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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • WGIs apply only to GS employees occupying permanent positions. "Permanent position" is defined in 5 CFR 531.403 as a position filled by an employee whose appointment is not designated as temporary and does not have a definite time limitation of 1 year or less. "Permanent position" includes a position to which an employee is promoted on a temporary or term basis for at least 1 year. The term does not include a position filled by an employee whose appointment is limited to 1 year or less and subsequently extended so that the total time of the appointment exceeds 1 year.
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  •  If an employee is reduced in grade or pay in conjunction with a transfer to another agency, there is no mandatory entitlement to grade or pay retention. However, the gaining agency may grant grade or pay retention under its optional authority (5 CFR 536.202 or 536.302), as long as the employee is otherwise qualified.One of the eligibility conditions is that the reduction in grade or pay not be "at the employee's request" (5 CFR 536.102(b)(1)). If the transfer is initiated by the employee for his or her benefit, convenience, or personal advantage (including a transfer to avoid adverse action based on personal cause), it would be considered to be at the employee's request, thus barring grade or pay retention. However, if the transfer was directly caused or influenced by a management action (not based on personal cause), then even though the transfer appeared to be voluntary, it would not be "at the employee's request." (See definitions ofmanagement action and reduced in grade or pay at the employee's request in 5 CFR 536.103.)For purposes of providing optional grade retention to a transferring employee, the management action must be either a specific RIF notice or a written announcement of a reorganization or reclassification that might result in reduction of the employee's grade. For purposes of optional pay retention, the management action must be an action that would result in a pay reduction (after the application of any applicable geographic conversion under 5 CFR 536.303(a) and in the absence of pay retention).Note: A movement between subcomponents of an Executive department or other Executive agency cannot be considered a transfer. Under the law, the term "agency" includes Executive departments and certain other agencies. (See 5 U.S.C. 101-105, 5102(a), and 5361(2).) Thus, it is possible for mandatory grade and pay retention to apply to an employee who moves between subcomponents of an Executive department or other Executive agency--e.g., if the employee is placed in a lower-graded position at management initiative as a result of reduction-in-force procedures.
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  • No. An employee is entitled to the greater of his civilian or military pay, not both. Under 5 U.S.C. 5519, the military pay received by an individual who has been activated in support of civil authorities or a contingency operation must be credited (less any travel, transportation, or other per diem allowances) against any Federal civilian pay the employee received during the 22 workdays of military leave. An agency may calculate the amount of military pay (less any travel, transportation, or per diem allowances) an employee will receive for the time period that corresponds to the 22 workdays of military leave and reduce the employee's civilian pay by that amount during the 22 workdays of military leave. In contrast, many agencies choose to continue to pay the employee his or her full civilian pay during the 22 workdays of military leave. At the end of the 22-day period of military leave, the agency requires the employee to refund to the agency an amount equal to the amount of military pay received (less any travel, transportation, or per diem allowances) up to the amount of his or her civilian pay for the time period that corresponds to the 22 workdays of military leave.
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  • 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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  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) entitles covered Federal employees to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave (leave without pay) during any 12-month period for certain family and medical needs, including the birth and care of a newborn. An employee may elect to substitute paid leave (e.g., annual or sick leave) for the unpaid FMLA leave, but only to the extent such paid leave is permitted under current law and regulations. If an employee chooses to invoke his or her entitlement to FMLA leave to care for a healthy newborn, he or she may only substitute annual leave for the unpaid leave, as there is no authority to use sick leave to care for a healthy child. An employee's entitlement to FMLA leave expires on the first anniversary of the child's birth.
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  • Agencies do not need to process any personnel actions (SF 50s) for periods of annual leave, military leave, earned compensatory time off for travel, or sick leave since the payroll system documents an employee's use of paid leave. Agencies should document an employee's use of leave without pay (LWOP) to perform duty with the uniformed services by processing a personnel action (SF 50) using nature of action "LWOP-US" (nature of action code 473). The effective date is the first day the employee begins to use leave without pay for duty with the uniformed services.Employees may use annual leave, military leave, compensatory time off for travel, or sick leave (consistent with the statutory and regulatory criteria for using sick leave), intermittently with leave without pay while performing duty with the uniformed services. OPM does not require that agencies process return-to-duty actions for each period of paid leave. Periods of "LWOP-US" may be interrupted by periods of annual leave or military leave without the need to process any additional personnel actions.
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  • A student loan is eligible if it is made, insured, or guaranteed under parts B, D, or E of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 or is a health education assistance loan made or insured under part A of title VII or part E of title VIII of the Public Health Service Act.
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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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  • 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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