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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Computation of Payment of Reservist Differential

  • No.  An agency has discretionary authority to repay certain types of Federally made, insured, or guaranteed student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for highly qualified candidates or current employees.
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  • Yes. An agency may pay a recruitment incentive to an employee who has not yet entered on duty if the individual has accepted a written offer of employment and has signed a service agreement. (See 5 CFR 575.109(d).)
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  • Yes. However, an agency may not include in a group retention incentive authorization an employee in a senior-level (SL), scientific or professional (ST), Senior Executive Service (SES), Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration (FBI/DEA) SES, or Executive Schedule (EX) position or similar categories of positions for which the payment of a retention incentive has been approved by OPM. (See 5 CFR 575.305(c) and 575.315(a)(2).) Retention incentives for employees in such positions must be approved on an individual, case-by-case basis.
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  • Before the employee enters on duty in the position for which recruited, or in the position in the new geographic area, the agency must determine that, in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive (as applicable), the agency would encounter difficulty in filling the position. An agency may determine that a position is likely to be difficult to fill if the agency is likely to have difficulty recruiting candidates with the competencies required for the position in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive based on the fact that OPM has approved the use of a direct-hire authority applicable to the position or on a consideration of the following factors:
    • The availability and quality of candidates possessing the competencies required for the position, including the success of recent efforts to recruit candidates for similar positions using indicators such as offer acceptance rates, the proportion of positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions;
    • The salaries typically paid outside the Federal Government for similar positions;
    • Recent turnover in similar positions;
    • Employment trends and labor-market factors that may affect the agency's ability to recruit candidates for similar positions;
    • Special or unique competencies required for the position;
    • Agency efforts to use non-pay authorities, such as special training and work scheduling flexibilities, to resolve difficulties, alone or in combination with a recruitment or relocation incentive;
    • The desirability of the duties, work or organizational environment, or geographic location of the position; and
    • Other supporting factors.
    (See 5 CFR 575.106 and 575.206.)
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  • No, in most situations.  However, under 5 CFR 575.205(e), an agency may commence a relocation incentive service agreement during a period of employment established under a service agreement for a previously authorized retention incentive or for which an employee is receiving previously authorized retention incentive payments without a service agreement.
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  • In addition to the information listed in 5 CFR 575.310, the service agreement must also include-
    • The conditions under which the agency must terminate the service agreement under 5 CFR 575.315(g), including the conditions under which the agency will pay an additional retention incentive payment for partially completed service under 5 CFR 575.311; and
    • A notification to the employee that the agency will review the determination to pay the retention incentive at least annually to determine whether payment is still warranted.
    (See 5 CFR 575.315(f).)
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  • FLSA-covered (nonexempt) employees are entitled to receive overtime pay for time spent in entry-level training on the sixth day of a 6-day training course under the conditions specified below.Time spent in apprenticeship or other entry-level training outside regular working hours is not considered hours of work, provided no productive work is performed during such periods (see 5 CFR 551.423(a)(3)). However, under 5 CFR 551.423(a)(1), time spent in training during regular working hours is considered hours of work. The regulations at 5 CFR 551.421 clarify that, for purposes of part 551, "regular working hours" means the days and hours of an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek established under 5 CFR part 610. The phrase "regularly scheduled administrative workweek" is defined in 5 CFR 610.102 as the period within an administrative workweek within which an employee is regularly scheduled to work. Also, see the definition of "regularly scheduled work" in 5 CFR 610.102, which hinges on whether the work was scheduled in advance of the administrative workweek.When FLSA-covered employees are scheduled in advance of the administrative workweek to attend a 6-day entry-level training class for a specified number of hours (e.g., 8 hours), those regularly scheduled training hours on the sixth day are "regular working hours" and are considered hours of work for overtime pay purposes. For example, an FLSA-covered employee who is required to attend a 6-day training session at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) is entitled to overtime pay for the sixth day of training, since the employee was scheduled in advance of the administrative workweek to attend the FLETC training course. Because the regularly scheduled training hours on the sixth day are considered to be "regular working hours" (and the training will not occur outside regular working hours), it is irrelevant that the FLETC training is entry-level training and that no productive work is being performed.Agencies are responsible for determining whether an employee is entitled to receive overtime pay for regularly scheduled training hours under the conditions specified above. Agencies may need to recompute an employee's overtime pay entitlement and provide back pay under 5 CFR part 550, subpart H, for overtime hours that occurred during regularly scheduled training.
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  • Loans made or insured under the Higher Education Act of 1965 include the following: Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL)
    • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Federal PLUS Loans
    • Federal Consolidation Loans
    William D. Ford Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans)
    • Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
    • Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
    • Direct PLUS Loans
    • Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loans
    • Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans
    Federal Perkins Loan Program
    • National Defense Student Loans (made before July 1, 1972)
    • National Direct Student Loans (made between July 1, 1972, and July 1, 1987)
    • Perkins Loans (made after July 1, 1987)
    Loans made or insured under the Public Health Service Act include the following:
    • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
    • Primary Care Loans (PCL)
    • Nursing Student Loans (NSL)
    • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
    • Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)
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  • Student trainees may be eligible for a special rate even though their series is not listed in a special rate authorization.Student trainees are required to be officially classified in an occupational series ending in "99" for the appropriate occupational group. (See 5 CFR 213.3202(b)(14).) All student trainee positions should be titled "Student Trainee" followed by the parenthetical title consistent with the occupational field involved (e.g., GS-899 Student Trainee (Civil Engineering)).Student trainees classified in a "99" occupational series are covered by a special rate table if (a) their officially classified parenthetical titles link directly to an official title for a covered series, (b) their positions are classified at one of the covered grades, (c) they fully meet the qualification requirements for the covered series and grade, and (d) they meet all other coverage requirements for the special rate table in question (e.g., official worksite location). In other words, a student trainee who is fully qualified to be classified in a series and grade that is covered by special rates is entitled to the appropriate special rate if the student trainee otherwise would be eligible but for the use of the "99" occupational series code.This has been OPM's policy since 1988, when the requirement to classify all student trainees in "99" series was put into effect. (This policy was communicated to agencies via an OPM memorandum to agency personnel directors dated August 3, 1988.) Each agency should ensure that it is following this policy. If an agency determines that it has not been paying a student trainee a special rate to which the student trainee was entitled, back pay would be appropriate, consistent with 5 CFR part 550, subpart H.Please note that for occupations with a positive educational requirement, student trainees must meet or exceed the minimum educational requirements for the given special rates-covered occupational series and grade, as well as any other criteria specified for that particular occupational series. For example, the minimum educational requirement at the GS-5 grade level may include a bachelor's degree in a specific field of study. In this situation, only those students who meet this requirement will be eligible for the special rate.As part of a request for new or revised special rates, agencies may ask that student trainees in a covered occupational category be covered by special rates without regard to the qualification requirements that apply to employees in a regular occupational series (i.e., a series other than a student trainee series). OPM has authority to expressly provide in the special rate authorization that all student trainees in a given "99" occupational series with qualifying parenthetical titles are covered by the special rate table, if they are otherwise eligible. Absent such express authorization, coverage must be determined as described in the above paragraphs.
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  • Under 5 CFR 575.310(b), a service period must begin on the first day of a pay period and end on the last day of a pay period.
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