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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]

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]

Exceptionally well qualified individuals in the EQ pay plan appointed under section 313 of division D of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law 113-76), to scientific, engineering, or other critical technical positions. [6/25/2014]

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]

Office of Personnel Management

Experts and consultants appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3109 whose pay is determined in accordance with 5 CFR part 304. [2/18/2014]

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

  • 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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  • In each of the years 2008 through 2010, each agency that uses a retention incentive for an employee likely to leave for another Federal position must include in its report—
    • 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;
    • The agency (which may be in the executive, judicial, or legislative branch) to which each employee would be likely to leave in the absense of a retention incentive;
    • Each employee’s official worksite and the geographic location of the agency (which may be executive, judicial, or legislative branch) for which each employee would be likely to leave in the absence of a retention incentive; and
    • Other information, records, reports, and data as OPM may require.
    (See 5 CFR 575.315(i).)
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  • Yes. Under 5 CFR 575.205, an agency may pay a relocation incentive to an employee of another agency to relocate to a different geographic area without a break in service to accept a position that is likely to be difficult to fill.
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  • See the group retention incentives fact sheets at - http://www.opm.gov/3rs/fact/index.asp
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  • Yes. See 5 CFR 575.109(f) and 575.209(e) and the definition of aggregate compensation at 5 CFR 530.202.
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  • The required service period must begin upon commencement of service with the agency for a recruitment incentive, and upon commencement of service at the new duty station for a relocation incentive. In both cases, the required service period must terminate on the last day of a pay period. (See 5 CFR 575.110(b) and 575.210(b), including the exceptions under 5 CFR 575.110(b)(2) and (b)(3) and 575.210(b)(2) and (b)(3).)
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  • An agency may pay a retention incentive in installments after the completion of specified periods of service or in a single lump sum after completion of the full period of service required by the service agreement.  (See 5 CFR 575.309(b).)  Installment payments must be consistent with biweekly pay periods, e.g., every 2 pay periods, 6 pay periods, or 8 pay periods.   An agency may not pay a retention incentive to an employee likely to leave for a different Federal position in biweekly installments at the full retention incentive percentage rate established for the employee.  See 5 CFR 531.315(e)(2).
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  • Agencies may pay a retention incentive to a current employee in the following categories of positions: General Schedule (GS); senior-level and scientific or professional (SL/ST); Senior Executive Service (SES); Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration (FBI/DEA) SES; law enforcement officer (LEO); Executive Schedule (EX); prevailing rate (wage) positions; and positions in a category for which payment of retention incentives has been approved by OPM at the request of the head of an executive agency. (See 5 CFR 575.303 and 575.315(b)(1).)
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  • The total amount of recruitment or relocation incentive payments may not exceed 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). (See 5 CFR 575.109(b) and 575.209(b).) With OPM approval, this cap may be raised to 50 percent (based on a critical agency need), as long as the total incentive does not exceed 100 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay at the beginning of the service period. (See 5 CFR 575.109(c) and 575.209(c).)
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  • Yes. Under 5 CFR 575.205(a)(1), an agency may pay a relocation incentive to an employee who must relocate to a different geographic area either permanently or temporarily, assuming all other conditions are met.
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  • No. Retention incentive payments are not subject to the biweekly or annual premium pay limitation, since retention incentives are neither premium pay nor basic pay.
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  • Installment payments must be consistent with biweekly pay periods, e.g., every 2 pay periods, 6 pay periods, or 8 pay periods.
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  • An agency must narrowly define a targeted category of employees using factors that relate to the group or category‘s unusually high or unique qualifications (i.e., competencies) or the agency‘s special need for the employees‘ services and the high risk that a significant number of the employees will leave the Federal service or for a different Federal position in the absence of a retention incentive.   Factors that may be appropriate include the following:  occupational series, grade level, distinctive job duties, unique competencies required for the position, assignment to a special project, minimum agency service requirements, organization or team designation, geographic location, and required rating of record.  (While a rating of record of higher than "Fully Successful" may be a factor used in defining the targeted category, a rating of record by itself is not sufficient to justify a retention incentive.)  Each retention incentive authorized for a group of employees likely to leave for another Federal position may cover no more than one occupational series.   (See 5 CFR 575.306(c)(2) and 575.315(d)(4).)
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  • An agency must keep a record of each determination to pay a recruitment or relocation incentive and make such records available for review upon OPM's request. (See 5 CFR 575.113(a) and 575.213(a).)
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  • For retention incentives that are paid when no service agreement is required, an agency must review each determination to pay the incentive at least annually to determine whether payment is still warranted.  An authorized agency official must certify this determination in writing.  An agency may continue paying a retention incentive to an employee when no service agreement is required as long as the conditions giving rise to the original determination to pay the incentive still exist.  (See 5 CFR 575.311(f).)
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  • Yes. An agency may pay a relocation incentive to an employee who is voluntarily or involuntarily relocated to a different geographic area, assuming all other conditions are met.
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  • The service agreement must specify—
    • The commencement and termination dates of the service period;
    • The retention incentive percentage rate established for the employee;
    • Whether the incentive will be paid in installments or in a lump-sum payment upon completion of the service period and, if paid in installments, whether any installment payments will be paid at less than the full retention incentive percentage rate established for the employee, with the accrued but unpaid incentive payment being paid in a lump sum upon completion of the full service period;
    • The timing of incentive payments;
    • The conditions under which an agreement will be terminated by the agency;
    • The effects of terminating the service agreement, including the conditions under which the agency will pay an additional retention incentive payment for partially completed service; and
    • Any other terms and conditions for receiving and retaining a retention incentive.
    (See 5 CFR 575.310.)
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  • Yes.
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  • The service agreement must specify the commencement and termination dates of the service period, the amount of the incentive, the method and timing of incentive payments, the amount of each incentive payment, the conditions under which an agreement will be terminated by the agency, any agency or employee obligations if a service agreement is terminated (including the conditions under which the employee must repay an incentive or under which the agency must make additional payments for partially completed service), and any other terms and conditions for receiving and retaining a recruitment or relocation incentive. (See 5 CFR 575.110 and 575.210.)
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  • An agency must terminate a service agreement if an employee is demoted or separated for cause (i.e., for unacceptable performance or conduct), receives a rating of record lower than "Fully Successful" or equivalent during the service period, or otherwise fails to fulfill the terms of the service agreement.  In such cases, the employee must repay any portion of the incentive attributable to uncompleted service.  (See 5 CFR 575.111(h) and 575.211(h) for a repayment waiver authority.)  The employee is entitled to retain any incentive payments attributable to completed service.  Exception:  When the employee is separated as a result of material false or inaccurate statements or deception or fraud in examination or appointment, or as a result of failing to meet employment qualifications, the employee must repay all recruitment incentives received under that service agreement.  The agency is not obligated to pay the employee any outstanding incentive payment attributable to completed service unless such payment was required under the terms of the service agreement.  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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Total Count: 112, Number of Pages: 6, Page: 3
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