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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • Hazardous duty pay is additional pay for the performance of hazardous duty or duty involving physical hardship. Hazardous duty pay is payable to General Schedule (GS) employees covered by chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code. Prevailing rate (wage) employees are eligible to receive environmental differential pay in certain circumstances under a separate statutory provision (5 U.S.C. 5343(c)(4)).
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  • The statute authorizing this program states that this incentive is to be used for employees of a given agency who have outstanding student loans.  Thus, if the employee has a PLUS loan for his or her child, the loan would qualify for repayment.  However, if a PLUS loan is held by an employee’s parent, the employee is not eligible for loan repayment benefits for the parent’s PLUS loan.  While a PLUS loan an employee has previously taken out to help pay for his or her child's education is a qualifying student loan under 5 U.S.C. 5379(a)(1)(B) and 5 CFR 537.102, an agency may specify in its agency loan repayment plan that it will not offer to repay PLUS loans under its student loan repayment program.
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  • Yes.  All “highly qualified” personnel, regardless of job series, including Senior Executive Service members, Federal Wage System employees, and employees covered by administratively determined pay systems, are eligible unless specifically excluded by law or regulation.
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  • See the credit hours fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/Cred_hrs.asp
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  • Hazardous duty pay differentials are established under 5 CFR 550, appendix A to subpart I. You can find the Code of Federal Regulations on our web site at www.opm.gov/cfr/. Additional information about hazardous duty pay for GS employees can be found at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/hazduty.htm.

    Pay administration rules for environmental differentials are found in 5 CFR 532.511. Environmental differential pay categories are listed in appendix A to subpart E of 5 CFR part 532. Additional information about environmental differentials for prevailing rate employees can be found at www.opm.gov/oca/wage/APPFUND/.

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  • No. The Comptroller General has ruled that an individual on active duty military service may not be employed in a civilian capacity with the Government. The Comptroller General has held that the rendition of services to the Government in a civilian capacity by a member of the armed services on active duty is incompatible with the member's actual or potential military duties and payment for such services is not authorized in the absence of specific statutory authority. This is the case even though the civilian services are rendered during the military member's hours of relaxation or time provided to attend to personal affairs. (See 64 Comp. Gen. 395, 399-400 (1985), and 47 Comp. Gen. 505-506 (1968).)
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  • Employees generally are not entitled to holiday premium pay for the time they spend in work-related travel during holiday hours of their tours of duty, unless it meets one of the travel conditions listed below. Holiday premium pay is paid only to employees who perform work on a holiday. (See 5 U.S.C. 5546(b).) The Comptroller General has ruled that the criteria in 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) must be used to determine whether travel time is hours of work for holiday premium pay purposes. (These are the same criteria that are used to determine travel time as hours of work for title 5 overtime pay purposes. The criteria are also found in 5 CFR 550.112(g).) Time spent in a travel status is not hours of work for the purpose of paying premium pay, including holiday premium pay, unless it meets one of the criteria in 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2)(B) for crediting irregular or occasional hours of work for travel. The criteria state that time spent in a travel status away from the official duty station is not hours of employment unless the travel--

    • involves the performance of work while traveling (such as employment as a truck driver);
    • is incident to travel that involves the performance of work while traveling (such as "deadhead" travel performed by a truck driver to return an empty truck after unloading);
    • is carried out under arduous and unusual conditions (e.g., on unpaved roads); or
    • results from an event which could not be scheduled or controlled administratively by any individual or agency in the executive branch of the Government (such as training scheduled solely by a private firm or a job-related court appearance required by a court subpoena).

    (See Comptroller General opinions B-82637, March 28, 1949; B-168726, January 28, 1970; and 50 Comp. Gen. 519 (1971).) Note that this guidance applies to both Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempt and nonexempt employees. The provisions on travel time as hours of work for FLSA overtime pay purposes under 5 CFR 551.422 do not apply to the payment of holiday premium pay. Although most employees do not receive holiday premium pay for time spent traveling on a holiday, they continue to be entitled to pay for the holiday in the same manner as if the travel were not required.

    Note: Under 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2)(A), time spent traveling away from the official duty station is also hours of employment if the time spent is within the days and hours of an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek. However, this does not apply to travel time on a holiday for holiday premium pay purposes because an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek includes only periods of time in which an employee is regularly scheduled to work. The Comptroller General has ruled that travel time during holiday hours (whether driving or riding) is not work time and, therefore, does not fall within an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek. (See Comptroller General opinion B-160094, October 12, 1966, and the definition of "regularly scheduled administrative workweek" in 5 CFR 610.102.)

    Questions and Answers on Compensatory Time Off for Travel

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  • For the purpose of paying a retention incentive, rate of basic pay means the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position to which an employee is appointed before deductions and including any special rate supplement under 5 CFR part 530, subpart C, or similar payment under other legal authority and any locality-based comparability payment under 5 CFR part 531, subpart F, or similar payment under other legal authority, but excluding additional pay of any other kind. For example, a rate of basic pay does not include additional pay such as cost-of-living allowances or post differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5941, night shift differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5343(f) or environmental differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5343(c)(4). (See the definition of rate of basic pay in 5 CFR 575.302.)
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  • If an employee is already under grade or pay retention prior to transferring to another agency, the gaining agency must continue the employee's grade or pay retention entitlement, absent the occurrence of one of the terminating events set forth in law and regulation, such as a break in service of 1 workday or more or reduction in grade at the employee's request. (See 5 U.S.C. 5362(d) and 5 CFR 536.208 regarding termination of grade retention and 5 U.S.C. 5363(c) and 5 CFR 536.308 regarding termination of pay retention. See also question 3, below.)
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  • You may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Ordinarily, you must provide 30 days advance notice when the need for leave is foreseeable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, e.g., because of a medical emergency, you must provide notice within a reasonable period of time appropriate to the circumstances involved. An agency may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition and may require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense).

    If you cannot provide the required medical certification before FMLA leave is to begin, you must be provided provisional leave. Once this leave has commenced and you fail to provide the medical certification, the agency may charge you as absent without leave (AWOL) or may allow you to request that the provisional leave be charged as leave without pay or to your appropriate leave account.

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