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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • See the General Schedule classification and pay system fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/GSClassandpay.asp
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  • Previously, OPM's regulations in 5 CFR 630.502(b) provided that an employee was entitled to a recredit of sick leave if he or she was reemployed in another Federal position within 3 years after separation. On December 2, 1994, OPM issued final regulations that removed the 3-year break-in-service limitation on the recredit of sick leave for former employees who are reemployed on or after December 2, 1994. Sick leave may not be recredited to employees who were reemployed in the Federal service before December 2, 1994, and who previously forfeited sick leave under the former rule.
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  • Agencies should specify the beginning date of the service requirement in the job candidate’s or employee’s service agreement.  The service requirement begins at the time specified in the service agreement, but may begin no earlier than the date the service agreement is signed or earlier than the date the individual begins serving in the position for which he or she was recruited (when student loan repayment benefits are approved to recruit a job candidate to fill an agency position).
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  • Under current severance pay regulations (5 CFR 550.706), employees who resign because they expect to be involuntarily separated are considered to have been involuntarily separated for severance pay purposes ONLY IF they resign after receiving-
    1. a specific written notice stating that the employee will be involuntarily separated by a particular action (e.g., reduction in force) on a particular date (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(1); or
    2. a general written notice of reduction in force or transfer of function that announces that all positions in the competitive area will be abolished or transferred to another commuting area by a particular date no more than 1 year after the date of the notice (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(2)).
    However, if the specific or general notice is cancelled before the resignation is effected, the resignation would not be qualifying for severance pay purposes. (See 5 CFR 550.706(c).If the specific notice deals with involuntary separation by reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures, the notice must meet the conditions in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H. A general notice has no standing under the RIF program and is not subject to RIF rules. A general notice cannot be used to meet the RIF notice requirements in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H.A Certification of Expected Separation under 5 CFR 351.807 is not a qualifying specific or general notice under the severance pay regulations.Entitlement to certain benefits--such as training assistance, priority placement rights, appeal rights, etc.--may be affected by an employee's decision to resign in advance of an actual involuntary separation action. The employing agency should inform affected employees of these implications before they accept a resignation.Even if a resignation is considered an "involuntary separation" under the severance pay rules, the employee may not be eligible for severance pay under 5 U.S.C. 5595 and 5 CFR part 550, subpart G, for other reasons. The employee must meet all applicable eligibility requirements.
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  • 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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  • Yes. An employee who is a member of the Reserves or National Guard serving on active military duty which extends into a second or succeeding fiscal year may accrue and use the 15 days of military leave which accrue at the beginning of the second fiscal year and each succeeding fiscal year without return to civilian status. In addition, an employee who has been activated in support of the national emergency whose duty extends into the next calendar year will be entitled to up to an additional 22 days of military leave under 6323(b).
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  • Yes. Under 5 U.S.C. 6306, when an individual who received a lump-sum payment for accumulated and accrued annual leave under 5 U.S.C. 5551 is reemployed in the Federal service before the end of the period covered by the lump-sum payment, he or she must refund to the employing agency an amount equal to the pay covering the period between the date of reemployment and the expiration of the lump-sum period. The refund is deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the employing agency. The refund is based on the rate of pay used to compute the lump-sum payment; e.g., an employee who received a lump-sum payment based on a GS-7 special salary rate must refund the lump-sum payment based on that same pay rate, even if he or she is reemployed at a lower grade level that is not covered by special salary rates.When an individual is reemployed in the Federal service in a position covered by the Federal leave system under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2), an amount of annual leave equal to the leave represented by the refund is recredited to the employee by the employing agency. When an individual is reemployed in the Federal service in a position not covered under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2), but is covered by a formal leave system, the amount of annual leave to be recredited to the employee will be determined using the rule for recrediting annual leave in 5 CFR 630.501(b).Individuals who are reemployed in a position excepted from the Federal leave system by 5 U.S.C. 6301(2)(ii), (iii), (vi), or (vii) are not required to refund a lump-sum payment. Individuals who are reemployed in the Federal service after expiration of the lump-sum period and individuals who are reemployed in the Federal service in a position that does not have a formal leave system in which the employee's annual leave may be recredited are not required to refund the lump-sum payment. Individuals who are reemployed in a position excepted from the Federal leave system by 5 U.S.C. 6301(2)(x)-(xiii) must refund the lump-sum payment, and the annual leave will be held in abeyance until the employee transfers to a position in which the annual leave may be recredited or the employee later becomes eligible for a lump-sum payment.A number of Comptroller General opinions on lump-sum payments may be found in the Civilian Personnel Law Manual, Title II--Leave, chapter 3, Lump-Sum Leave Payments.
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  • Yes. Effective November 24, 2003, all employees who have been activated in support of the national emergency declared by the President are entitled to the 22 days of military leave under 5 U.S.C. 6323(b).
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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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  • 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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