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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Workforce Protections Subcommittee to Examine Reforms to FECA Program

On Wednesday, July 10 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled “Examining the Labor Department’s Proposed Reforms to the FECA Program.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Enacted in 1916, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides workers’ compensation benefits to federal employees who experience a work-related injury or illness. The FECA program covers approximately three million civilian federal workers and disbursed nearly $2 billion in cash benefits in 2012.

Wage compensation is paid as a percentage of an employee’s regular salary at the time he or she is injured. Disabled employees without dependents receive two-thirds of their gross wages at the time of injury and those with dependents receive three-fourths of their gross wages. Wage loss benefits are paid as long as the employee is unable to work or until the employee elects to retire.

There are concerns that current benefit policies may be too generous and discourage an employee’s return to work. In 2011 the Department of Labor released a proposal to reform the FECA program. Among other provisions, the department’s proposal would eliminate increased benefits for those employees with dependents and convert benefits to 50 percent of gross wages once an individual reaches retirement age.

A bipartisan group of committee leaders asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the potential effects of the department’s proposal. GAO completed its review in October 2012. Wednesday’s hearing will give members an opportunity to discuss the GAO report and reforms proposed by the Department of Labor. To learn more about this hearing, visit   

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Seth Seabury
Research Associate Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

Andrew Sherrill
Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security
Government Accountability Office
Washington, D.C.

Gary A. Steinberg
Acting Director
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
U.S. Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Scott Szymendera
Congressional Research Service
U.S. Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.        


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