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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • Previously, each employing agency was responsible for establishing an order of precedence for applying deductions from the gross pay of its civilian employees when gross pay was not sufficient to cover all authorized deductions.

    A memorandum dated July 30, 2008, to agency Human Resources Directors and payroll offices provides policy guidance to standardize the order of precedence when gross pay is not sufficient to permit all deductions. This guidance is part of the e-Payroll standardization initiative managed by the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and helps ensure consistency among payroll providers in the processing activities involved in ordering deductions when pay is insufficient to permit all deductions. The memorandum is on OPM's website at the link below.

    http://www.chcoc.gov/Transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=1477

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  • Travel status includes only the time "actually" spent traveling between the official duty station and a temporary duty station, or between two temporary duty stations, and the usual waiting time that preceds or interrups such travel.
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  • No. When an employee performs a duty for which a hazard pay differential is authorized, the agency must pay the hazard pay differential for all of the hours in which the employee is in a pay status on the day on which the duty is performed. (5 CFR 550.905)
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  • Yes.  Agencies may use the standard method when the employee is covered by different pay schedules before and after promotion if the standard method produces a higher payable rate upon promotion than the alternate method.
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  • If service with the agency (for a recruitment incentive) or at the new duty station (for a relocation incentive) does not begin on the first day of a pay period, the agency must delay the service period commencement date so that a required service period begins on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after the commencement of service in the agency or at the new duty station.

    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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  • For the purpose of determining the number of years in a service period, divide the total number of calendar days in the service period by 365 and round the result to two decimal places. For example, a service period covering 39 biweekly pay period equals 546 days, and 546 days divided by 365 days equals 1.50 years. (See 5 CFR 575.109(b)(3) and 575.209(b)(3).)
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  • Loans made or insured under the Higher Education Act of 1965 include the following:

    Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL)

    • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Federal PLUS Loans
    • Federal Consolidation Loans

    William D. Ford Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans)

    • Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
    • Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
    • Direct PLUS Loans
    • Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loans
    • Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans

    Federal Perkins Loan Program

    • National Defense Student Loans (made before July 1, 1972)
    • National Direct Student Loans (made between July 1, 1972, and July 1, 1987)
    • Perkins Loans (made after July 1, 1987)

    Loans made or insured under the Public Health Service Act include the following:

    • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
    • Primary Care Loans (PCL)
    • Nursing Student Loans (NSL)
    • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
    • Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)
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  • Typically, an agency may require recertification of a serious health condition every 30 calendar days.  However, if the agency receives information that casts doubt upon the continuing validity of the original medical certification, including the need for care, or if the circumstances described in the original medical certification have changed significantly, it may require recertification more frequently.
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  • 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:

    • The availability and quality of candidates possessing the competencies required for the position, including the success of recent efforts to recruit candidates for similar positions using indicators such as offer acceptance rates, the proportion of positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions;
    • The salaries typically paid outside the Federal Government for similar positions;
    • Recent turnover in similar positions;
    • Employment trends and labor-market factors that may affect the agency's ability to recruit candidates for similar positions;
    • Special or unique competencies required for the position;
    • Agency efforts to use non-pay authorities, such as special training and work scheduling flexibilities, to resolve difficulties, alone or in combination with a recruitment or relocation incentive;
    • The desirability of the duties, work or organizational environment, or geographic location of the position; and
    • Other supporting factors.

    (See 5 CFR 575.106 and 575.206.)

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  • OPM typically asks agencies to submit the following information with amendment requests, as applicable:

    1. a detailed description of the hazardous duty or physical hardship (i.e., explain what causes the hazard);
    2. specific wording of the proposed category (as it would appear in appendix A), including the threshold for payment and the recommended percentage to be paid;
    3. information on ways to mitigate the hazard (e.g., training, use of safety procedures and equipment);
    4. information on the measures the agency has taken to practically eliminate the hazard;
    5. an explanation of why the hazard is "unusual;"
    6. information on Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards or other published material on safety for the work situation. Information on how the agency will determine whether the hazard is reduced to a less than significant level;
    7. descriptions of and statistics on actual accidents or injuries that have occurred because of exposure to the hazard or physical hardship;
    8. information on when a decision is made not to expose an employee to the hazard or physical hardship;
    9. information about other Federal agencies that may be affected by such a category;
    10. information on Federal Wage System employees in the agency that may be exposed to the hazard or physical hardship in the same manner; and
    11. whether and in what manner the hazard has affected the classification of the position.
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