanpools also qualify for the same benefits of carpooling. In addition, vanpool participants qualify for monthly commute reimbursement incentives.
Headquarters Open Parking Program and Off-site Parking
BPA provides employees stationed at the Portland headquarters building with open/general access on- and off-site for a flat bi-weekly in the form of pre-tax deduction from paychecks. Parking space allocations are available to federal employees who work full-time or part-time at a minimum of 32 hours per week.
Employees may register online at any time to participate in the Headquarters Open Parking Program. Parking assignments for on and off-site garages are allocated annually, with the registration period typically occurring in October and new assignments beginning in January. Participants may be rotated annually between the headquarters parking garage and the off-site lot, according to their parking assignment. New participants in the program are required start the program parking at the assigned off-site lot.
Parking for Disabled Personnel
Parking spaces for disabled personnel are prioritized in the Portland headquarters parking garage for federal employees and contractor personnel. The parking is provided with consideration for mobility limitations, vehicle size and requirements, and electric outlet access those using wheelchairs or carts. Fees assessed for the space are consistent with BPA's open parking programs.
Motorcycles and Scooters Parking
Areas within the headquarters parking garage have been designated for parking motorcycles and scooters approved for street use. The Commuting Office does not collect fees for motorcycles or scooters.
Emergency Ride Home Program
At Portland, Vancouver and Seattle locations, the Commuting Office offers emergency ride home services to BPA federal employees who are regular commuters using public transportation, vanpool, or who walk or cycle to the workplace.
All staff members have free parking at the Van Mall and Ross Complex locations in Vancouver. The Commuting Office offers employees the option of paying for covered parking at Van Mall for a flat bi-weekly fee in the form of a pre-tax deduction from paychecks.
- No waiting periods - utilize your insurance benefits as soon as your coverage is effective
- No pre-existing condition limitations - even if you change plans
- Choice of coverage - choose only self coverage or coverage for yourself and family
- Choice of plans and options - choices include Fee-for-Service plans, Preferred Provider Organizations, Point of Service plan types, and Health Maintenance Organizations
- Government contribution - government contributions are paid towards the total cost of your premium
- Annual enrollment opportunities - enroll or change plans yearly
- Continued group coverage - covers continues following retirement, divorce, while you are away on vacation or sick days, if you transfer between Federal agencies, and death
- Coverage after the FEHB ends - temporary continuation due to leave of Federal service, dependent children or divorce
Information regarding establishing a Flexible Spending Account
Long Term Care Insurance
The need for long term care usually arises from age, chronic illness, injury or disability, which renders you unable to perform everyday tasks on your own. John Hancock and MetLife have joined together to create Long Term Care Partners, a service devoted solely to the Federal program.
What is it?
- Covers costs that FEHB does not cover
- Extended family member coverage
- Questions (Long Term Care Specialist) 800-582-3337
- May enroll with abbreviated underwriting
- Deadline for abbreviated underwriting is 60 days from hire date
- May always sign up with full underwriting
BPA annual employees are authorized to work under a "flexi-schedule" (unless a manager has established another form of alternate work schedule to meet work requirements).
Hours of Duty
While BPA authorizes flexible work schedules, the expectation is that employees are responsible for completing their daily 8-hour/40-hours per week work requirement by performing work and/or taking approved leave. Managers are responsible for establishing flexible time bands and to ensure that organizational goals are accomplished most efficiently while fostering a positive work environment.
Hours of Duty Guidance
Personnel Letter 610-5 provides further information and guidance for annual employees regarding tours of duty and authorized work schedules, credit hour ground rules, lunch and rest periods, federal holidays and determination of a holiday in relation to the workweek. (Additional guidance concerning employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may be found in the respective agreements.) BPA annual employees are authorized to work under a "flexi-schedule" (unless a manager has established another form of alternate work schedule to meet work requirements).
A Flexi-schedule is a type of work schedule that splits the workday into two kinds of time:
Core time - when all employees are required to be present; and
Flexible time - when employees may work different hours provided they complete their basic work requirement.
- Flexible arrival and departure ground rules: Flexible arrival and departure time bands for full-time personnel located in Portland and Vancouver are as follows:
6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Flexible arrival
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Core time with a regular 30-minute lunch
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Flexible departure
- Unless an employee’s basic workweek dictates otherwise, or the employee is on approved leave or credit hour use, an employee may not: (a) arrive at work earlier than 6:00 a.m. or later than 9:00 a.m.; or (b) depart from work earlier than 3:00 p.m., or later than 6:00 p.m.
