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Pay & Leave Recruitment, Relocation & Retention Incentives

 

Overview

Recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives (3Rs) are compensation flexibilities available to help Federal agencies recruit and retain a world-class workforce. The 3Rs are administered under 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754 and 5 CFR part 575, subparts A, B, and C.

Memos & Reports

Compensation Policy Memoranda

Reports to Congress

Section 101(c) of the Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-411, October 30, 2004) required the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit an annual report to specified committees of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives on agencies' use of the recruitment, relocation, and retention incentive authorities in 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754 during calendar years 2005-2009. The report provide data on and describe each agency's use of the incentives during the calendar year.

Calendar Year 2009

Previous Calendar Years

Fact Sheets

Non-GS Employees

Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentives: Coverage of Non-General Schedule Employees Under Single-Agency Pay Systems

Upon the request of the head of an executive agency, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may approve coverage under the recruitment, relocation, and retention incentive authorities of one or more categories of non-General Schedule employees in a single agency. (See 5 U.S.C. 5753(a)(1)(B) and 5754(a)(1)(B) and OPM regulations at 5 CFR 575.103(a)(7), 575.203(a)(7), and 575.303(a)(7).)

Agencies with one or more categories of non-General Schedule employees who are not specifically covered by the 3Rs regulations or an OPM approval may not provide 3Rs to these employees unless the agency has a separate statutory authority to do so. The statute must provide authority for the agency to grant payments similar to the 3Rs or additional compensation. A statute that only provides an agency with the authority to fix rates of basic pay for a category of employees would generally not be interpreted as providing authority to pay 3Rs payments because 3Rs are not considered rates of basic pay.

The following list shows the categories of employees OPM has approved to be covered by the 3Rs under 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754. The original approval date is in brackets after each category of employees.

Agriculture

AD (administratively determined) employees paid under 7 U.S.C. 426a, b, and c and appointed under 5 CFR 213.3113(a)(1) [04/27/1995]

Commerce

NOAA marine wage employees [10/23/1992]

AD and GG employees (Census Bureau) [05/05/1998]

Corporation for National Service

AD employees paid under 42 U.S.C. 12653h(c)(3) [09/15/1993]

Employees under Corporation for National Service alternative personnel system authorized by the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-82) [12/01/1995]

Defense

Employees appointed under enabling legislation for National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System [11/17/1991]

Employees appointed under enabling legislation for USNA, Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Army War College, Air Force Institute of Technology, and Air University [12/31/1991]

Navy marine wage employees [06/25/1992]

Faculty and staff of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) [10/19/1992]

Employees of section 6 schools [01/15/1993]

Employees under the Department of the Navy's Space and Warfare Command and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division alternative personnel system [05/30/2001]

Professional educators in the Department of Defense Education Activity paid under 20 U.S.C. chapter 29 [12/04/2001]

Employees of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) Faculty Personnel System covered by 10 U.S.C. 1595 [02/18/2005]

Employees of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) covered by 10 U.S.C. 1595 [06/07/2005]

Employees appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3161(b) in the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction [01/18/2006]

Employees of the Department of Defense National Defense University (including the Africa Center for Security Studies, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, and the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies) and the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies whose pay is administratively determined under 10 U.S.C. 1595 [04/10/2006]

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employees whose pay is administratively determined under 10 U.S.C. 1601 [02/23/2007]

Employees appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3161(b) in the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction [03/29/2010]

Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission employees appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3161(b) whose pay is administratively determined [09/06/13]

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

Professional and technical personnel paid under Section 161d of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended by Public Law 101-510) [01/02/2008]

Education

Senior managers and technical and scientific employees in the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs appointed and paid under the Higher Education Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-44) [09/30/1999]

Election Assistance Commission

Employees paid in accordance with section 204(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [10/08/2004]

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Energy

Power system dispatchers [01/15/1993]

