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News Release

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Contact: Peter Graves
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Reminds Agencies of Additional Benefits for Civilian Employees in Combat Zones

Agencies Should Take Advantage of Authorities Which Increase Pay and Benefits for Workers in Combat Zones

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer today sent a letter to Federal chief human capital officers, reminding them to take full advantage of a range of authorities designed to increase pay and benefits for Federal civilian workers currently working in a combat zone.

"OPM is committed to ensuring Federal agencies have the authorities they need to attract and retain an effective civilian workforce deployed to combat zones in support of military operations," Springer said. "We are concerned not all employees in such circumstances are receiving access to the same compensation, either by lack of statutory authority or as a result of inconsistent application of available authorities."

Springer outlined a list of authorities currently available to agencies. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 provides for a higher annual maximum limitation on premium pay;
  • The Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) provide a number of important compensation entitlements, such as danger pay and hardship differentials;
  • OPM regulations give agencies the discretionary authority to provide recruitment, retention, and relocation incentive payments (up to 100 percent of basic pay) to address difficulties in recruiting or retaining employees in combat zones;
  • Agencies have the ability to offer time off awards;
  • Agencies have the authority under DSSR to provide travel benefits for rest and recuperation equivalent to one trip every six months and after 90 days in the country; and,
  • Agencies have the authority to grant administrative leave (excused absence with pay and without charge to leave).

For additional information on these and other authorities, Federal employees should contact their agency human resources office.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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