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HRDG 4550 - Premium Pay - Section G

Subchapter 4550
Premium Pay 

Section G - Physical Hardship, Hazard Duty and Evacuation Payments for General Schedule Employees



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You may request approval to pay your employee a hazard pay differential (up to 25 percent of the rate of basic pay) for the performance of:

  • hazardous duty, or
  • duty involving physical hardship (5 CFR 550.901).
What is Hazardous Duty? Hazardous duty is duty performed under circumstances in which an accident could result in serious injury or death, such as duty performed on a high structure where protective facilities are not used or an open structure where adverse conditions such as darkness, lightning, steady rain, or high wind velocity exist.
What is Duty with a Physical Hardship? Duty involving physical hardship is duty that may not in itself be hazardous, but causes extreme physical discomfort or distress. The hardship is not adequately alleviated by protective or mechanical devices, such as duty involving exposure to extreme temperatures for a long period of time, arduous physical exertion, or exposure to fumes, dust, or noise that causes nausea, skin, eye, ear, or nose irritation.
Conditions for Payment

Hazard pay differential is paid IN ADDITION TO any additional pay or allowances payable under other statutes. It is not part of your employee's rate of basic pay in computing additional pay or allowances payable under other statutes.

You must pay the hazard pay differential for those hours your employee is in a pay status on the day(a calendar day or a 24-hour period, when designated by the agency) on which he/she performs the duty.

You may not pay a hazard pay differential to your employee when the hazardous duty or duty involving physical hardship has been taken into account in the classification of your employee's position, whether or not the duty is grade controlling, unless approved by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (5 CFR 550.904 [a]).

See Title 5 CFR 550, Subpart I, Appendix A, for the list of duties authorized a hazard pay differential.

Termination of Hazard Pay Differential

You will discontinue payment of a hazard pay differential to your employee when:

  • One or more of the conditions required for such a payment ceases to exist,
  • Adequate safety precautions have reduced the element of hazard to less than a significant level of risk, or
  • Protective or mechanical devices have adequately alleviated physical discomfort or distress.
Approval Authority OPM retains the authority to establish hazard duty rate schedules in the CFR.
Process for Requesting Approval to Pay a Hazard Pay Differential You should follow this process to request approval to pay a hazard pay differential:
Step When: Then:
1 Requesting approval, Consult the Justification Criteria in this section.
2 Request is justified, Compile the required information listed in Justification Criteria and send through channels to the Servicing Personnel Office (SPO) for review and approval. (To establish or modify a rate in the CFR, include the recommended rate of hazard pay differential to be established. These types of requests will be forwarded by Human Resources Division (HRD) to OPM for approval.)
3 Request is approved, Activate employee's pay by T&A Code. Send copy of approval documentation to the SPO.
Justification Criteria

In deciding whether the payment of a hazard pay differential is justified, you should consider and describe the following:

  • The specific hazardous duty or specific duty involving physical hardship,
  • The degree to which your employee(s) is exposed to hazard or physical hardship,
  • The length of time during which the duty will continue to exist,
  • The degree to which control may be exercised over the hazard or physical hardship,
  • The organizational component, position (title, series, and grade),
  • The number of employees to be covered,
  • The estimated annual cost to the agency if the request to pay is approved, and

If the duty has already been taken into account in the classification of the position,

  • The impact of the duty on the classification of the position, and
  • The reason a hazardous pay differential should be paid anyway.

The SPO must keep records of the following information, for at least 2 years, about each employee who receives a Hazard Pay Differential:

  • Name
  • Position Title
  • Series
  • Grade/Step
  • Annual Salary
  • Race, Sex, National Origin information
  • Disability Status
  • Rate of hazard pay differential (i.e., percent of the rate of basic pay) received
  • The specific hazardous duty or specific duty involving physical hardship performed by each employee.
Reports Since the SPO will be involved in the tracking of requests, no additional reports are required to be submitted to the SPO.
Evacuation and Advance Salary Payments During an Emergency
Added 01/07

HRO computes pay using 5 CFR 550.404 and departmental policy. An advance salary payment may cover a period of up to 30 days. Evacuation payments continue as long as the order to evacuate remains in effect (unless terminated) but may not exceed 180 days. Evacuation payments are terminated and pay is adjusted based on 5 CFR 550.407 and 408.
Detailed information regarding evacuation and advance salary payments can be found on the Internet at:

Questions regarding travel per diem should be referred to your servicing travel specialist:

APHIS Travel Service Center (Employees Only)
AMS (202) 690-3733, (202) 690-3741
GIPSA (202) 720-7045
(Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 157, pages 47692-47693, dated August 17, 2006, 5 CFR 531.605 [d)][3] [ii], and 5 CFR 550 Subpart D).

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