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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Pay Administration

  • No.  An agency has discretionary authority to repay certain types of Federally made, insured, or guaranteed student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for highly qualified candidates or current employees.
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  • The following Federal holidays are established by law (5 U.S.C. 6103):

    • New Year's Day (January 1).
    • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
    • Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February).
    • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
    • Independence Day (July 4).
    • Labor Day (First Monday in September).
    • Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).
    • Veterans Day (November 11).
    • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
    • Christmas Day (December 25).

    For information on the observation of these holidays within Federal employee work schedules, please see the Federal holidays fact sheet at http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/HOLIDAY.asp.

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  • See the General Schedule classification and pay system fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/GSClassandpay.asp

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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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  • Hazardous duty pay is additional pay for the performance of hazardous duty or duty involving physical hardship. Hazardous duty pay is payable to General Schedule (GS) employees covered by chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code. Prevailing rate (wage) employees are eligible to receive environmental differential pay in certain circumstances under a separate statutory provision (5 U.S.C. 5343(c)(4)).
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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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  • Yes.  All “highly qualified” personnel, regardless of job series, including Senior Executive Service members, Federal Wage System employees, and employees covered by administratively determined pay systems, are eligible unless specifically excluded by law or regulation.
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  • See the credit hours fact sheet at – http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/Cred_hrs.asp
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  • Hazardous duty pay differentials are established under 5 CFR 550, appendix A to subpart I. You can find the Code of Federal Regulations on our web site at www.opm.gov/cfr/. Additional information about hazardous duty pay for GS employees can be found at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/hazduty.htm.

    Pay administration rules for environmental differentials are found in 5 CFR 532.511. Environmental differential pay categories are listed in appendix A to subpart E of 5 CFR part 532. Additional information about environmental differentials for prevailing rate employees can be found at www.opm.gov/oca/wage/APPFUND/.

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  • Employees generally are not entitled to holiday premium pay for the time they spend in work-related travel during holiday hours of their tours of duty, unless it meets one of the travel conditions listed below. Holiday premium pay is paid only to employees who perform work on a holiday. (See 5 U.S.C. 5546(b).) The Comptroller General has ruled that the criteria in 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) must be used to determine whether travel time is hours of work for holiday premium pay purposes. (These are the same criteria that are used to determine travel time as hours of work for title 5 overtime pay purposes. The criteria are also found in 5 CFR 550.112(g).) Time spent in a travel status is not hours of work for the purpose of paying premium pay, including holiday premium pay, unless it meets one of the criteria in 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2)(B) for crediting irregular or occasional hours of work for travel. The criteria state that time spent in a travel status away from the official duty station is not hours of employment unless the travel--

    • involves the performance of work while traveling (such as employment as a truck driver);
    • is incident to travel that involves the performance of work while traveling (such as "deadhead" travel performed by a truck driver to return an empty truck after unloading);
    • is carried out under arduous and unusual conditions (e.g., on unpaved roads); or
    • results from an event which could not be scheduled or controlled administratively by any individual or agency in the executive branch of the Government (such as training scheduled solely by a private firm or a job-related court appearance required by a court subpoena).

    (See Comptroller General opinions B-82637, March 28, 1949; B-168726, January 28, 1970; and 50 Comp. Gen. 519 (1971).) Note that this guidance applies to both Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempt and nonexempt employees. The provisions on travel time as hours of work for FLSA overtime pay purposes under 5 CFR 551.422 do not apply to the payment of holiday premium pay. Although most employees do not receive holiday premium pay for time spent traveling on a holiday, they continue to be entitled to pay for the holiday in the same manner as if the travel were not required.

    Note: Under 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2)(A), time spent traveling away from the official duty station is also hours of employment if the time spent is within the days and hours of an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek. However, this does not apply to travel time on a holiday for holiday premium pay purposes because an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek includes only periods of time in which an employee is regularly scheduled to work. The Comptroller General has ruled that travel time during holiday hours (whether driving or riding) is not work time and, therefore, does not fall within an employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek. (See Comptroller General opinion B-160094, October 12, 1966, and the definition of "regularly scheduled administrative workweek" in 5 CFR 610.102.)

    Questions and Answers on Compensatory Time Off for Travel

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