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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Pay Administration

  • No. When an employee performs a duty for which a hazard pay differential is authorized, the agency must pay the hazard pay differential for all of the hours in which the employee is in a pay status on the day on which the duty is performed. (5 CFR 550.905)
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  • OPM typically asks agencies to submit the following information with amendment requests, as applicable:
    1. a detailed description of the hazardous duty or physical hardship (i.e., explain what causes the hazard);
    2. specific wording of the proposed category (as it would appear in appendix A), including the threshold for payment and the recommended percentage to be paid;
    3. information on ways to mitigate the hazard (e.g., training, use of safety procedures and equipment);
    4. information on the measures the agency has taken to practically eliminate the hazard;
    5. an explanation of why the hazard is "unusual;"
    6. information on Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards or other published material on safety for the work situation. Information on how the agency will determine whether the hazard is reduced to a less than significant level;
    7. descriptions of and statistics on actual accidents or injuries that have occurred because of exposure to the hazard or physical hardship;
    8. information on when a decision is made not to expose an employee to the hazard or physical hardship;
    9. information about other Federal agencies that may be affected by such a category;
    10. information on Federal Wage System employees in the agency that may be exposed to the hazard or physical hardship in the same manner; and
    11. whether and in what manner the hazard has affected the classification of the position.
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  • Some title 38 employees are not covered by chapter 51 and are classified under the title 38 qualification-based grading system. Such employees are not covered by the hazardous duty pay authority.
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  • Previously, each employing agency was responsible for establishing an order of precedence for applying deductions from the gross pay of its civilian employees when gross pay was not sufficient to cover all authorized deductions.A memorandum dated July 30, 2008, to agency Human Resources Directors and payroll offices provides policy guidance to standardize the order of precedence when gross pay is not sufficient to permit all deductions. This guidance is part of the e-Payroll standardization initiative managed by the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and helps ensure consistency among payroll providers in the processing activities involved in ordering deductions when pay is insufficient to permit all deductions. The memorandum is on OPM's website at the link below.http://www.chcoc.gov/Transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=1477
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  • Agencies are not required to make loan payments in one lump sum.  In fact, making a loan payment in one lump sum to the loan holder on behalf of the employee accelerates the employee’s tax liability and may increase the resulting tax burden.  (See Questions and Answers on Tax Liability.)
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  • Agencies are responsible for making their own determination regarding what this term means.  In doing so, agencies should take into account consistency, fairness, and the cost to taxpayers of recovering monies owed to the Government.
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  • Severance pay liability rests with the agency employing the employee at the time of the involuntary separation that triggers the severance pay entitlement. In the scenario set forth in the question, the agency employing the employee in the time-limited job will be responsible for making severance payments when the time-limited appointment ends. Any severance pay entitlement that an employee may have based on an involuntary separation from a permanent appointment is immediately terminated (not suspended) when the employee receives a qualifying temporary appointment. (See 5 CFR 550.711.) Severance pay for an employee in a qualifying temporary appointment is triggered by the involuntary separation from that appointment (including expiration of the appointment as provided in the definition of "involuntary separation" in 5 CFR 550.703) and is computed using the rate of basic pay at the time of separation from that temporary job. (See 5 CFR 550.709(b).) Thus, the agency employing the individual in a time-limited job is liable for any severance payments. In contrast, if a temporary appointment is not qualifying for severance pay because the employee is hired 4 or more days after involuntary separation from a qualifying permanent appointment, the severance pay liability rests with the agency in which the employee had a permanent appointment. Severance payments by that agency are merely suspended during the temporary appointment.
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  • The applicable statute authorizes severance pay for employees who are "involuntarily separated from the service, not by removal for cause on charges of misconduct, delinquency, or inefficiency." (See 5 U.S.S. 5595(b).) A medical inability to perform one's duties is neither "misconduct" nor "delinquency;" therefore, the precise question is whether removal for such inability constitutes "inefficiency" for severance pay purposes. The legislative history of the severance pay statute suggests at least two guidelines for interpreting its provisions. First, severance pay is intended to help individuals who lose their Federal jobs through no fault of their own. Second, severance pay benefits should be construed liberally in favor of the employee. Accordingly, an employee who is removed for inability to perform his or her duties may receive severance pay if the inability is caused by a medical condition that is beyond the employee's control. This determination should be made by the employing agency based on acceptable medical documentation provided by the employee.
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  • Since a reduction in grade at the employee's request is a terminating event, a determination as to whether such a reduction occurred must be made at the time an employee under grade or pay retention is transferred. This determination must be made based on the actual grade of the employee's position rather than the employee's retained grade. For example, if the true grade of the employee's position is GS-12 and his or her retained grade is GS-13, then acceptance of a GS-12 position upon transfer to another agency is not considered a reduction in grade at the employee's request.In addition, the term reduced in grade or pay at the employee's request is defined in 5 CFR 536.103 to exclude any reduction in grade that is directly "caused or influenced by a management action." Thus, while a reduction in grade resulting from transfer to another agency may appear to be a voluntary movement, if that transfer was directly caused or influenced by a management action at the losing agency, the gaining agency must continue the employee's grade or pay retention.
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  • See the Sunday premium pay fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/sunday.htm
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