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Frequently Asked Questions Training

  • Agencies should conduct a needs assessment before establishing any training and development program. Agencies are required to periodically assess (at minimum annually) the overall agency talent management program to identify training needs (5 CFR 410.201(4)).  The purpose of conducting a needs assessment is to identify performance requirements and competencies needed by the agency in order to achieve the agency mission (5 CFR 410.201(d)).  Training Needs Assessments identify “gaps” in performance required and current performance.   For more information on Training Needs Assessments, go to p. 13 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Agencies may adjust an employee’s normal work schedule for educational purposes to allow employees to attend a college or university course (5 CFR 610.122). For more information on adjustment of work schedules, go to p. 19 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • If an employee pays for training that occurs during work hours, the employee may either: (1) Request the supervisor consider the time in training as “hours of work” (5 CFR 551.423).  The employee does not use leave if he or she is in a work status. If the training relates to the employee’s job, the supervisor may agree to the employee being in a work status to attend.   (2) Request the supervisor approve annual leave to attend the training.  If the training does not relate to the employees job, the supervisor may not agree to the employee being in a work status to attend. For more information on training expenses, go to pp. 22-27 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, Comptroller General Decisions B-233243, B-213141- O.M., and B-321296 determined that agencies may use current fiscal year’s funds to pay for training in the next fiscal year, if the training is deemed a bona fide need. In order to classify as a bona fide need, the training must meet the following requirements:
    1. The training provider requires the agency to register during the expiring fiscal year;
    2. There is only one date offered; and
    3. The time between registration and the training is not excessive.
    For more information on carrying over fiscal year funds, go to p. 27 of the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • You may not need to evaluate every course or program. To determine whether or not to evaluate a particular course or program, consider the following: Is the program/course important or significant enough to warrant evaluation?
    • Is there a legal requirement to carry out a program evaluation?
    • Will the results of the evaluation influence decision-making about the program/course?
    • Will the evaluation answer questions posed by your stakeholders or those interested in the evaluation?
    You should evaluate those courses or programs where you answer “yes” for one or more of these questions. Agencies are required to evaluate their training programs annually (5 CFR 410.202).  For more information on training evaluation, go to pp. 33 and 34 in the Training Policy Handbook. You may also reference the Training Evaluation Field Guide on OPM’s website and OPM’s Training and Development wiki. 
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  • If the employee’s supervisor does not approve the training, the supervisor can choose not to modify the employee’s work schedule to accommodate the coursework. Please see OPM’s website regarding scheduling and approving Annual Leave: http://www.opm.gov/OCA/LEAVE/HTML/ANNUAL.asp You will find that supervisors are ultimately responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and approving of their employees' annual leave so that the agency's mission and employees' needs are met. A supervisor has the right to approve or deny any request for leave. For more information on work schedules, go to pp. 30-32 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • The Government Employees Training Act (GETA) became law in 1958 giving Federal agencies general authority for employee training.  Under GETA agencies manage their own training, determine their own training needs, and select and fund training to meet those needs.    GETA is codified in Chapter 41 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.). We are often asked where employees can access GETA funds.  There is no central GETA fund. Agencies must use their own appropriated training funds to pay for agency training programs.  For more information on GETA and Chapter 41 of title 5, go to pp. 6-11 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • It is up to the agency to allow or not allow non-supervisory employees to attend training designated specifically for supervisors.  Some agencies limit attendance to supervisors based on the content and need.  For instance, if a supervisor would feel more comfortable discussing topics solely with other supervisors, then an agency might limit attendance.  In addition, some agencies open attendance to non-supervisory employees based on space availability, and often it is limited to employees in the team leader role. For more information on supervisory training, go to pp. 42-45 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, if an agency requires a CSA, an employee must enter into a CSA in writing before the training begins (5 U.S.C. 4108(a) and 5 CFR 410.309(b)). A Continued Service Agreement (5 U.S.C. 4108 and 5 CFR 410.309) is a written agreement between the employee selected for training and the sponsoring Federal agency.  In the agreement, the employee agrees to (1)continue in the service of his agency after the end of the training period for at least three times the length of the training, and (2) pay to the Government incurred training expenses if he is voluntarily separated before the period of service ends.  You should include guidance on CSAs in your agency training policy manual. For more information on CSAs, go to pp. 21 and 22 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • There is no regulatory requirement that says an employee is obligated to participate in the entire training.  However, 5 CFR 410.405 states, “the head of an agency shall establish such procedures as he or she considers necessary to protect the Government’s interest when employees fail to complete, or to successfully complete, training for which the agency pays the expenses”.  It is up to the agency to develop and communicate such policies and procedures to employees before the training event.
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