What is an Family Member Appointment (FMA) and How Does it Work for You?
There are variety of hiring mechanisms for employing family members inside a U.S. mission. The FMA hiring mechanism offers the broadest set of benefits and is used to employ appointment eligible family members —U.S. citizen spouses, domestic partners or unmarried children (ages 18-21) of sponsoring employees who are listed on travel orders, reside at post of assignment, and do not receive a U.S. Government pension or retirement annuity. Benefits include:
- Annual and sick leave
- Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
- Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)
- Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
- Executive Order (E.O.) 12721: Non Competitive Eligibility
When Eligible Family Members (EFMs) resign from their FMA positions before the end of their five-year appointment period, they can be placed in Intermittent No Work Scheduled (INWS) status, making them “inactive” employees of the Department of State (DoS). This gives them an advantage for applying for subsequent federal positions. It allows them to apply for jobs open to “DoS employees only” as well as other, federal positions, without having a “break in service.” For those EFMs returning to the U.S. after working a minimum of 52 weeks in an overseas FMA or temporary appointment, they may have earned non-competitive appointment eligibility, giving them an advantage when applying for Civil Service positions.
As EFMs plan their departure from post and prepare to resign from their FMA positions, they should consider what amount of time, if any, is still required for them to earn non-competitive appointment eligibility. EFMs MUST have worked the full 52 weeks in order to qualify. Also, they should remember to ask their supervisor for their performance appraisal report or “PAR.” The most recent PAR is a requirement for virtually all federal job applications.
For more information about FMAs, visit FLO’s website at www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21653.htm.
A Word about Security Clearances
Once a federal job offer has been made, EFMs may be eligible to receive an interim security clearance. Upon leaving a federal job, an EFM’s security clearance may be revalidated within two years after vacating the position. Security clearances go with the position, not the person. If you have specific questions, email: email@example.com. For information on security clearances please visit www.state.gov/m/ds/clearances.
Job-seeking family members can get a head start on the clearance processes by downloading the security clearance forms found on eQIP (http://www.opm.gov/e-qip/) and gathering the requested information—references, past addresses, employers, etc. When an EFM receives a job offer, this time-consuming research will already be done!
For more information, email FLO’s Family Member Employment Team: FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.
Excerpted from FLO Weekly Update, a compilation of news and information from the Family Liaison Office of the Department of State.