Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Pay Administration

  • If an employee is already under grade or pay retention prior to transferring to another agency, the gaining agency must continue the employee's grade or pay retention entitlement, absent the occurrence of one of the terminating events set forth in law and regulation, such as a break in service of 1 workday or more or reduction in grade at the employee's request. (See 5 U.S.C. 5362(d) and 5 CFR 536.208 regarding termination of grade retention and 5 U.S.C. 5363(c) and 5 CFR 536.308 regarding termination of pay retention. See also question 3, below.)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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).)
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • When a temporary promotion is made permanent immediately after the temporary promotion ends, the employee is not returned to the lower grade in order to process the permanent promotion. See 5 CFR 531.214(e). The agency must convert the employee’s temporary promotion to a permanent promotion without a change in pay. The appropriate action is to process the promotion (nature of action code 702) showing the higher grade as the grade before and after promotion. (See rules 5 and 6, Table 14-B, chapter 14, of the Office of Personnel Management’s Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.) In effect, the promotion increase granted at the time of the temporary promotion is ratified and made permanent by the removal of the not-to-exceed limitation on the temporary promotion.

    If there is any period of time between the end of a temporary promotion and the beginning of a permanent promotion, the employee must be returned to the lower grade. As required by 5 CFR 531.215(c), the agency must recompute the employee’s rate of basic pay for the lower grade as if the employee had never been temporarily promoted.

    If the employee’s temporary promotion was for more than 1 year, the agency may choose, at its discretion, to apply the maximum payable rate rule in 5 CFR 531.221 if that would yield a higher rate. Under the maximum payable rate rule, an agency may set pay at any step equal to or less than the maximum payable rate, but not less than the rate to which the employee is entitled under the normal pay-setting rules. Whatever method is used, the resulting rate is the basis for any subsequent promotion action.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If a temporary promotion is made permanent immediately after the temporary promotion ends, the employee is not returned to the lower grade in order to process the permanent promotion. See 5 CFR 531.214(e). The agency must convert the temployee's temporary promotion to a permanent promotion without a change in pay. The appropriate action is to process the promotion (nature of action code 702) showing the higher grade as the grade before and after promotion. (See rules 5 and 6, Table 14-B, chapter 14, Office of Personnel Management's Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.) In effect, the promotion increase granted at the time of the temporary promotion is ratified and made permanent by the removal of the not-to-exceed-date limitation on the temporary promotion.

    If there is any period of time between the end of a temporary promotion and the beginning of a permanent promotion, the employee must be returned to the lower grade. As required by 5 CFR 531.215(c), the agency must recompute the employee's rate of basic pay for the lower grade as if the employee had never been temporarily promoted. Also, the agency may choose, at its discretion, to apply the maximum payable rate rule in 5 CFR 531.221 if that would yield a higher rate. Whatever method is used, the resulting rate is the basis for any subsequent promotion. 

    With respect to the "maximum pay rate" rule, please note that an employee's highest previous rate may not be based on a rate received in a position to which the employee was temporarily promoted for less than 1 year, except upon permanent placement in a position at the same or higher grade. (See 5 CFR 531.223(b).) If an agency chooses to apply the maximum payable rate rule, it may set pay at any step equal to or less than the maximum payable rate, but not less than the rate to which the employee is entitled under the normal pay-setting rules.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • 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.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. As long as the employee is converted to a permanent position without returning to the lower grade, the time spent on a temporary promotion is considered creditable service in the calculation of the employee's next WGI. The employee received an "equivalent increase" upon the temporary promotion. Processing a permanent promotion without moving the employee back to the lower graded position does not change the date of the "equivalent increase." Therefore, the waiting period starts on the date of the temporary promotion.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • See the compensatory time off fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/COMP.htm
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Employees holding VRAs are not eligible for grade or pay retention upon reduction in grade or pay, or to severance pay upon involuntary separation (not for cause).

    By law, grade and pay retention apply only to employees whose employment is on other than a temporary or term basis. (See the definition of employee in 5 U.S.C. 5361(1).) The grade and pay retention regulations define employed on a temporary or term basis as employment under an appointment having a definite time limitation or designated as temporary or term. (See 5 CFR 536.103.)

    Similarly, the severance pay law does not apply to an employee serving under an appointment with a definite time limitation, unless the time-limited appointment is made effective within 3 calendar days after separation from a qualifying appointment without time limitation. (See the definition of employee in 5 U.S.C. 5595(a)(2)(ii) and the definition of non-qualifying appointment in 5 CFR 550.703.)

    Under 5 CFR part 307, a VRA is limited to 2 years. Although employees are entitled to convert to a career or career-conditional appointment upon completion of the 2 years, this conversion right is contingent upon meeting the terms of the VRA--i.e., employees must satisfactorily complete (1) 2 years of substantially continuous service and (2) any education and training required under the VRA program. If employees do not complete these requirements, they are not converted to career or a career-conditional appointment, and their VRA ends. Therefore, for the purposes of grade and pay retention and severance pay, the VRA must be viewed as having a definite 2-year limitation. Because the VRA is time-limited, employees holding such appointments are not eligible for grade and pay retention or severance pay.

    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • If an employee voluntarily separates from Federal service before completing the period of service required in the applicable service agreement or violates any other condition that specifically triggers a reimbursement requirement under the agreement, he or she is obligated to reimburse the paying agency for the full amount of the loan repayment benefits provided (gross before any tax deductions from the loan payment).  For example, if an employee’s agreement states that he or she will receive $10,000 per year for 3 years, and the employee leaves with 6 months remaining on the service agreement after receiving $25,000 in loan repayment benefits, the employee must reimburse the paying agency for $25,000.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • After an agency has set an employee's pay, the agency must go back the length of the waiting period in the employee's work history to determine the date of the last equivalent increase. For example, a WJ-11 employee is hired into a GS-13 position and pay is set at step 1. The waiting period at step 1 is 52 weeks. If the employee did not receive an equivalent increase in the prevailing rate pay system during that time period, the employee is entitled to a WGI to step 2 upon movement to the GS position.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...