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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

How does an agency determine what constitutes a group or category of employees?

An agency must narrowly define a targeted category of employees using factors that relate to the group or category‘s unusually high or unique qualifications (i.e., competencies) or the agency‘s special need for the employees‘ services and the high risk that a significant number of the employees will leave the Federal service or for a different Federal position in the absence of a retention incentive.   Factors that may be appropriate include the following:  occupational series, grade level, distinctive job duties, unique competencies required for the position, assignment to a special project, minimum agency service requirements, organization or team designation, geographic location, and required rating of record.  (While a rating of record of higher than "Fully Successful" may be a factor used in defining the targeted category, a rating of record by itself is not sufficient to justify a retention incentive.)  Each retention incentive authorized for a group of employees likely to leave for another Federal position may cover no more than one occupational series.   (See 5 CFR 575.306(c)(2) and 575.315(d)(4).)

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