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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • Yes. Effective November 24, 2003, all employees who have been activated in support of the national emergency declared by the President are entitled to the 22 days of military leave under 5 U.S.C. 6323(b).
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  • The statute authorizing this program states that this incentive is to be used for employees of a given agency who have outstanding student loans.  Thus, if the employee has a PLUS loan for his or her child, the loan would qualify for repayment.  However, if a PLUS loan is held by an employee’s parent, the employee is not eligible for loan repayment benefits for the parent’s PLUS loan.  While a PLUS loan an employee has previously taken out to help pay for his or her child's education is a qualifying student loan under 5 U.S.C. 5379(a)(1)(B) and 5 CFR 537.102, an agency may specify in its agency loan repayment plan that it will not offer to repay PLUS loans under its student loan repayment program.
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  • Agencies should use the alternate method when an employee is covered by different pay schedules before and after promotion if the alternate method produces a higher payable rate upon promotion than the standard method. See Promotion Examples 3 and 5.

    Agencies also may use the alternate method even if the alternate method produces a lower payable rate than the standard method. Under this circumstance, the agency must determine under 5 CFR 531.214(d)(2)(iii) that it would be inappropriate to use the standard method based on a finding that the higher pay for the position before promotion is not sufficiently related to the knowledge and skills required for the position after promotion.

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  • No. The Comptroller General has ruled that an individual on active duty military service may not be employed in a civilian capacity with the Government. The Comptroller General has held that the rendition of services to the Government in a civilian capacity by a member of the armed services on active duty is incompatible with the member's actual or potential military duties and payment for such services is not authorized in the absence of specific statutory authority. This is the case even though the civilian services are rendered during the military member's hours of relaxation or time provided to attend to personal affairs. (See 64 Comp. Gen. 395, 399-400 (1985), and 47 Comp. Gen. 505-506 (1968).)
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  • Previously, OPM's regulations in 5 CFR 630.502(b) provided that an employee was entitled to a recredit of sick leave if he or she was reemployed in another Federal position within 3 years after separation. On December 2, 1994, OPM issued final regulations that removed the 3-year break-in-service limitation on the recredit of sick leave for former employees who are reemployed on or after December 2, 1994. Sick leave may not be recredited to employees who were reemployed in the Federal service before December 2, 1994, and who previously forfeited sick leave under the former rule.
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  • Yes. Under 5 U.S.C. 6306, when an individual who received a lump-sum payment for accumulated and accrued annual leave under 5 U.S.C. 5551 is reemployed in the Federal service before the end of the period covered by the lump-sum payment, he or she must refund to the employing agency an amount equal to the pay covering the period between the date of reemployment and the expiration of the lump-sum period. The refund is deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the employing agency. The refund is based on the rate of pay used to compute the lump-sum payment; e.g., an employee who received a lump-sum payment based on a GS-7 special salary rate must refund the lump-sum payment based on that same pay rate, even if he or she is reemployed at a lower grade level that is not covered by special salary rates.

    When an individual is reemployed in the Federal service in a position covered by the Federal leave system under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2), an amount of annual leave equal to the leave represented by the refund is recredited to the employee by the employing agency. When an individual is reemployed in the Federal service in a position not covered under 5 U.S.C. 6301(2), but is covered by a formal leave system, the amount of annual leave to be recredited to the employee will be determined using the rule for recrediting annual leave in 5 CFR 630.501(b).

    Individuals who are reemployed in a position excepted from the Federal leave system by 5 U.S.C. 6301(2)(ii), (iii), (vi), or (vii) are not required to refund a lump-sum payment. Individuals who are reemployed in the Federal service after expiration of the lump-sum period and individuals who are reemployed in the Federal service in a position that does not have a formal leave system in which the employee's annual leave may be recredited are not required to refund the lump-sum payment. Individuals who are reemployed in a position excepted from the Federal leave system by 5 U.S.C. 6301(2)(x)-(xiii) must refund the lump-sum payment, and the annual leave will be held in abeyance until the employee transfers to a position in which the annual leave may be recredited or the employee later becomes eligible for a lump-sum payment.

    A number of Comptroller General opinions on lump-sum payments may be found in the Civilian Personnel Law Manual, Title II--Leave, chapter 3, Lump-Sum Leave Payments.

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  • Under current severance pay regulations (5 CFR 550.706), employees who resign because they expect to be involuntarily separated are considered to have been involuntarily separated for severance pay purposes ONLY IF they resign after receiving-

    1. a specific written notice stating that the employee will be involuntarily separated by a particular action (e.g., reduction in force) on a particular date (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(1); or
    2. a general written notice of reduction in force or transfer of function that announces that all positions in the competitive area will be abolished or transferred to another commuting area by a particular date no more than 1 year after the date of the notice (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(2)).

    However, if the specific or general notice is cancelled before the resignation is effected, the resignation would not be qualifying for severance pay purposes. (See 5 CFR 550.706(c).

    If the specific notice deals with involuntary separation by reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures, the notice must meet the conditions in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H. A general notice has no standing under the RIF program and is not subject to RIF rules. A general notice cannot be used to meet the RIF notice requirements in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H.

    A Certification of Expected Separation under 5 CFR 351.807 is not a qualifying specific or general notice under the severance pay regulations.

    Entitlement to certain benefits--such as training assistance, priority placement rights, appeal rights, etc.--may be affected by an employee's decision to resign in advance of an actual involuntary separation action. The employing agency should inform affected employees of these implications before they accept a resignation.

    Even if a resignation is considered an "involuntary separation" under the severance pay rules, the employee may not be eligible for severance pay under 5 U.S.C. 5595 and 5 CFR part 550, subpart G, for other reasons. The employee must meet all applicable eligibility requirements.

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  • Agencies may not offer to repay a student loan for an employee who is likely to leave for any position in any branch of the Federal Government. (See 5 CFR 537.105(a)(2)(ii).)
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  • For the purpose of paying a retention incentive, rate of basic pay means the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position to which an employee is appointed before deductions and including any special rate supplement under 5 CFR part 530, subpart C, or similar payment under other legal authority and any locality-based comparability payment under 5 CFR part 531, subpart F, or similar payment under other legal authority, but excluding additional pay of any other kind. For example, a rate of basic pay does not include additional pay such as cost-of-living allowances or post differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5941, night shift differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5343(f) or environmental differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5343(c)(4). (See the definition of rate of basic pay in 5 CFR 575.302.)
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  • Agencies may offer student loan repayment benefits in conjunction with recruitment, relocation and retention incentives.  Agencies may also use student loan repayment benefits in conjunction with a physicians’ comparability allowance (PCA).  However, 5 CFR 595.105(e) requires that the amount of the PCA be reduced by the amount of the student loan repayment.
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