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OPM typically asks agencies to submit the following information with amendment requests, as applicable:
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.
Severance pay liability rests with the agency employing the employee at the time of the involuntary separation that triggers the severance pay entitlement. In the scenario set forth in the question, the agency employing the employee in the time-limited job will be responsible for making severance payments when the time-limited appointment ends.
Any severance pay entitlement that an employee may have based on an involuntary separation from a permanent appointment is immediately terminated (not suspended) when the employee receives a qualifying temporary appointment. (See 5 CFR 550.711.) Severance pay for an employee in a qualifying temporary appointment is triggered by the involuntary separation from that appointment (including expiration of the appointment as provided in the definition of "involuntary separation" in 5 CFR 550.703) and is computed using the rate of basic pay at the time of separation from that temporary job. (See 5 CFR 550.709(b).) Thus, the agency employing the individual in a time-limited job is liable for any severance payments.
In contrast, if a temporary appointment is not qualifying for severance pay because the employee is hired 4 or more days after involuntary separation from a qualifying permanent appointment, the severance pay liability rests with the agency in which the employee had a permanent appointment. Severance payments by that agency are merely suspended during the temporary appointment.
Since a reduction in grade at the employee's request is a terminating event, a determination as to whether such a reduction occurred must be made at the time an employee under grade or pay retention is transferred. This determination must be made based on the actual grade of the employee's position rather than the employee's retained grade. For example, if the true grade of the employee's position is GS-12 and his or her retained grade is GS-13, then acceptance of a GS-12 position upon transfer to another agency is not considered a reduction in grade at the employee's request.
In addition, the term reduced in grade or pay at the employee's request is defined in 5 CFR 536.103 to exclude any reduction in grade that is directly "caused or influenced by a management action." Thus, while a reduction in grade resulting from transfer to another agency may appear to be a voluntary movement, if that transfer was directly caused or influenced by a management action at the losing agency, the gaining agency must continue the employee's grade or pay retention.
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