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(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.)
Before the employee enters on duty in the position for which recruited, or in the position in the new geographic area, the agency must determine that, in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive (as applicable), the agency would encounter difficulty in filling the position. An agency may determine that a position is likely to be difficult to fill if the agency is likely to have difficulty recruiting candidates with the competencies required for the position in the absence of a recruitment or relocation incentive based on the fact that OPM has approved the use of a direct-hire authority applicable to the position or on a consideration of the following factors:
(See 5 CFR 575.106 and 575.206.)
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.
An agency also may delay a service agreement commencement date until after an employee completes an initial period of formal training or a required probationary period when continued employment in the position is contingent on successful completion of the formal training or probationary period. The agency must make the determination to pay an incentive before the employee enters on duty in the position for which recruited or to which relocated. However, the service agreement must specify that if the employee does not successfully complete the training or probationary period before the service period commences, the agency is not obligated to pay any portion of the incentive to the employee. (See 5 CFR 575.110(b) and 575.210(b).)
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