Click here to skip navigation
This website uses features which update page content based on user actions. If you are using assistive technology to view web content, please ensure your settings allow for the page content to update after initial load (this is sometimes called "forms mode"). Additionally, if you are using assistive technology and would like to be notified of items via alert boxes, please follow this link to enable alert boxes for your session profile.
An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives

  • Agencies may not pay a recruitment or relocation incentive to an employee in a position (1) to which the individual was appointed by the President; (2) in the Senior Executive Service as a non-career appointee; (3) which has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character; (4) designated as the head of an agency, including an agency headed by a collegial body composed of two or more individual members; or (5) in which the employee is expected to receive an appointment as the head of an agency. (See 5 CFR 575.104 and 575.204.)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • For the purpose of paying a recruitment or relocation incentive, rate of basic pay means the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position to which an employee is or will be 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 575.102 and 575.202.)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • It is up to the agency to decide how long to set the service period, within certain limitations (e.g., it cannot be shorter than 6 months for a recruitment incentive or longer than 4 years for a recruitment or relocation incentive). Since the reason for the incentive is to attract a candidate to accept a position or to encourage an employee to relocate to a position-and remain at that position-the agency should consider what service period would best help achieve these objectives, i.e., what the agency believes to be a reasonable period of service for the amount of incentive it is willing to pay.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • An agency must establish a single retention incentive rate for each individual or group of employees, expressed as a percentage of each employee’s rate of basic pay, not to exceed 25 percent (for an individual employee) or 10 percent (for a group or category of employees). (See 5 CFR 575.309(a).) With OPM approval, this cap may be increased to as much as 50 percent under the conditions specified in 5 CFR 575.309(e).
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. Agencies may pay relocation incentives to employees receiving a special rate or locality rate.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No, agencies are no longer required to consider using the superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority before they authorize a recruitment incentive. However, under 5 CFR 531.212(d) (as in effect on and after May 1, 2005), an agency must consider the possibility of authorizing a recruitment incentive when determining whether to use the superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority. The reason for the distinction is that agencies should first consider whether they can attract a candidate by using an authority which has limited implications for the agency budget because it does not increase the employee’s basic pay (e.g., a recruitment incentive) before using a flexibility that increases basic pay (e.g., the superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority) which has longer term cost implications.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Before paying a recruitment or relocation incentive, an agency must establish a plan for using the authority.  (See 5 CFR 575.107 and 575.207.)  The plan must include the designation of officials with authority to review and approve the payment of recruitment or relocation incentives, the designation of officials with authority to waive the repayment of a recruitment or relocation incentive, the categories of employees who are prohibited from receiving recruitment or relocation incentives, the required documentation for determining that a position is likely to be difficult to fill, requirements for determining the amount of an incentive, the payment methods that may be authorized, requirements governing service agreements (including criteria for determining the length of a service period, the conditions for terminating a service agreement, and the obligations of the agency and the employee if a service agreement is terminated), and documentation and recordkeeping requirements.   Unless the head of the agency determines otherwise, agency recruitment and relocation incentive plans must apply uniformly across the agency.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • For hourly rate employees who do not have a scheduled annual rate of basic pay, compute the annual rate by multiplying the applicable hourly rate in effect at the beginning of the service period by 2,087 hours. (See 5 CFR 575.109(b)(2) and 575.209(b)(2).)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The service agreement may include any other terms or conditions that, if violated, will result in termination of the service agreement. For example, the service agreement may specify the employee’s work schedule, type of position, and the duties he or she is expected to perform. In addition, the service agreement may address the extent to which periods of time on detail, in a nonpay status, or in a paid leave status are creditable towards the completion of the service period. (See 5 CFR 575.310(e).)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes.  See 5 CFR 575.309(i) and the definition of aggregate compensation at 5 CFR 530.202.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...