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Eye Opener: Federal pay stubs going paperless

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Tuesday! The federal government will start transmitting pay information for executive branch employees electronically, the Office of Management and Budget announced Monday.

The New Orleans-based National Finance Center -- which processes payroll statements for more than 140 offices across the three branches of government -- plans to start providing leave and earnings statements to workers electronically, although workers can choose to still receive paper versions, OMB said. Workers can access the information via an NFC database, OMB said. The change will save taxpayers about $4 million annually.

Workers at the Department of Homeland Security will be the first to see the changes in the coming weeks, followed later by employees at other executive branch departments, including Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, Treasury and Veterans Affairs.

The move stems from last fall’s OMB contest that sought cost-cutting ideas from federal workers.

“This is a small change, but a powerful example of how federal employees can use their experience and unique knowledge to streamline what works in the federal government and end what doesn’t — saving taxpayer dollars and improving performance,” OMB Director Peter R. Orszag wrote on his blog Monday in announcing the decision.

Should the government go entirely paperless with pay and other work-related documents?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: Have you applied for a federal job whose application period closed very shortly after it was announced? If so, tell us what happened. E-mail your answer to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and please include your full name and hometown. We may use your answers in Friday's Post.

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Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama and Vice President Biden meet today with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton treats Canada icily at an Arctic meeting. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a heartbreaker. LLook out today for Duncan and Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, who plan to hit the media circuit after Obama signs the health-care reconciliation bill.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT:
Race to the Top awards go to Delaware, Tennessee: The education secretary picked the winners after a team of judges in the Race to the Top competition gave tiny Delaware the highest ranking, with Tennessee close behind. Delaware won as much as $107 million and Tennessee could be awarded $502 million.

EPA:
EPA delays plants’ pollution permits: The move formally affirms an agency announcement last month that it would phase in the regulation of climate-altering gases over a number of years, starting with the largest sources.

FDA:
FDA panel to examine menthol cigarettes' impact: Menthol-flavored cigarettes are going under the microscope of a new government panel, which will recommend how the agency should regulate them.

FDA pressured to combat rising 'food fraud': It's been documented in fruit juice, olive oil, spices, vinegar, wine, spirits and maple syrup, and appears to pose a significant problem in the seafood industry.

FHA:
N.C., S.C., Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island to receive mortgage relief: State housing finance agencies from those state will share $600 million to test new approaches to helping borrowers save their homes from foreclosure.

HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT:
Homeland Security IG often in conflict with agencies on corruption probes: The conflict pits the inspector general's office in the Department of Homeland Security against the agency's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division and the FBI.

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:
Disabled immigration detainees face deportation: The detainees have often been moved to Texas without medication or medical records, far from relatives and mental health workers who know their history.

NASA:
NASA to investigate cause of Toyota problems: The nation's auto-safety regulators have tapped nine experts from the space agency to answer questions involving software, hardware and other electronics issues.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
Post poll: Majority support cutting Saturday mail: A majority of Americans support ending Saturday mail deliveries to help the U.S. Postal Service solve its financial problems, but most oppose shuttering local branches.

SEC:
SEC questions Wall Street firms on use of repurchase agreements: The agency has sent letters to the chief financial officers of nearly two dozen firms to ask detailed information about their use of transactions that temporarily transfer financial assets out of the firms.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT:
Treasury says it will begin selling Citi shares: The government received 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup in exchange for $25 billion it gave the bank during the 2008 credit crisis.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 30, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

Sure go paperless and direct deposit. I've had direct deposit since 1976, both government and private, and have not had a problem so far. I forgot when I went paperless for pay stubs but that works fine as it does for SF-50s, W-2s and 1099s.

Posted by: ronjaboy | March 30, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how this is news. I work for USDA, and am paid by the National Finance Center. I've been paperless for years, and NFC has been encouraging people to go paperless for years. If NFC is still providing an option for people to get paper statements, what exactly has changed? This is the way it has been for years.

Posted by: mrchuckles | March 30, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Good grief! I retired six years ago, at which time I had been using paperless only NFC statements for the previous 5 or 6 years before that. This is nothing to be proud of, especially since paper is still presented as an option.

Posted by: AnnArborGuy | March 30, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

As a former HR emplyee I have seen this many times. It was usually used to give an advantage to someone that the supv or HR wanted in the vacant position. It is totally wrong and very unfair. As a young, novice, thought that everyone played by the book gov't worker, when I realized this is how gov't and I'm sure MOST employers worked, it made me very cynical. To this day, I believe it's not what you know, but who you know. Out of respect for this newspaper, I won't say it like they do on the street.

Posted by: dailyadvance2 | March 30, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"To this day, I believe it's not what you know, but who you know." There is no orgaization on the face of this earth where this priciple doesn't apply; none, zero, nada, etc. Heck, even in that womens conference the other day they were urged to "find a mentor!" The reliance on the expectation of fairness and objectivity is the providence of people too lazy or unintelligent to make the effort to network.

Posted by: ronjaboy | March 30, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

There is no reason why paystubs, etc. shouldn't be entirely paperless. All federal employees are supose to have access to email and computer now--even if it is just at their agency. And for employees that don't have computer access at home, they can either go to a friend, the public library, or maybe the government will start it's own computer purchase installment program for employees. I would just be curious to know how long NFC will archive the documents.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | March 30, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know that anyone wasn't getting paperless paystubs (there's an obsolete word).
I'm with HHS, but our pay system is under DFAS, and we've been paperless for years. They now e-mail a copy of the statement to me at home, where I have the option of printing it or not.

Posted by: EinDC | March 30, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

As a government worker with NFC payroll office I have been paperless for over 5 years. I think the only thing in the OMB news release was that the default for employees will go to paperless with the option to get paper, the standard has been that the default was paper with an option for paperless. Although not all agencies had paperless options.

Posted by: crete | March 30, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This should have happened 10 years ago, but the bureaucrats move at their own pace, oblivious to the real world.

Posted by: corrections | March 30, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Navy (and I think all of DoD) has required direct deposit and electronic pay stubs for awhile now. It saves a ton of money and is just as good so why not do it everywhere?

Posted by: TrustMe2 | March 30, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Come on OMB and NFC - get with it!! This has been done for over 10 years along with W-2s, leave requests, FEHB elections and on and on. This should be mandatory along with direct deposit!

Posted by: DOEEmployee | March 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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