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Official Worksites for Location-Based Pay Purposes

Questions and answers

  • The FAQs in this section provide guidance on official worksites only for the purpose of determining the cited location-based pay entitlements. The OPM regulations cited in these FAQs use the term “official worksite” to describe the specific location of the employee’s position of record for location-based pay purposes, which may be the location of the agency worksite or the alternative worksite. The cited regulations also use the term “regular worksite” to describe the location where the employee would normally work absent a telework agreement, which is generally synonymous with the term “agency worksite” used elsewhere in these FAQs.
  • For an employee under a pay system that is not covered by the cited regulations, an employee’s official worksite for location-based pay purposes must be determined based on the rules governing that pay system.

The official worksite for a General Schedule employee covered by a telework agreement is the location of the agency worksite for the employee’s position (i.e., the place where the employee would normally work absent a telework agreement), as long as the employee is scheduled to report physically at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to that agency worksite. It is up to an agency to determine how often an employee reports into the agency worksite. If an employee is not scheduled to report to the agency worksite at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis (i.e., is a remote worker), the employee’s official worksite for location-based pay purposes is the alternative work location under the remote work agreement. Certain temporary exceptions may apply (5 CFR 531.605(d), 5 CFR 530.302, and 5 CFR 591.201 and OPM’s Official Worksite for Location-Based Pay Purposes fact sheet).

In certain temporary situations, an agency may designate the location of the agency worksite for a General Schedule employee’s position (i.e., the place where the employee would normally work absent a telework agreement) as the official worksite for location-based pay purposes even though the employee is not able to report at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to the agency worksite (5 CFR 531.605(d), 5 CFR 530.302, and 5 CFR 591.201 and OPM’s fact sheet Official Worksite for Location-Based Pay Purposes).

  • The current pandemic is an example of an appropriate temporary situation for which an agency may apply this exception to the twice-a-pay-period reporting standard if the telework employee is expected to return to the agency worksite at some point in the future on a regular and recurring basis.
  • An agency may also apply this exception during the current pandemic to any new or current employee if the employee’s position is based out of an office in a different geographic location and the employee would be working at that office in the absence of the pandemic and the employee signs a telework agreement.
  • It is the responsibility of the agency to determine when it is no longer appropriate to apply the temporary exception. There is no time limit in the regulations on what is considered a temporary situation. An agency should consider any applicable OPM or OMB guidance in making these determinations.
  • However, if a teleworking employee is not expected to report to the agency worksite on a regular and recurring basis in the future, the temporary exception would no longer be appropriate. See the next FAQ. Agencies may want to review periodically an employee’s temporary full-time telework arrangement to certify that any approved temporary exception continues to apply.

As provided in 5 CFR 531.605(d)(3), if a General Schedule employee is covered by a remote work agreement under which the employee works from home or other specified alternative location full-time and is not required to report to the agency worksite at least twice each biweekly pay period ona regular and recurring basis, there is no need for a temporary exception, and the employee’s official worksite is the employee’s home or other worksite. An agency must document changes to an employee’s official worksite on the employee’s Notification of Personnel Action (Standard Form 50 or equivalent). (See “Duty Station” blocks 38 and 39 of the Standard Form 50 showing the city/county and state in which the official worksite is located.) (5 CFR 530.302 and 5 CFR 591.201).