Wage board employees of the (1) Bonneville Power Administration whose pay is negotiated under the Bonneville Project Act of 1937 (16 U.S.C. 8321); (2) Southwestern Power Administration whose pay is negotiated under the Department of Interior secretarial Order No. 19865, August 31, 1943; and (3) Western Area Power Administration whose pay is negotiated under section 9(b) of Public Law 92-392 and section 704 of Public Law 95-454 [01/13/2000]

Scientific, engineering, technical, and professional employees paid under section 621(d) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (pay plan EJ), section 3161 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 (Public Law 103-337) (pay plan EK), and section 3241 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2000 (Public Law 106-65) (pay plan EN) [05/22/2001]

Employees in the ER and ET pay plans established for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) [05/22/2012]

Environmental Protection Agency

Employees appointed to a position under the administratively determined (AD) pay authority established by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments (Public Law 95-190, November 16, 1977) [08/21/2002]

Health and Human Services

Employees appointed to the Senior Biomedical Research Service under 42 U.S.C. 237 [04/20/1999]

Interior

Prevailing rate employees whose pay is negotiated under section 9(b) of the Government Employees Prevailing Rate Systems Act, Public Law 92-392, and section 704 of the Civil Service Reform Act, Public Law 95-454 [05/04/2001]

International Broadcasting Bureau

Non-U.S. citizen employees appointed under 22 U.S.C. 1474(1) and the Smith-Mundt Act (Public Law 80-402). Employees are excepted service paid under chapter 18 of title 22, United States Code (Public Law 101-249, February 16, 1990) [03/24/2003]

Justice

U.S Attorneys, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Trustees, and Assistant U.S. Trustees [08/19/1991]

Immigration judges paid under section 371(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 [12/26/1996]

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Employees who are paid in accordance with section 617(d) of the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-199, Division D), and who are not among the 30 for which pay is administratively determined under section 617(c) of the Act [03/24/2004]

Morris K. Udall Foundation

AD employees paid under 20 U.S.C. 5608(a)(1) [01/15/2009]

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

AD employees paid under 42 U.S.C. 2473(c) [09/18/1991]

National Science Foundation

Employees appointed under 42 U.S.C. 1864a and 1873(a) [10/22/1991]

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

AD employees paid under 22 U.S.C. 2193(d) [08/07/1991]

State

Employees appointed under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 and U.N. Participation Act of 1945 [09/03/1991]

Treasury

National Taxpayer Advocate appointed and compensated under 7803(c)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by section 1102(a) of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 [08/08/1998]

Employees appointed and compensated under the streamlined critical pay authority at 5 U.S.C. 9503, as established by section 1201(a) of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 [08/08/1998]

Police officers in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the U.S. Mint paid under 5 U.S.C. 5378 [10/19/2000]

USAID

Employees appointed under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 and section 625(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 [07/31/1992]

Veterans Affairs

Part-time and temporary positions appointed under 38 U.S.C. 7405 and listed in 38 U.S.C. 7401(1) (i.e., part-time and temporary physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, nurses, physician assistants, and expanded-function dental auxiliaries) [01/19/2001]

Part-time and temporary hybrid positions appointed under 38 U.S.C. 7405 and listed in 38 U.S.C. 7405(a)(1)(B) (i.e., part-time and temporary certified or registered respiratory therapists, licensed physical therapists, licensed practical/vocational nurses, pharmacists, and occupational therapists) [01/19/2001]

Executive clinical positions appointed under 38 U.S.C. 7306 [01/19/2001]

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Authority and Regulations

Extensions of Authority

View the categories of non-General Schedule employees in a single agency approved by OPM for 3Rs coverage.

