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Recruiting and Retaining Authorities Available for Information Technology Professionals


Introductory Memorandum from Director, Human Resources 

Recruiting New or Former Employees 

Retaining Current Employees 

Work Life Issues and Family Friendly Policies

Introductory Memo 
April 28, 1998 

Recruiting and Retaining Authorities Available for Information Technology Professionals
MRP Administrators

With the difficulties experienced in recruiting and retaining high quality Information Technology (IT) professionals, the attached summary was prepared to assist you in your human resource management efforts. It was compiled from existing agency policies and highlights the major human resource flexibilities available to help in recruiting and retaining IT professionals. Using the attached summary, your supervisors will have specific reference cites for applying these flexibilities and points of contact in Human Resources.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me on area code (202) 720-5323.

MaryLynn Horst
Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Human Resources

Superior Qualifications Appointments. Provides the authority to set pay for new appointments or reappointment of individuals to General Schedule (GS) positions above step 1 of the grade based on superior qualifications of the cand idate or a special need of the agency. See AMS Directive 326.1; APHIS & GIPSA see MRP Human Resources Desk Guide (HRDG), Subchapter 4531, pages 13 - 16. For additional guidance, contact your servicing personnel office.

Use of “ Highest Previous Rate.” Upon reemployment, transfer, reassignment, promotion, demotion, or change in type of appointment, agencies have discretionary authority to set the rate of basic pay o f an employee by taking into account a rate of basic pay previously received by an individual while employed in another Federal civilian position (with certain exceptions). See AMS Directive 322.1; APHIS & GIPSA contact your servicing personnel offi ce for assistance.

Recruitment and Relocation Bonuses. Provides the authority to make a lumpsum payment of up to 25% of basic pay to a newly appointed employee or to an employee who must relocate to fill a position that wo uld otherwise be difficult to fill. In return, the employee must sign a service agreement with the agency. Recruitment bonuses may be used in combination with superior qualifications appointments. See AMS Directive 328.1; APHIS & GIPSA see HRDG-453 1-17 to 22. Contact your servicing personnel office for additional guidance.

Reemployment of Military and Civilian Retirees. When exceptional difficulty in recruiting or retaining a qualified candidate for a particular position is encountered, MRPHR can request that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) waive the law that prohibits reemployment of military and civilian retirees from getting the full combined value of salaries and annuities. This delegated authority would allow agency heads to issue waivers on a casebycase bas is. See MRP HRDG-4531-35 to 40. Contact Nella Kusmenko, MRPHR, on area code (301) 734-5382 to obtain such a waiver.

Retaining Current Employees

Premium Pay for Employees Performing Emergency Work. OPM regulations allow the USDA to waive the biweekly limitation on premium pay when it is determined that an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property exists. Whe n such a waiver is made, an employee who is performing work in connection with the emergency must be paid premium pay e.g., overtime, night, Sunday, or holiday pay under the annual limitation of GS-15, step, 10, rather than the GS-15, step 10, biweekly limitation. Contact Nella Kusmenko, for assistance in obtaining such a waiver from the Department.

Retention Allowances. Provides the discretionary authority to make continuing (i.e., biweekly) payments of up to 25% of basic pay based upon a determination by the agency that (1) the unusually high or uniq ue qualifications of the employee or a special need of the agency for the employee's services makes it essential to retain the employee, and (2) the employees would be likely to leave (for any reason, including retirement) in the absence of a retenti on allowance. See AMS Directive 328.1; APHIS & GIPSA see HRDG-4531-23 to 29. Contact your servicing personnel office for additional guidance.

Granting a “ Quality Step Increase.” Provides for accelerating an employee's pay by granting a quality step increase to an employee who has received the highest rating of record available in the app licable performance appraisal program. See AMS Directive 347.1. Also see the USDA Guide for Employee Recognition. APHIS & GIPSA contact your servicing employee relations specialist for guidance.

Performance and Incentive Awards. Allows managers to grant an employee a lump sum cash award based on a Fully Successful or better rating of record or in recognition of accomplishments that contribute to the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations. Awards can be up to 10% of salary, or up to 20% for exceptional performance, provided the award does not exceed $10,000 per employee. Any award that would grant over $10,000 and up to $25,000, to an individual employee must be reviewed and approved by OPM. Any award that would grant over $25,000 to an individual employee must be reviewed by OPM for submission to the President for approval. APHIS see the HRDG-4531-68 & APHIS Directive 440.1. Also, contact your servicing employee relations specialist. AMS contact your resource management staff. GIPSA contact Eugene Bass on area code (202) 720-0216.

Work Life Issues and Family Friendly Policies

Alternative Work Schedules. Human Resource polices allow employees to work several types of tours of duty other than traditional 8 hours per day/40 hours per week. Hours per day and starting/quitting times each day may vary, and in some cases, employees may be permitted to work fewer than 10 days in a 2week period. See AMS Directive 306.1; APHIS & GIPSA see MRP HRDG 4610. Contact your servicing personnel office for additional guidance.

Leave Transfer Program. This program allows coworkers to voluntarily transfer some of their annual leave to specific coworkers to assist coworkers in dealing with a personal or family medical emergency. Contact your servicing specialist from the Leave and Compensation Unit, in Minneapolis, Minnesota for additional guidance.

Telecommuting. This MRP program allows employees to work at home or at another approved location away from the regular office. Contact Carmen Queen-Hines, MRP HR, on area code (301) 734-5579 for guidance.

Part-time Employment and Job Sharing. These options may help employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. Contact your servicing personnel office for more information.

Family and Medical Leave Act. Entitles employees to up to 12 weeks of leave without pay per year for personal and family medical emergencies. See MRP HRDG - 4630 - 77 to 90.

Paid Leave for Family Care and Related Purposes . Allows employees to use sick leave to care for family members, to arrange for or attend funeral services of family members, and for absences related to adopting a child. Employees can receive additional paid leave to serve as a bonemarrow or organ donor. See MRP HRDG - 4630 .

Dependent Care Assistance. This is available to help employees with child and elder care needs. See MRP HRDG - 4630 - 75 or contact a member of the Work and Family Life Council for more information.

Employee Assistance Program. This program provides a variety of confidential services, including counseling and referrals, to employees who are experiencing personal problems such as work and family pressures, su bstance abuse, and financial problems which can adversely affect performance, reliability, and personal health.

Benefits. Includes leave, health insurance, holidays, subsidized transportation, pensions, life insurance and liability insurance. Contact your servicing personnel office for additional information.



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