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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Hazardous Duty Pay

  • 5 U.S.C. 5545(d) provides that if an employee is covered by chapter 51 (Classification) and subchapter III of chapter 53 (General Schedule Pay Rates) of title 5, United States Code, then he or she may be eligible to receive hazardous duty pay. To receive hazardous duty pay, a General Schedule (GS) employee must also meet the requirements in 5 CFR 550.904.(Note: Prevailing rate (wage) employees may be eligible to receive environmental differential pay under the separate provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5343(c)(4).)
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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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  • 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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  • Appendix A of 5 CFR part 550, subpart I (as provided by 5 CFR 550.903(a)).
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  • Hazardous duty is duty performed under circumstances in which an accident could result in serious injury or death. Duty involving a physical hardship is duty that may not in itself be hazardous, but causes extreme physical discomfort or distress and is not adequately alleviated by protective or mechanical devices.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 5 U.S.C. 5545(c)(1) & (2) authorize the payment of annual premium pay for regularly scheduled standby duty and administratively uncontrollable overtime work, and 5 U.S.C. 5545a(c) authorizes availability pay, instead of some other types of premium pay, including hazardous duty pay. Thus, hazardous duty pay may not be paid for hours of work for which an employee is paid these types of premium pay.
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