HRDG 4500 - Recruitment and Retention Incentives - Section D

HRDG 4500 - Recruitment and Retention Incentives - Section D

Subchapter 4500 - Recruitment and Retention Incentives
Section D - Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay Setting Authority


 


 

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What is the Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay Setting Authority? 
Updated 03/06 

The Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay Setting Authority (referred to as SQA) allows you to set a new employee's pay at a step above step 1 of the General Schedule. You may use this authority for high quality candidates entering the Federal civilian service to fill any GS-1 through GS-15 position (including permanent and temporary positions in the competitive or excepted service):

  • For the first time (new appointment regardless of tenure) or
  • Returning to Federal employment after a break in service of 90 calendar days or more (5 CFR 531.203 [b] [future new cite 5 CFR 531.212(a) (3)]). ("Federal government" means all entities of the U. S. Government, including the U. S. Postal Service and the Postal Rate Commission and District of Columbia employees hired before 10/01/87.)

 

You also may use this authority to hire a current Federal or District of Columbia Government employee who is moving to a new position only if the employee is currently working:

  • Under a time-limited or non-permanent appointment in the competitive or excepted service (including the Student Career Experience Program [SCEP]),
  • Under an appointment as an expert or consultant under 5 U.S.C. 3109 and 5 CFR 304,
  • Under a provisional appointment under 5 CFR 316.403.

 

This authority pertains to new appointments only.

Justification Criteria
Updated 03/06 

Your written justification to pay a starting salary above Step 1 must be based on the:

  • Unusually high (i.e., superior) qualifications of the individual (e.g., describe how the individual's experience, education, and/or accomplishments are significantly higher than other candidates in the field. The superior qualifications must be relevant to the position being filled and above the qualifications that are minimally required for the position), and the income to be forfeited to accept the position, or
  • Special agency need for the individual's services (e.g., describe how the type, level, or quality of the individual's experience and/or education is essential to accomplishing an important agency mission, goal, program activity or work force need [as documented by the agency's strategic human capital plan]).

 

Note: To justify that a candidate would have to forfeit income to accept the position, you must fill out Form MRP 147-R (PDF), Annual Salary Computation Sheet for Superior Qualifications Appointments.

Your justification (and/or any attached documentation) must also include:

  • Whether or not it is necessary to use this authority to entice the candidate to accept the position,
  • The relative merits of the case by comparison to other cases in which the agency has used this authority,
  • The reason(s) for authorizing the higher rate instead of or in addition to a recruitment incentive (see Section E), and
  • The impact of the decision on the advancement of the agency's equal employment opportunity and workforce diversity objectives.

 

In addition, the factors below may assist you in determining the step at which to set an individual's pay. In your justification, remember to identify the factor(s) used and explain how each directly relates to the step at which pay is set. Additional factor(s) you may consider:

  • The individual's existing salary, recent salary history, or salary documented in a competing job offer (taking into account the location of the position which was offered and comparing that salary to the payable Federal salary in the same location);
  • Significant disparities between Federal and nonfederal salaries for the skills needed for the position being filled;
  • Existing labor market conditions and employment trends, including the availability and quality of candidates for the same or similar positions;
  • The success of recent efforts to recruit candidates for the same or similar positions;
  • Recent turnover in the same or similar positions;
  • The importance/criticality of the position being filled and the effect on the agency if it is not filled or if there is a delay in filling it;
  • The desirability of the geographic location, duties, and/or work environment associated with the position;
  • Agency workforce needs, as documented in the agency's strategic human capital plan; and/or,
  • Other relevant factors
Process for Making SQA's

To make an SQA, follow this process:

Step

If:

Then

1

Documenting approval to pay

Consult the Justification Criteria in this section.

2

Payment is justified

Document approval to pay by submitting, through appropriate channels, MRP 145-R (PDF), Superior Qualifications Appointments, and, if applicable, MRP 147-R (PDF), Salary Computation Sheet for Superior Qualifications Appointments, to the manager with the authority to approve.

3

Request has been approved

Activate payment by sending documentation of approval to the Servicing Personnel Office (SPO).

4

Payment has been made

Forward a copy of the required information listed in the Records block in this section to the SPO.

Approval Authority If you have the authority to hire employees (i.e., make final, firm offers of employment), you may approve an SQA (DPM 338-9, Attachment 1, 6-1b).
Records

In addition to the record requirements on the Records/Reports Chart in Section A, the SPO also must maintain the following information:

  • Nature of action (e.g., career-conditional appointment). (See Section A of Human Resources Desk Guide, Subchapter 4335, and Supplement 4300, Selected Staffing Options.)
  • Copy of MRP 145-R (PDF), Superior Qualifications Appointments.
  • Copy of MRP 147-R (PDF), Annual Salary Computation Sheet for Superior Qualifications Appointments.
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