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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

  • 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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  • 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.)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • A retention incentive is an incentive an agency may pay to a current employee if--
    • The agency determines that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the agency for the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee and the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive, or
    • The agency has a special need for the employee’s services that makes it essential to retain the employee in his or her current position during a period of time before the closure or relocation of the employee’s office, facility, activity, or organization and the employee would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.

    (See 5 CFR 575.301, 575.315(a)(1), the Retention Incentives (likely to leave the Federal service) fact sheet, and the Retention Incentives (likely to leave for a different Federal position) fact sheet.)

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  • Heads of executive departments and agencies have authority to excuse employees from work without charge to leave or loss of pay to donate blood. Typically, agencies grant up to 4 hours of excused absence to employees who wish to donate blood.
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  • You may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Ordinarily, you must provide 30 days advance notice when the need for leave is foreseeable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, e.g., because of a medical emergency, you must provide notice within a reasonable period of time appropriate to the circumstances involved. An agency may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition and may require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense).

    If you cannot provide the required medical certification before FMLA leave is to begin, you must be provided provisional leave. Once this leave has commenced and you fail to provide the medical certification, the agency may charge you as absent without leave (AWOL) or may allow you to request that the provisional leave be charged as leave without pay or to your appropriate leave account.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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