A Message to Applicants:
This page is designed to provide answers to some of the questions most commonly asked by applicants for positions in the United States District Court, Northern District of Mississippi. It presents an overview of the application requirements, general information about federal benefits, and describes some policies that are specific to this office. At commencement of employment, employees receive in-depth information about benefits, policies and procedures, as well as job-specific training.
The United States District Court is an equal opportunity employer.
Applicants must submit a resume and completed AO78 -Application for Judicial Branch Federal Employment. (Download PDF AO78 Application) new window
Employees of the federal courts are excepted service employees. As such, court employees may be removed by the appointing officer for any reason (except for an unconstitutionally discriminatory reason) at any time. While the Northern District of Mississippi Clerk's Office has established local grievance procedures, they in no way entitle an employee to rights not otherwise provided them by laws governing employment in the federal courts.
Optional term life insurance is available to all employees. The employee pays two-thirds of the cost of the basic life insurance and the government pays the remainder. There are four options from which to choose:
- Basic Life: Coverage is equal to the greater of (a) the employee's actual rate of annual basic pay (rounded up to the next $1,000) plus $2,000; or (b) $10,000.
- Option A: Basic Life plus $10,000. The employee pays the full cost of this option.
- Option B: Basic Life plus additional coverage in an amount equal to one, two, three, four, or five times the employee's annual basic pay (rounded up to the next $1,000). The employee pays the full cost of this option.
- Option C: Family: Basic Life plus coverage for eligible family members: $5,000 for the spouse and $2,500 for each eligible child. The employee pays the full cost of this option.
Employees earn 13 days of sick leave per year. Annual leave is accrued at the rate of 13 days for the first three years of full-time service; 20 days per year for three to fifteen years of service; and 26 days per year for more than fifteen years of service.
Employees are covered by the Federal Employee Family Friendly Leave Act which allows the use of sick leave for care of family members in certain situations and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 which allows the use of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12 month period in certain circumstances.
Additionally, employees are eligible to participate in the federal voluntary leave share program which enables an employee who experiences a personal or family medical emergency and has exhausted all available paid leave to apply for donated leave.
The U.S. District Court recognizes ten federal holidays.
Basic Benefit Plan
- The Basic Benefit Plan is funded by a payroll deduction, currently .8% of your salary. An annuity is paid to you after meeting eligibility requirements for retirement or disability. Benefits are paid based on years of service, age, and the highest three consecutive years of salary.
- Each year FERS employees, through payroll deduction, pay a percentage of their salary, up to a specified earnings amount set by the IRS. After retirement, but not before age 62, the retired employee and their eligible dependents receive monthly benefits.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
The TSP provides the opportunity to invest up to 10% of your salary in tax-deferred funds to enhance your retirement income. The government automatically invests 1% of your salary into your TSP account. Additionally, the government will contribute up to 5% of matching funds. Employees may invest in any or all of the three TSP funds administered by an independent government agency, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
In addition to the benefits of supplementing your retirement income and deferring taxes on your current income, the TSP provides a loan program that permits you to borrow cash up to the amount of your contribution.
Employees are paid biweekly over 26 pay periods. The federal government mandates that pay be deposited directly into the employee's financial institution account. Allotments such as savings bonds, credit union loans and disability insurance are offered as payroll deductions. The Judiciary does not allow for overtime pay. Subject to written guidelines and with prior approval of the Clerk, employees who work in excess of 80 hours per pay period will be granted compensatory leave.
Most judicial branch employees are classified under the Court Personnel System (CPS). While the CPS pay scale is linked to the General Schedule (GS) used by many other federal agencies, the court's system allows more flexibility in pay setting and position classification. Positions are assigned a classification level (CL) based on the requirements, complexities, scope, parameters and personal interactions necessary to perform the job. Steps are achieved within the classification levels depending on work performance. CPS classification levels range from CL 21 to CL 32.
- The Clerk's Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (actual public hours vary by division). Lunch does not exceed one hour.
- Judicial employees are held to high ethical standards as set forth in the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees. The Code addresses such issues as political activity, appearance of impropriety in outside activities, and conflicts of interest.
- It is the policy of the Clerk's Office to promote professional development and ongoing training for all employees. New employees participate in an orientation program as well as receiving job-specific training.