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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • The statute authorizing this program states that this incentive is to be used for employees of a given agency who have outstanding student loans.  Thus, if the employee has a PLUS loan for his or her child, the loan would qualify for repayment.  However, if a PLUS loan is held by an employee’s parent, the employee is not eligible for loan repayment benefits for the parent’s PLUS loan.  While a PLUS loan an employee has previously taken out to help pay for his or her child's education is a qualifying student loan under 5 U.S.C. 5379(a)(1)(B) and 5 CFR 537.102, an agency may specify in its agency loan repayment plan that it will not offer to repay PLUS loans under its student loan repayment program.
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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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  • Yes.  All “highly qualified” personnel, regardless of job series, including Senior Executive Service members, Federal Wage System employees, and employees covered by administratively determined pay systems, are eligible unless specifically excluded by law or regulation.
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  • When a temporary promotion is made permanent immediately after the temporary promotion ends, the employee is not returned to the lower grade in order to process the permanent promotion. See 5 CFR 531.214(e). The agency must convert the employee’s temporary promotion to a permanent promotion without a change in pay. The appropriate action is to process the promotion (nature of action code 702) showing the higher grade as the grade before and after promotion. (See rules 5 and 6, Table 14-B, chapter 14, of the Office of Personnel Management’s Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.) In effect, the promotion increase granted at the time of the temporary promotion is ratified and made permanent by the removal of the not-to-exceed limitation on the temporary promotion.If there is any period of time between the end of a temporary promotion and the beginning of a permanent promotion, the employee must be returned to the lower grade. As required by 5 CFR 531.215(c), the agency must recompute the employee’s rate of basic pay for the lower grade as if the employee had never been temporarily promoted.If the employee’s temporary promotion was for more than 1 year, the agency may choose, at its discretion, to apply the maximum payable rate rule in 5 CFR 531.221 if that would yield a higher rate. Under the maximum payable rate rule, an agency may set pay at any step equal to or less than the maximum payable rate, but not less than the rate to which the employee is entitled under the normal pay-setting rules. Whatever method is used, the resulting rate is the basis for any subsequent promotion action.
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  • No. The Comptroller General has ruled that an individual on active duty military service may not be employed in a civilian capacity with the Government. The Comptroller General has held that the rendition of services to the Government in a civilian capacity by a member of the armed services on active duty is incompatible with the member's actual or potential military duties and payment for such services is not authorized in the absence of specific statutory authority. This is the case even though the civilian services are rendered during the military member's hours of relaxation or time provided to attend to personal affairs. (See 64 Comp. Gen. 395, 399-400 (1985), and 47 Comp. Gen. 505-506 (1968).)
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  • Yes. An employee who has received a RIF notice and is being involuntarily separated from an agency due to reduction in force or transfer of function may elect to use annual leave and remain on the agency's rolls after the date the employee otherwise would have been separated in order to establish initial eligibility for immediate retirement, including discontinued service or voluntary early retirement. The same option is also available to acquire eligibility to continue health benefits into retirement. In addition, an employee who is being involuntarily separated under adverse action procedures because of his or her decision to decline relocation (including transfer of function) may use annual leave to remain on the agency's rolls after the effective date of the relocation to establish initial eligibility for immediate retirement (including discontinued service or voluntary early retirement) and/or to establish initial eligibility to continue health benefits coverage into retirement. For further information, contact your agency personnel office or retirement counselor.
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  • See the credit hours fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/Cred_hrs.asp
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  • For the purpose of paying a retention incentive, rate of basic pay means the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position to which an employee is 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 575.302.)
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  • Yes. Each agency has discretionary authority to determine when it is appropriate to grant a reasonable amount of excused absence to employees who are unavoidably delayed in arriving for work. Factors such as distance, availability of transportation, and the success of other employees in similar situations should be considered in determining the amount of excused absence to grant. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisors of their situation.  It is up to each supervisor to determine what is a reasonable amount of time to allow for excused absences for late arrival to ensure that the employee's work requirements are fulfilled and that the agency's operations are conducted efficiently and effectively.  Employees designated as "emergency employees" are expected to report for work on time.  However, agencies may, at their discretion and as circumstances dictate, grant a reasonable amount of excused absence to emergency employees who arrive late for work. The Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures, available at https://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/dismissal.pdf, discusses the “unscheduled leave/unscheduled telework” announcement in more detail.
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  • The following Federal holidays are established by law (5 U.S.C. 6103):
    • New Year's Day (January 1).
    • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
    • Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February).
    • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
    • Independence Day (July 4).
    • Labor Day (First Monday in September).
    • Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).
    • Veterans Day (November 11).
    • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
    • Christmas Day (December 25).
    For information on the observation of these holidays within Federal employee work schedules, please see the Federal holidays fact sheet at http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/HOLIDAY.asp.
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