Law and Regulations

  • 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754
  • 5 CFR part 575, subparts A, B, and C

FAQs

  • 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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  • A position is considered to be in a different geographic area if the worksite of the new position is 50 or more miles from the worksite of the position held immediately before the move. If the worksite of the new position is less than 50 miles from the worksite of the position held immediately before the move, but the employee must relocate (i.e., establish a new residence) to accept the position, an authorized agency official may waive the 50-mile requirement and pay the employee a relocation incentive. (See 5 CFR 575.205(b).)
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  • By March 31 in each of the years 2006 through 2010, each agency must submit a written report to OPM on the use of the recruitment and relocation incentive authorities within the agency during the previous calendar year for use in compiling an OPM report to Congress, as required by section 101(c) of Public Law 108-411. Each agency report must include—
    • A description of how the authority to pay recruitment and relocation incentives was used by the agency during the previous calendar year;
    • The number and dollar amount of recruitment and relocation incentives paid during the previous calendar year by occupational series and grade, pay level, or other pay classification; and
    • Other information, records, reports, and data as OPM may require.
    (See 5 CFR 575.113(b) and 575.213(b).)
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  • For each determination to pay a retention incentive, the agency must document in writing—
    • The basis for determining the agency has a special need for the employee’s (or group of employees‘) services that makes it essential to retain the employee(s), based on the agency‘s mission needs and the employee’s (or group of employees‘) competencies, during a period of time before the closure or relocation of the employee’s (or group of employees‘) office, facility, activity, or organization;
    • The basis for determining, in the absence of a retention incentive, the employee (or a significant number of employees in the group) would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service; and
    • The basis for determining the amount and timing of the incentive payments and the length of the service period.
    (See 5 CFR 575.315(d)(1).)
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  • Yes. Under 5 CFR 575.105(b), agencies may target groups of positions that have been difficult to fill in the past or that may be difficult to fill in the future and may make the required written determination to offer a recruitment incentive on a group basis (excluding positions covered by 5 CFR 575.103(a)(2), (a)(3), or (a)(5) or in similar categories approved by OPM). All requirements in the regulations and the agency's recruitment incentive plan must be met in order to pay a recruitment incentive to an individual employee in the covered group. For example, agencies may authorize a recruitment incentive of up to 25 percent of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period multiplied by the number of years (including fractions of a year) in the service period (not to exceed 4 years), and the employee must be newly appointed in the Federal Government and must sign a service agreement of at least 6 months with the appointing agency.
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  • Before paying a retention incentive, an agency must establish a plan for using the authority. (See 5 CFR 575.307 and 575.315(c).) The plan must include the designation of officials with authority to review and approve payment of retention incentives, the categories of employees who are prohibited from receiving retention incentives, required documentation for determining that an employee would be likely to leave the Federal service or would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service, any requirements for determining the amount of a retention incentive, the payment methods that may be authorized, requirements governing service agreements (including the criteria for determining the length of a service period, the conditions for terminating a service agreement, and the obligations of the agency if it terminates a service agreement), the conditions for terminating retention incentive payments when no service agreement is required, and documentation and recordkeeping requirements.
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  • No. Under 5 CFR 575.102, newly appointed is defined as the first appointment as an employee of the Federal Government. All three branches are part of the Federal Government for this purpose.
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  • Under 5 CFR 575.309(e)(2), waiver requests must include—
    • A description of the employee’s work requirements and responsibilities or, if requesting a group retention incentive, a description of the group or category of employees and the number of employees to be covered by the proposed retention incentive;
    • A description of the critical agency need the proposed retention incentive would address;
    • The written documentation required by 5 CFR 575.308;
    • The proposed retention incentive percentage rate and a justification for that percentage;
    • The timing and method of making the retention incentive payments;
    • The service period required; and
    • Any other information pertinent to the case at hand.
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  • By March 31 in each of the years 2006 through 2010, each agency must submit a written report to OPM on the use of the retention incentive authority within the agency during the previous calendar year for use in compiling an OPM report to Congress, as required by section 101(c) of Public Law 108-411. Each agency report must include—
