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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives

  • 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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  • See the relocation incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RELBONFS.asp
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  • The service agreement may include any other terms or conditions that, if violated, will result in termination of the service agreement. For example, the service agreement may specify the employee’s work schedule, type of position, and the duties he or she is expected to perform. In addition, the service agreement may address the extent to which periods of time on detail, in a nonpay status, or in a paid leave status are creditable towards the completion of the service period. (See 5 CFR 575.110(f) and 575.210(f).)
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  • Yes, provided all other requirements are met. For example, a temporary appointment must be for at least 6 months to meet the minimum period of employment required by 5 CFR 575.110(a) for a service agreement.
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  • If service with the agency (for a recruitment incentive) or at the new duty station (for a relocation incentive) does not begin on the first day of a pay period, the agency must delay the service period commencement date so that a required service period begins on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after the commencement of service in the agency or at the new duty station. An agency also may delay a service agreement commencement date until after an employee completes an initial period of formal training or a required probationary period when continued employment in the position is contingent on successful completion of the formal training or probationary period. The agency must make the determination to pay an incentive before the employee enters on duty in the position for which recruited or to which relocated. However, the service agreement must specify that if the employee does not successfully complete the training or probationary period before the service period commences, the agency is not obligated to pay any portion of the incentive to the employee. (See 5 CFR 575.110(b) and 575.210(b).)
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  • For the purpose of determining the number of years in a service period, divide the total number of calendar days in the service period by 365 and round the result to two decimal places. For example, a service period covering 39 biweekly pay period equals 546 days, and 546 days divided by 365 days equals 1.50 years. (See 5 CFR 575.109(b)(3) and 575.209(b)(3).)
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  • Under 5 CFR 575.110(f) and 575.210(f), agencies may address the extent to which periods of time in a nonpay status or in a paid leave status (or paid time off status) are creditable toward the completion of an incentive service period and to determine whether recruitment or relocation incentive installment payments will continue as scheduled while an employee is in a non-pay status or paid leave status, with the exception of an employee who is on military leave without pay. An employee who is absent because of uniformed service is generally entitled upon reemployment to be treated as though he or she had never left. (See 5 CFR 353.107.) This means that a person who is reemployed following uniformed service receives credit for the entire period of the absence for the purpose of rights and benefits based upon seniority and length of service, including within-grade increases, career tenure, completion of probation, leave rate accrual, and severance pay. Therefore, the period of military LWOP is creditable toward the completion of a recruitment or relocation incentive service period, and scheduled recruitment or relocation installment payments specified in the service agreement must continue during the period of military LWOP.
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  • No.  DOD and Coast Guard NAFI employees must have a 90-day break-in-service to be eligible for a recruitment incentive upon movement to a position listed in 5 CFR 575.103 (unless one of the remaining exclusions in the definition of “newly appointed” applies).
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  • Before the employee enters on duty in the position for which recruited, or in the position in the new geographic area, the agency must determine that, in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive (as applicable), the agency would encounter difficulty in filling the position. An agency may determine that a position is likely to be difficult to fill if the agency is likely to have difficulty recruiting candidates with the competencies required for the position in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive based on the fact that OPM has approved the use of a direct-hire authority applicable to the position or on a consideration of the following factors:
    • The availability and quality of candidates possessing the competencies required for the position, including the success of recent efforts to recruit candidates for similar positions using indicators such as offer acceptance rates, the proportion of positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions;
    • The salaries typically paid outside the Federal Government for similar positions;
    • Recent turnover in similar positions;
    • Employment trends and labor-market factors that may affect the agency's ability to recruit candidates for similar positions;
    • Special or unique competencies required for the position;
    • Agency efforts to use non-pay authorities, such as special training and work scheduling flexibilities, to resolve difficulties, alone or in combination with a recruitment or relocation incentive;
    • The desirability of the duties, work or organizational environment, or geographic location of the position; and
    • Other supporting factors.
    (See 5 CFR 575.106 and 575.206.)
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  • Yes. An agency may pay a recruitment incentive to an employee who has not yet entered on duty if the individual has accepted a written offer of employment and has signed a service agreement. (See 5 CFR 575.109(d).)
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