Agencies have considerable discretionary authority to provide additional compensation and leave benefits to support their employee recruitment, relocation, and retention efforts. Agency headquarters-level human resources staff may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance on any of the pay and leave flexibilities listed below. Additional information on human resources authorities and flexibilities may be found in the Human Resources Flexibilities and Authorities in the Federal Government handbook.
OPM may establish higher rates of basic pay for a group or category of General Schedule (GS) positions in one or more geographic areas.
See the Special Rates main page for more information.
The Executive Schedule can be found at the Salaries and Wages homepage.
At an agency head’s request, OPM may, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, grant authority to fix the rate of basic pay for one or more positions at a higher rate than would otherwise be payable for the position.
See the Critical Position Pay fact sheet for more information.
An agency may use the superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority to set pay for an employee newly-appointed to a GS position above step 1 (up to step 10) because of the superior qualifications of the candidate or a special need of the agency for the candidate’s services. 5 CFR 531.212.
See the Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay-Setting Authority fact sheet for more information.
An agency may use the maximum payable rate rule to set pay for a GS employee at a rate above the rate that would be established using normal rules (up to step 10), based on a higher rate of pay the employee previously received in another Federal job. 5 CFR 531.221-223.
See the Maximum Payable Rate Rule fact sheet for more information.
An agency may pay a recruitment incentive to a newly-appointed employee if the agency has determined that the position is likely to be difficult to fill in the absence of an incentive.
See the Recruitment Incentive fact sheet for more information.
An agency may pay a relocation incentive to a current employee who must relocate to accept a position in a different geographic area if the agency determines that the position is likely to be difficult to fill in the absence of an incentive.
See the Relocation Incentive fact sheet for more information.
An agency may pay a retention incentive 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 that the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.
See the Retention Incentive fact sheet for more information.
An agency may pay a retention incentive to a group or category of current employees if the agency determines that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employees or a special need of the agency for the employees’ services makes it essential to retain the employees in the group and that there is a high risk that a significant number of employees in the targeted group would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.
See the Group Retention Incentive fact sheet for more information.
The Federal Student Loan Repayment Program permits agencies to repay Federally-insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of the agency.
See the Student Loan Repayment fact sheet for more information.
An agency may provide service credit that otherwise would not be creditable for the purpose of determining the annual leave accrual rate to—
The agency must determine that the skills and experience the employee possesses are—
The amount of service credited may be up to the actual amount of service during which the employee performed duties directly related to the position to which he or she is being appointed. Once an employee is permanently credited with a period of non-Federal service or active duty uniformed service (after completion of 1 full continuous year with the appointing agency), that period of service may not be considered for further credit if the employee has a future break in service.
See the Creditable Service fact sheet for more information.
Members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and employees in senior-level (SL) and scientific or professional (ST) positions accrue annual leave at the rate of 1 day (8 hours) per biweekly pay period without regard to their length of service. An agency may request that OPM authorize this same annual leave accrual rate for additional categories of employees if it meets all three of the following conditions—
See the Extension of Higher Annual Leave Accrual Rate fact sheet for more information.
Telework is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work at an approved alternative worksite. Generally, there are two types of telework:
See the Telework website for more information.
An agency may establish programs that allow the use of alternative work schedules (AWS) different from the 40-hour basic workweek. AWS programs have the potential to enable managers and supervisors to meet their program goals while, at the same time, allowing employees to be more flexible in scheduling their activities. As employees gain greater control over their time, they can, for example, balance work and family responsibilities more easily, become involved in volunteer activities, and take advantage of educational opportunities. The employee benefits provided by AWS programs also are useful recruitment and retention tools.
See OPM’s guidance on alternative work schedules in the Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules and the webpage on Negotiating Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules. Also see the fact sheets on Flexible Work Schedules, Compressed Work Schedules, and Credit Hours Under Flexible Work Schedules.
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