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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Pay


Compensation


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 pay-leave-policy@opm.gov 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. (PDF file) [1.82 MB]

Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay-Setting Authority (READ MORE)
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.


Maximum Payable Rate Rule (READ MORE)
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.


Recruitment Incentives (READ MORE)
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.
  • A recruitment incentive may be as much as 25 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay in effect at the beginning of the service period multiplied by the number of years in the service period (up to 4 years) (i.e., as much as 100 percent of basic pay). With OPM approval, this cap may be increased to 50 percent (based on a critical agency need), as long as the total incentive does not exceed 100 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay at the beginning of the service period.
  • 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5 CFR part 575, subpart A.
See the Recruitment Incentive fact sheet for more information.


Relocation Incentives (READ MORE)
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.
  • Relocation incentives have the same payment limitations as recruitment incentives.
  • 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5 CFR part 575, subpart B.
See the Relocation Incentive fact sheet for more information.


Federal Student Loan Repayment Program (READ MORE)
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.
  • Agencies may make payments to the loan holder of up to a maximum of $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year.
  • Agencies may pay a total of up to $60,000 (lifetime maximum) for any one employee.
  • 3-year service agreement is required.
  • Employee must reimburse the paying agency for all benefits received if he or she is separated voluntarily or separated involuntarily for misconduct, unacceptable performance, or a negative suitability determination.
  • 5 U.S.C. 5379 and 5 CFR part 537
See the Student Loan Repayment fact sheet for more information.


Creditable Service for Annual Leave Accrual (READ MORE)
An agency may provide service credit that otherwise would not be creditable for the purpose of determining the annual leave accrual rate to—
  • A newly-appointed or reappointed employee with a break of at least 90 calendar days after his or her last period of civilian employment in the civil service; or
  • A retired member of the active duty uniformed service as defined by 38 U.S.C. 4303.
The agency must determine that the skills and experience the employee possesses are—
  • Essential to the new position and were acquired through performance in a non-Federal or active duty uniformed service position having duties which directly relate to the duties of the position to which he or she is being appointed; and
  • Necessary to achieve an important agency mission or performance goal.
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.
  • 5 U.S.C. 2101(1), 5 U.S.C. 6303(e), and 5 CFR 630.205
See the Creditable Service fact sheet for more information.


Resources: (READ MORE)