Feds sign up for self-service

National Finance Center site

More and more federal employees are signing up for a personalized service run by the National Finance Center that enables federal workers to view their pay and benefits information online.

The NFC, a part of the Agriculture Department, has been offering federal customers their own Employee Personal Page since 1998. Today, more than 160,000 employees—nearly a third of NFC customers—have signed up for the personalized service, said Steve Cunningham, chief of the NFC's Web branch.

Employees who sign up for the page get access to their biweekly earnings and leave statements, annual W-2 statements, health and life insurance information, Thrift Savings Plan results and other personal benefits information. Employees use a personal identification number and a secure browser to access the system.

Information on an Employee Personal Page comes from the same NFC mainframe computer files that contain payroll, personnel and travel data, which the NFC processes for more than 120 agencies through cross-servicing agreements.

In the near future, the NFC hopes to eliminate the paper-based earnings-and-leave statement, Cunningham said. "We realize that the savings from eliminating the paper will offset the cost of maintaining the Web site," he said, calling it "in the spirit" of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act. The coding has been completed, and the agency is working through the policy issues to make the paperless system a reality, possibly in the next year, he added.

Other system enhancements are in the works, including extending public-key infrastructure capabilities to NFC Web applications that provide access to data protected under the Privacy Act, Cunningham said. For instance, as early as this summer, the NFC hopes to PKI-enable time and attendance data that is input by agency managers via the Web, as well as financial disclosure statements filed online by senior executives.

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