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Pay & Leave Leave Administration

Fact Sheet: Extension of Higher Annual Leave Accrual Rate to SES and SL/ST Equivalent Pay Systems

Description

Members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and employees in senior-level (SL) and scientific or professional (ST) positions accrue annual leave at the rate of 1 day (8 hours) per biweekly pay period without regard to their length of service with the Federal Government. The head of an agency may request that OPM authorize this same annual leave accrual rate for additional categories of employees. Such categories of employees must be -

  • covered by 5 U.S.C. 6301 (i.e., by the title 5 leave provisions); and
  • deemed by OPM to hold positions equivalent to the SES or SL/ST pay systems.

Extension of higher annual leave accrual rates is a discretionary flexibility agencies can use to recruit and retain employees to meet the agency's strategic human capital needs.

Request for Extension of Higher Annual Leave Accrual Rate

Agency heads may request that OPM authorize the extension of the higher annual leave accrual rate for a specific category of employees. The request should explain how the affected pay system is equivalent to the SES or SL/ST pay systems as described in each of the four requirements outlined below, and provide supporting documentation.

Requirement 1

Employees in the pay system must be covered by the title 5 leave provisions.

To meet this requirement, the agency must determine that the employees in the pay system are "employees" under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2) and make a statement to that effect in their request to OPM.

Requirement 2

Pay rates are established under an administratively determined pay system under a separate statutory authority.

  • If the position has a single rate of pay established under an authority outside of 5 U.S.C. chapters 51 and 53, that single rate (excluding locality pay) must be higher than the rate for GS-15, step 10 (excluding locality pay).
  • If the position is paid within a rate range established under an authority outside of 5 U.S.C. chapters 51 and 53, the minimum rate of the rate range (excluding locality pay) must be at least equal to the minimum rate for the SES and SL/ST pay systems (120 percent of the rate for GS-15, step 1, excluding locality pay), and the maximum rate of the rate range (excluding locality pay) must be at least equal to the rate for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

To meet these requirements, the agency should -

  • State whether the pay system has a single rate of pay or whether it is paid within a rate range.
    • If it has a single rate of pay, state the single rate of pay and provide the necessary supporting documentation.
    • If it is paid within a rate range, state the minimum and maximum rates of the range and provide the necessary supporting documentation.
  • Provide a copy of the statutory authority with relevant citation.

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Requirement 3

Covered positions are equivalent to an SES position as defined in 5 U.S.C. 3132(a)(2), an SL position (i.e., a non-executive position that is classified above GS-15, such as a high-level special assistant or a senior attorney in a highly-specialized field who is not a manager, supervisor, or policy advisor), or an ST position as described in 5 U.S.C. 3104.

To meet these requirements the agency should -

  • Explain how the position is equivalent to an SES, SL, or ST position; and
  • Provide documentation supporting these statements, such as position descriptions and organizational charts.

Requirement 4

Covered positions are subject to a performance appraisal system established under 5 U.S.C. chapter 43 and 5 CFR part 430, subparts B or C, or other applicable legal authority, for planning, monitoring, developing, evaluating, and rewarding employee performance.

To meet these requirements, the agency should -

  • State whether the performance appraisal systems covering the pay system was established -
    • Under 5 U.S.C. chapter 43 and 5 CFR part 430 and provide a copy of the appraisal system's OPM approval letter; or
    • Under another applicable legal authority, and
      • Provide a copy of the performance appraisal requirements (e.g., authorizing legislation, demonstration project Federal Register Notice)
      • Document how the appraisal system meets the requirements of 5 CFR 430.201(c) for an equivalent system.
  • Provide implementation documentation, such as copies of the performance standards and performance evaluation forms for the positions.

Coverage

If OPM approves an agency's request, the higher annual leave accrual rate is extended to all employees within the category for which the request was made.

Effective Dates

If OPM approves an agency's request, the higher annual leave accrual rate will become effective at the beginning of the pay period during which the request is approved.

Effect of Movement to a Non-covered Position

The higher annual leave accrual rate applies only to an employee who holds a position in a pay system determined by OPM to be equivalent to the SES or SL/ST pay system. An employee who moves from a covered pay system to a noncovered pay system is no longer entitled to the higher annual leave accrual rate. Upon movement to a noncovered pay system, an employee's annual leave accrual rate must be re-determined based on the employee's years of creditable service. Any annual leave accrued or accumulated by the employee under the covered position remains to the employee's credit.

Submission of Requests

Requests should be submitted to -

Angela Bailey
Associate Director
Employee Services
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street NW.
Washington, DC 20415-8200

References

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