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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Pay Administration

  • See the Sunday premium pay fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/WORKSCH/HTML/sunday.htm
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  • An employee is not eligible for grade retention if the employee was serving under a term or temporary appointment in the position from which he or she was downgraded. See 5 CFR 536.102(b)(2) and definition of employee in 5 U.S.C. 5361. However, the fact that the employee accepts a temporary or term appointment in conjunction with being downgraded does not affect the employee's entitlement to grade retention.

    Similarly, if an employee who is already under grade retention receives a temporary or term appointment via reassignment or transfer, the employee would remain entitled to grade retention, unless one of the terminating events specified in law and regulation occur. (See 5 U.S.C. 5362(d) and 5 CFR 536.208. See also question 2, below.)

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The applicable statute authorizes severance pay for employees who are "involuntarily separated from the service, not by removal for cause on charges of misconduct, delinquency, or inefficiency." (See 5 U.S.S. 5595(b).) A medical inability to perform one's duties is neither "misconduct" nor "delinquency;" therefore, the precise question is whether removal for such inability constitutes "inefficiency" for severance pay purposes. 

    The legislative history of the severance pay statute suggests at least two guidelines for interpreting its provisions. First, severance pay is intended to help individuals who lose their Federal jobs through no fault of their own. Second, severance pay benefits should be construed liberally in favor of the employee. Accordingly, an employee who is removed for inability to perform his or her duties may receive severance pay if the inability is caused by a medical condition that is beyond the employee's control. This determination should be made by the employing agency based on acceptable medical documentation provided by the employee.
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  • Some title 38 employees are not covered by chapter 51 and are classified under the title 38 qualification-based grading system. Such employees are not covered by the hazardous duty pay authority.
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