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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • An intermittent schedule is appropriate only when the nature of the work is so sporadic and unpredictable that a regularly scheduled tour of duty cannot be scheduled in advance. In establishing the Student Educational Employment Program, OPM did not intend to have STEP or SCEP students working on intermittent schedules. Students may work full- or part-time schedules, however, as best meets their needs and the needs of the agency
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  • Health and life insurance coverage for Federal employees depends on the type of appointment an employee has and the expectation of substantial employment during the year. Students in the Student Temporary Employment Program are considered temporary employees and are generally not entitled to these benefits. However, once students have been continuously employed for a year without a break in service exceeding 5 days, they may enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, but they would have to pay 100 percent of the premium (i.e., both the employee and government share). There is no provision for temporary employees to be eligible for life insurance coverage. Students in the Student Career Experience Program are eligible for both health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment authority for at least one year and are expected to be in a pay status for at least one-third of the total period of time from the date of their initial appointment to the date of the completion of the program. Cost of premiums is split between the employee and the agency, as for all permanent employees. (See 5 CFR § 870.202 for life insurance and 5 CFR § 890.102 for health benefits.)
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  • Upon satisfactory completion of course requirements.
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  • Agencies develop their own procedures for interview practices. The decision to interview may depend on a variety of factors, including your ranking against other candidates, the number of positions being filled, and the number of people who applied.
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  • The Federal Register has posted the new regulation on the Federal Register website at http://origin.www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/ and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has posted it on its website at www.opm.gov/fedregis and www.opm.gov/disability. OPM provided notification to Federal agencies through the Chief Human Capital Officer Council.
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  • Agencies should use this hiring authority for a number of good reasons:
    • Individuals with disabilities are a source of excellent applicants.
    • No public notice is required. This may shorten the time to hire a well qualified candidate
    • It can support an agency's Career Patterns initiative. Technological advances and growing emphasis on telework may dovetail with the needs of many applicants with disabilities.
    • Agencies don't have to clear surplus employees lists prior to using the appointing authority.
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  • Agencies may wish to modify their performance plans to allow student evaluations after a minimum of 320 hours in order to take advantage of this new flexibility. If the student meets the criteria for exceptional job performance and outstanding academic achievement, the program allows an agency to evaluate a SCEP student after 320 hours.
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  • There is no overarching requirement that applicants applying for positions in the excepted service be U.S. citizens. However, the student must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident or otherwise authorized to be employed. Note, some agencies are precluded from hiring non-citizens by a ban in their appropriations act. Agencies should check with their financial officer or general counsel's office when considering a student who is a non-citizen. Students who participate in the Student Career Experience Program may not be converted to career conditional employment in the competitive service unless they are citizens at the time of conversion.
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  • Students in the Student Career Experience Program are eligible for within-grade increases. For students in the Student Temporary Employment Program, eligibility for within-grade increases depends on the pay system of the occupation. Temporary WG employees are eligible for within-grade increases; temporary GS employees are not eligible for within-grade increases.
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  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals may be appointed to competitive service Federal jobs. In rare cases, agencies may hire certain non-citizens when there are no qualified U.S. citizens available, unless the appointment is prohibited by statute. In addition, Congress frequently restricts agencies’ ability to hire non-citizens into the excepted service as well, through appropriations provisions. For more information about citizenship requirements, please visit: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/EI9.asp.
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