What are reimbursable overtime services?
Reimbursable overtime services are import- and export-related services provided by Federal employees outside their regular duty hours. APHIS regulations for the importation and exportation of animals, plants, and related agricultural products include requirements for inspection, laboratory testing, certification, and quarantine. Employees of APHIS and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide inspection, testing, certification, and quarantine services at laboratories and designated ports. With some exceptions, when these services must be provided outside the employee’s regular duty hours, the Government charges an hourly overtime fee for the services. The fee “reimburses” the Federal Government for the cost of providing the overtime services. Reimbursable overtime fees are not charged for services other than import- or export-related services.
When do reimbursable overtime fees apply?
With certain limitations, reimbursable overtime fees apply to import and export services when:
- The services are subject to a flat rate user fee in accordance with 7 CFR 354.3 or 9 CFR 130; and
- The services are provided outside the normal duty hours of the employee providing the services
Overtime services must be requested in advance. Both the flat rate fee and the reimbursable overtime fee must be paid.
Limitations on charges
- Airlines will not be charged reimbursable overtime for inspection of aircraft if the aircraft is subject to the AQI user fee for arriving aircraft as prescribed by 7 CFR 354.3. (See 7 CFR 354.3(e)(5).)
- Airlines will not be charged reimbursable overtime for inspection of cargo from an aircraft if the aircraft is subject to the AQI user fee for arriving aircraft as prescribed by 7 CFR 354.3 and:
- The cargo is inspected between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; or
- The cargo is inspected concurrently with the aircraft. (See 7 CFR 354.3(e)(5).)
- Airlines will not be charged reimbursable overtime for passenger inspection services required for any aircraft on which a passenger has paid the airline passenger AQI user fee for that flight. (See 7 CFR 354.3(f)(8).)
Additionally, as provided by transportation law (49 U.S.C. 80503):
- The total user fee charged to private aircraft or vessels arriving in or leaving the United States will be no more than $25 for all inspection services provided by the Department of Agriculture, the Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Public Health Service on a Sunday or holiday, or at any time between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. on a weekday (See 7 CFR 354.1(a)(1)(i).)
- In a customer service effort to expand port availability, certain ports may establish regular hours of service on Sundays or holidays. If this is the case, owners and operators of aircraft who receive inspection services during those regular hours of service on a Sunday or holiday will not be charged reimbursable overtime fees. Setting regular hours on Sundays or holidays is handled on a port-by-port basis and is at the discretion of port management.
Reimbursable overtime fees do not apply to import and export services for which APHIS charges an hourly rate (e.g., for inspection of live animals at airports, ocean ports, and rail ports or for supervising the opening of in-bond shipments–see 9 CFR 130.30(a)).
When services for which an hourly rate is charged are provided outside the normal duty hours of the employee providing the services, premium hourly rates apply instead of the normal hourly rate. Premium hourly rates are listed in 9 CFR 130.30(b).
What authority does APHIS have to collect user fees for reimbursable overtime services?
These user fees are authorized by section 433 of the Plant Protection Act (PPA)(7 U.S.C. 7753) and section 10412 of the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) (7 U.S.C. 8311). Both Acts specifically authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to pay employees performing services relating to imports into and exports from the United States for all overtime, night, or holiday work performed by them, at pay rates established by the Secretary. They further authorize the Secretary to require people who receive the services to reimburse the Secretary for the costs of the services. Additionally, they provide that funds collected be credited to the account that incurs the costs and remain available until expended without fiscal year limitation. APHIS has been delegated authority for carrying out these provisions.