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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Pay Administration

  • 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.
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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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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • No. By law, compensatory time off may be approved instead of overtime pay for irregular or occasional (unscheduled) overtime hours of work. See 5 U.S.C. 5543(a). If an employee is scheduled in advance of his or her administrative workweek (i.e., regularly scheduled) to attend an extended training course, such training would not be irregular or occasional (unscheduled) overtime hours. Therefore, the employee may not receive compensatory time off instead of overtime pay for the extended training hours. Please see OPM's fact sheet on compensatory time off for further guidance (http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/COMP.HTM).

    (Note: Employees on flexible work schedules may earn compensatory time off for regularly scheduled overtime hours, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 6123(a)(1) and 5 CFR 550.114(b) and 551.531(b). However, employees usually are not on flexible work schedules during periods of training.)

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  • Agencies have several options for easing the tax liability on their employees.  (See 5 CFR 537.106(a)(6) and Questions and Answers on Tax Liability.)
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  • See the pay retention fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/pay_retention.asp 
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  • See the night shift differential for Federal Wage System employees fact sheet at - http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/NIGHT_WG.asp
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  • Qualifying active duty means active duty by a covered employee pursuant to a call or order, as described in 5 U.S.C. 5538(a). (See Part 1 of Appendix D in the OPM Policy Guidance.) (Note: Under section 5538(a), active duty that qualifies for coverage under section 5538 is active duty under a provision of law referred to in 10 U.S.C. 101(a)(13)(B)—i.e., the following specific provisions in title 10 of the United States Code: sections 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12304a, 12305, and 12406 and chapter 15 (which includes sections 331, 332, and 333). Thus, qualifying active duty does not include voluntary active duty under 10 U.S.C. 12301(d) or annual training duty under 10 U.S.C. 10147 or 12301(b).)

     

    Note:  Section 12304a of title 10, United States Code, was added by section 515 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81, December 31, 2011).  This new authority was effective on December 31, 2011.

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