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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Computation of Payment of Reservist Differential

  • See the retention incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RETINCFED.asp
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  • See the recruitment incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RECBONFS.asp
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  • No. By law, compensatory time off may be approved instead of overtime pay for irregular or occasional (unscheduled) overtime hours of work. See 5 U.S.C. 5543(a). If an employee is scheduled in advance of his or her administrative workweek (i.e., regularly scheduled) to attend an extended training course, such training would not be irregular or occasional (unscheduled) overtime hours. Therefore, the employee may not receive compensatory time off instead of overtime pay for the extended training hours. Please see OPM's fact sheet on compensatory time off for further guidance (http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/COMP.HTM). (Note: Employees on flexible work schedules may earn compensatory time off for regularly scheduled overtime hours, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 6123(a)(1) and 5 CFR 550.114(b) and 551.531(b). However, employees usually are not on flexible work schedules during periods of training.)
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  • The law does not require that a candidate or employee earn a degree, diploma, or certificate to be eligible for a student loan repayment benefit.  However, an agency may require a degree, diploma, or certificate as part of its individual agency plan.  Agencies are encouraged to tailor their plans to fit their specific needs.
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  • Student trainees may be eligible for a special rate even though their series is not listed in a special rate authorization.Student trainees are required to be officially classified in an occupational series ending in "99" for the appropriate occupational group. (See 5 CFR 213.3202(b)(14).) All student trainee positions should be titled "Student Trainee" followed by the parenthetical title consistent with the occupational field involved (e.g., GS-899 Student Trainee (Civil Engineering)).Student trainees classified in a "99" occupational series are covered by a special rate table if (a) their officially classified parenthetical titles link directly to an official title for a covered series, (b) their positions are classified at one of the covered grades, (c) they fully meet the qualification requirements for the covered series and grade, and (d) they meet all other coverage requirements for the special rate table in question (e.g., official worksite location). In other words, a student trainee who is fully qualified to be classified in a series and grade that is covered by special rates is entitled to the appropriate special rate if the student trainee otherwise would be eligible but for the use of the "99" occupational series code.This has been OPM's policy since 1988, when the requirement to classify all student trainees in "99" series was put into effect. (This policy was communicated to agencies via an OPM memorandum to agency personnel directors dated August 3, 1988.) Each agency should ensure that it is following this policy. If an agency determines that it has not been paying a student trainee a special rate to which the student trainee was entitled, back pay would be appropriate, consistent with 5 CFR part 550, subpart H.Please note that for occupations with a positive educational requirement, student trainees must meet or exceed the minimum educational requirements for the given special rates-covered occupational series and grade, as well as any other criteria specified for that particular occupational series. For example, the minimum educational requirement at the GS-5 grade level may include a bachelor's degree in a specific field of study. In this situation, only those students who meet this requirement will be eligible for the special rate.As part of a request for new or revised special rates, agencies may ask that student trainees in a covered occupational category be covered by special rates without regard to the qualification requirements that apply to employees in a regular occupational series (i.e., a series other than a student trainee series). OPM has authority to expressly provide in the special rate authorization that all student trainees in a given "99" occupational series with qualifying parenthetical titles are covered by the special rate table, if they are otherwise eligible. Absent such express authorization, coverage must be determined as described in the above paragraphs.
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  • Current Federal employees or potential candidates may contact their current or potential employing agency for further information.  Each participating agency must develop a plan that describes how the agency will implement the student loan repayment program.
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  • It is up to the agency to decide how long to set the service period for retention incentives. Since the reason for the incentive is to encourage an employee to remain with the agency, the agency should consider what service period length would best help achieve this objective, i.e., what the agency believes to be a reasonable period of service for the amount of incentive it is willing to pay.  A service period under a service agreement for an employee likely to leave for a different Federal position may not extend past the date on which the employee’s position is actually affected by the relocation or closure of the employee’s office, facility, activity, or organization (e.g., the date the employee’s position moves to a new geographic location or the date the employee’s position is eliminated.)
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  • Waiver requests must include a description of the critical agency need the proposed incentive would address, the documentation required for the agency's written determination to authorize a recruitment incentive under 5 CFR 575.108 or a relocation incentive under 5 CFR 575.208, the proposed incentive payment amount and a justification for that amount, the timing and method of making the incentive payments, the service period required, and any other information pertinent to the case at hand. (See 5 CFR 575.109(c)(2) and 575.209(c)(2).)
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  • Under 5 CFR 575.310(b), a service period must begin on the first day of a pay period and end on the last day of a pay period.
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  • Yes. By law, severance payments must be discontinued when the recipient is "reemployed by the Government of the United States." (See 5 U.S.C. 5595(d).) The U.S. Postal Service is part of the U.S. Government. The fact that Postal Service employees are not entitled to receive severance pay under section 5595 (due to the exclusion at 5 U.S.C. 2105(e)) is irrelevant. (We note that past Postal Service employment is creditable service for purposes of computing an employee's severance pay fund. See 5 CFR 550.708(b).)If the Postal Service job is without time limitation, severance payments are terminated. However, if the Postal Service job carries a definite time limitation, then severance payments are merely suspended for the duration of the time-limited appointment and may be resumed after separation. (See 5 CFR 550.710-711. Note: We plan to revise these regulations to clarify that, consistent with the law, any Federal employment terminates or suspends severance payments.)
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