- Flexible arrival and departure time bands for employees outside of Portland and the Vancouver area established by the senior manager with administrative responsibility at the duty station. These time bands must be established in writing, and must fall within the limits established for the Portland/Vancouver area.
- Lunch breaks must be taken between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. With prior approval of the manager, an employee may take a lunch period of up to 2-1/2 hours, and the employee would adjust the work schedule accordingly to meet the 8 hour basic work requirement.
Annual employees on a flexi-schedule may, with prior manager approval, elect to earn up to 2 credit hours per day. Full-time employees may earn credit hours on a day-to-day or continuing basis, and are earned in excess of the basic 8 hour work requirement. A maximum of 24 credit hours can be accumulated and carried over from one pay period to the next. Part-time employees may also earn up to 2 credit hours per day on scheduled workdays, in excess of the number of hours scheduled to work. Part-time employees are limited to carrying over a maximum of a quarter of the hours in their bi-weekly work schedule.
Both full-time and part-time employees are responsible to ensure that their credit hour balance does not exceed the maximum amount of hours allowed at the end of the pay period. Credit hours cannot be earned on a non-workday, holiday or during a period of group dismissal. Employees who earn/use credit hours to adjust their weekly work schedule are only authorized to record 8 hours for holiday leave (HL), (or for part-time employees, the amount of hours normally scheduled to work). For further information on earning/using credit hours, please refer to Personnel Letter 610-5.
Official Compressed Work Schedules
If work requirements make a compressed work schedule more suitable for a work group to accomplish a specific activity, such a schedule may be established. A compressed schedule is a type of fixed schedule that establishes the specific days worked and arrival/departure times (e.g., four 10-hour days). A compressed schedule requires the approval by a Tier 1 or equivalent manager, or by any Vice-President, and requires negotiations with the appropriate bargaining units through Labor Relations. A Personnel Letter or Memorandum of Understanding initiated by Labor Relations typically documents an official compressed work schedule. Links to current Personnel Letters addressing compressed work schedules are provided in the Policies section.
Part-time Work Schedule
Employees may request a permanent or limited duration part-time work schedule, at manager’s approval. For a temporary part-time work schedule, a Limited Duration Part-Time Agreement must be completed/approved that establishes the days and hours of duty of 16 to 32 hours per week (for non-students). The established tour of duty is also used for the determination of leave accrual, excused absence, employee paid health insurance premiums, and holiday pay (a part-time employee is not entitled to be paid for a holiday that falls outside their regularly scheduled tour of duty). For complete information on part-time work schedules, please refer to Personnel Letter 340-1.
The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program is the largest group life insurance program in the world. The cost of basic insurance is shared between you and the government (2/3 employee contribution and 1/3 government). In addition to basic coverage, you may also elect one of three forms of optional insurance.
BPA’s senior management positions are comparable to senior corporate executives in the private sector and are compensated under the Senior Executive Schedule pay scale.
In addition, the Federal system provides for income adjustments that are in addition to basic pay. This adjustment is commonly referred to as “locality pay” and is based upon the cost of living in large metropolitan centers that generally dictate higher compensation rates as a result of higher cost of living. Locality pay adjustments pertain to both pay schedules described above.
BPA’s annual employees typically receive a general Federal civilian salary increase linked to the employment cost index, which is a measure of changes in labor markets, that is effective the first pay period in January of each year.
BPA’s trade and labor jobs commonly referred to as “blue collar” or “hourly” jobs, such as electrician, lineman, carpenter, are paid hourly rates that are negotiated between BPA management and labor representatives.
As a BPA employee, you will be paid on a bi-weekly basis with 26 pay periods per year. You will be paid through direct deposit and may have automatic payroll deductions to two financial institutions.
Please visit the Office of Personnel Management website for updated information regarding salary and benefits.
10 paid holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Day
- Washington’s Birthday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veteran’s Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
The holiday designated as "Washington’s Birthday" in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.
As a full time employee you will accrue annual leave at the following rates and are eligible to take vacation with no waiting:
Period of Employment
1st – 3rd year
104 hours (13 days)
4th - 14th year
160 hours (20 days)
15th year and after
208 hours (26 days)
- You are also eligible to carry forward 30 days of annual leave each year.
- AND employees are cashed out for any unused annual leave at the time of separation or retirement.
Part-time employees earn leave on a pro-rated basis.