    • A description of how the authority to pay retention incentives was used by the agency during the previous calendar year;
    • The number and dollar amount of retention incentives paid during the previous calendar year by occupational series and grade, pay level, or other pay classification; and
    • Other information, records, reports, and data as OPM may require.
    (See 5 CFR 575.313(b).)
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  • No.
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  • An agency may unilaterally terminate a recruitment or relocation incentive service agreement based solely on the management needs of the agency.  For example, an agency may terminate a service agreement when the employee’s position is affected by a reduction in force, when there are insufficient funds to continue the planned incentive payments, or when the agency assigns the employee to a different position (if the different position is not within the terms of the service agreement). In such cases, the employee is entitled to all incentive payments attributable to completed service and to retain any portion of an incentive payment already received that is attributable to uncompleted service. An agency must notify an employee in writing when it terminates a recruitment or relocation incentive service agreement. (See 5 CFR 575.111 and 575.211.)
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  • See the retention incentives fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/RETALLFS.asp
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  • An agency may pay a recruitment or relocation incentive as an initial lump-sum payment at the beginning of the service period, in equal or variable installment payments throughout the service period, as a final lump-sum payment upon completion of the service period, or in a combination of these methods. (See 5 CFR 575.109(a) and 575.209(a).)
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  • Agencies may not pay a retention incentive to an employee in a position (1) to which the individual was appointed by the President; (2) in the Senior Executive Service as a non-career appointee; (3) which has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character; (4) designated as the head of an agency, including an agency headed by a collegial body composed of two or more individual members; or (5) in which the employee is expected to receive an appointment as the head of an agency. (See 5 CFR 575.304 and 575.315(b)(1).)
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  • For each determination to pay a retention incentive for an employee likely to leave the Federal service, an agency must document in writing-
    • The basis for determining that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee (or group of employees) or a special need of the agency for the employee’s (or group of employees') services makes it essential to retain the employee(s);
    • The basis for determining that the employee (or a significant number of employees in a group) would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive; and
    • The basis for establishing the amount and timing of the approved retention incentive payment and the length of the required service period.
    (See 5 CFR 575.308(b).)
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  • Yes. Agencies may pay a recruitment incentive to employees receiving a special rate or locality rate.
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  • For each determination to pay a recruitment or relocation incentive, an agency must document in writing—
    • The basis for determining that a position is likely to be difficult to fill;
    • The basis for authorizing an incentive; and
    • The basis for the amount and timing of the approved incentive payment and the length of the required service period.
    • Also, for a relocation incentive, that the worksite of the employees new position is not in the same geographic area as the worksite of the position held immediately before the move (or that a waiver was approved under 5 CFR 575.205(b)) and that the employee established a residence in the new geographic area.
    The authorized agency official must review and approve the recruitment or relocation incentive determination before the agency pays the incentive to the employee. (See 5 CFR 575.108(a) and 575.208(a).)
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  • Under OPM regulations (5 CFR 575.307(b)), an agency official who is at least one level higher than the employee’s (or group of employees‘) supervisor must review and approve each determination to pay a retention incentive to an individual or group of employees, unless there is no official at a higher level in the agency.  A higher level approval is not needed when approving coverage of individual employees under a previously approved group retention incentive authorization.  The authorized agency official must review and approve the retention incentive determination before the agency pays the incentive to the employee. We encourage agencies to delegate authority to approve retention incentives to the lowest level practicable to help respond more effectively to their staffing needs.
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  • No, agencies are not required to submit their recruitment and relocation incentive plans to OPM for review or approval.
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  • An authorized agency official who is at least one level higher than the employee’s supervisor must review and approve each determination to pay a recruitment or relocation incentive, unless there is no official at a higher level in the agency. See 5 CFR 575.107(b) and 575.207(b) for additional exceptions. We encourage agencies to delegate authority to approve incentives to the lowest level practicable to help respond more effectively to their staffing needs.
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Total Count: 112, Number of Pages: 6, Page: 2
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