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Pay & Leave Recruitment, Relocation & Retention Incentives

Fact Sheet: Group Retention Incentives (likely to leave for a different Federal position)

Description

An agency may approve a retention incentive for a group or category of employees when the agency determines-

  • Given the agency's mission requirements and employees' competencies, the agency has a special need for the employees' services that makes it essential to retain the employees in their current positions during a period of time before the closure or relocation of the employees' office, facility, activity, or organization; and
  • There is a high risk that a significant number of the employees in the group would be likely to leave for different positions in the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.*

Agencies may approve a retention incentive for individual employees who would be likely to leave for a different Federal position before a facility closure or relocation. See Retention Incentives (likely to leave for a different Federal position) fact sheet for additional information.

* See the Group Retention Incentives (likely to leave the Federal service) fact sheet if there is a high risk that a significant number of the employees in the group would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of an incentive.

Eligibility

A retention incentive may be paid to an employee who would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service when-

  • The employee is in a covered position (see "Covered Positions" below);
  • The employee's rating of record under an official performance appraisal or evaluation system is at least "Fully Successful" or equivalent; and
  • The agency has provided a general or specific written notice to the employee that his or her position may or would be affected by the closure or relocation of the employee's office, facility, activity, or organization (e.g., the employee's position may or would move to a new geographic location or the employee's position may or would be eliminated).

Covered Positions

Group-based retention incentives may be paid to eligible individuals who are in General Schedule (GS), law enforcement officer, or prevailing rate positions or other categories for which the payment of retention incentives has been approved by U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at the request of the head of an executive agency.

Excluded Positions

Retention incentives may not be paid to Presidential appointees or those in positions excepted from the competitive service by reason of their confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating natures. In addition, an agency may not include in a group retention incentive authorization an employee in a senior-level (SL), scientific or professional (ST), Senior Executive Service (SES), Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration (FBI/DEA) SES, or Executive Schedule (EX) position or in a similar category of positions for which the payment of a retention incentive has been approved by OPM.

Agency Plan

Before authorizing a retention incentive for a group or category of employees who would be likely to leave for a different Federal position before the closure or relocation of the employees' office, facility, activity, or organization, an agency must establish a retention incentive plan or include in its existing retention incentive plan the conditions and requirements governing the use of this authority. The plan must include the designation of officials with authority to review and approve the payment of these retention incentives. A separate plan is not needed for group retention incentives. (See 5 CFR 575.307(a) for additional requirements for retention incentive plans.)

Approval Criteria

For each retention incentive authorized for a group or category of employees who would be likely to leave for a different Federal position before the closure or relocation of the employees' office, facility, activity, or organization, an agency must document in writing-

  • The basis for determining the agency has a special need for the employees' services that makes it essential to retain the employees, based on the agency's mission needs and the employees' competencies, during a period of time before the closure or relocation of the employees' office, facility, activity, or organization;
  • The basis for determining, in the absence of a retention incentive, there is a high risk that a significant number of employees in the group would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service; and
  • The basis for determining the amount and timing of the incentive payments and the length of the service period.

An agency must address the factors listed in 5 CFR 575.315(d)(3) when making such written determinations.

Defining the Group

An agency must narrowly define the targeted group of employees to be paid a group retention incentive when the employees would be likely to leave for a different Federal position using factors that relate to the employees' competencies and the special need for the employees' services that makes it essential to retain the group and their likelihood to leave. Appropriate factors are described in 5 CFR 575.306(c)(2). However, such group retention incentives may cover no more than one occupational series.

Payment

An agency must establish a single retention incentive rate for each group of employees who would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service, expressed as a percentage of the employee's rate of basic pay, not to exceed 10 percent (or not to exceed 50 percent with OPM approval based on a critical agency need). Other provisions for computing and paying retention incentives for a group or category of employees under 5 CFR 575.309 generally apply to retention incentives authorized for groups likely to leave for a different Federal position. However, an agency may not pay a retention incentive in biweekly installments at the full retention incentive percentage rate.

See the Retention Incentive Payment and Termination Calculations fact sheet for additional information on computing and paying retention incentives.

Other Provisions

An agency may pay a group-based retention incentive to any individual in the targeted group if all other conditions and requirements for payment of a retention incentive are met. See the Retention Incentives (likely to leave for a different Federal position) fact sheet for further information, including information on service agreements, annual review requirements, termination of retention incentives, and reporting requirements.

References

  • 5 U.S.C. 5754
  • 5 CFR 575.314

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