- As a full time employee you will accrue sick leave of 104 hours (13 days) per year.
- There is no limit on the amount of sick leave you may accumulate.
- At BPA’s discretion, a maximum of 30 days of sick leave may be advanced to you with a serious medical emergency or for purposes related to the adoption of a child.
- You may be advanced 5 days of sick leave for family care or bereavement purposes.
As a full-time employee, you may use 40 hours (5 workdays) of sick leave each leave year to:
- provide care for a family member who is incapacitated as a result of physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth;
- provide care for a family member as a result of medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment; or
make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.
An additional 64 hours (8 workdays) of sick leave may be used each year if you maintain a balance of at least 80 hours of sick leave. Part-time employees and employees with uncommon tours of duty are also covered, and the amount of sick leave permitted for family care and bereavement purposes is pro-rated in proportion to the average number of hours of work in the employee's scheduled tour of duty each week.
"Family member" is defined as:
- spouse, and parents of your spouse;
- children, including adopted children, and spouses thereof;
- brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof; and
- any person related by blood or affinity whose close association with you is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Family & Medical Leave Act
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), eligible BPA employees are entitled to a total of up to 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes:
- the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and the care of such son or daughter;
- the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
- the care of spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition; or
- a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her positions.
- military family leave/military exigency leave
Definition of a family member under FMLA:
- Son or Daughter - a biological, adopted, or foster child; a stepchild, a legal ward; or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is either under 18 years of age or 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. A son or daughter incapable of self-care requires active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in several of the “activities of daily living.
- Foster Care - 24-hour care for children in substitution for, and away from, their parents or guardians, determined by or with the agreement of the State or as a result of a judicial determination.
- Parent - a biological parent or an individual who stands or stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a child. In loco parentis refers to the situation of an individual who has day-to-day responsibility for the care and financial support of a child. Parent does not include grandparents or “in-law” parents.
Job Benefits and Protection
- Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be returned to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment."
- If you take unpaid FMLA leave (LWOP) you pay the employee share of the health benefits premiums on a current basis or pay upon your return to work. If you substitute paid leave under FMLA, you are entitled to maintain health benefits coverage.
Bone Marrow or Organ Donor Leave
- As an employee, you may use up to 7 days of paid leave each calendar year to serve as a bone-marrow donor.
- You may also use up to 30 days of paid leave each calendar year to serve as an organ donor.
- Leave for bone marrow and organ donation is a separate category of leave that is in addition to annual and sick leave.
- As a BPA employee you are entitled to time off at full pay for certain types of active or inactive duty in the National Guard or as a Reserve of the Armed Forces.
- Frequently Asked Questions on Military Leave provides more detailed information.
- As a BPA employee you are entitled to paid time off without charge to leave for service as a juror or witness.
- As an employee, you are responsible for informing your supervisor if you are excused from jury or witness service for 1 day or more or for a substantial part of a day.
- To avoid undue hardship, BPA may adjust the schedule of an employee who works nights or weekends and is called to jury duty.
For permanent employees who were first employed with the federal government after 1983. FERS is a three-part plan: Social Security: You pay a percentage of your salary for Social Security. You will be eligible to receive monthly Social Security benefits when you are 62 or have reached your minimum retirement age and have enough quarters of Social Security coverage. Defined Basic Benefit Plan: You pay a percent of your salary into this retirement fund, which will provide a monthly retirement benefit when you are eligible to retire. This benefit is based on a high-three average salary and length of service.
|Retirement Coverage||Affected Individuals||
Standard Employee Contribution Rate
Employees first hired on/after 1/1/19871
Employees first hired on/after 1/1/20132
Employees first hired on/after 1/1/20142
- Or rehired after that date with less than 5 years creditable or potentially creditable service under CSRS
- Or rehired after that date with less than 5 years creditable or potentially creditable service under FERS
Thrift Savings Plan: The agency will contribute an amount equal to 1 percent of your basic pay each pay period and will match up to 5 percent of your contribution, which includes the 1 percent automatic contribution. This is a tax-deferred savings plan.
What to expect on your first day at BPA
Please refer to your final offer letter for reporting times and locations. The general attire for employees at BPA headquarters is business casual. Be prepared to have your photo taken for your security badge. Parking is available at 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd across from BPA's main entrance. You may park at this lot for the first two days. On your orientation day, you will take a tour of the building and you will be shown the Commuting Office where you can validate your parking stub.