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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Computation of Payment of Reservist Differential

  • A retention incentive is an incentive an agency may pay to a current employee if--
    • The agency determines that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the agency for the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee and the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive, or
    • The agency has a special need for the employee’s services that makes it essential to retain the employee in his or her current position during a period of time before the closure or relocation of the employee’s office, facility, activity, or organization and the employee would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.
    (See 5 CFR 575.301, 575.315(a)(1), the Retention Incentives (likely to leave the Federal service) fact sheet, and the Retention Incentives (likely to leave for a different Federal position) fact sheet.)
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  • See the retention incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RETINCFED.asp
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  • Under 5 CFR 575.310(e), agencies may address the extent to which periods of time in a nonpay status (excluding military leave without pay) or in a paid leave status (or paid time off status) are creditable toward the completion of a retention incentive service period. 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 retention service period.
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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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  • See the recruitment incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RECBONFS.asp
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • For the purpose of paying a recruitment incentive, newly appointed refers to —
    • The first appointment, regardless of tenure, as an employee of the Federal Government;
    • An appointment of a former employee of the Federal Government following a break in service of at least 90 days; or
    • An appointment of an individual in the Federal Government when his is her Federal service during the 90-day period immediately preceding the appointment was limited to one or more of the following:
      • A time-limited appointment in the competitive or excepted service;
      • A non-permanent appointment (excluding a Schedule C appointment under 5 CFR part 213) in the competitive or excepted service;
      • Employment with the government of the District of Columbia (DC) when the candidate was first appointed by the DC government on or after October 1, 1987;
      • An appointment as an expert or consultant under 5 U.S.C. 3109 and 5 CFR part 304;
      • Employment under a provisional appointment designated under 5 CFR 316.403; or
      • Employment under the Student Career Experience Program under 5 CFR 213.3202(b).
    (See the definition of newly appointed in 5 CFR 575.102.)
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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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