5 U.S. Code § 9805 - Retention bonuses
(a) Notwithstanding section 5754, the Administrator may pay a bonus to an employee, in accordance with the workforce plan and subject to the limitations in this section, if the Administrator determines that—
(1) the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the Administration for the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee; and
(b) If the position is described as addressing a critical need in the workforce plan under section 9802 (b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus may not exceed 50 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay (including comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
(c) If the position is not described as addressing a critical need in the workforce plan under section 9802 (b)(2)(A), the amount of a bonus may not exceed 25 percent of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay (excluding comparability payments under sections 5304 and 5304a).
(A) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be contingent upon the employee entering into a service agreement with the Administration.
(B) At a minimum, the service agreement shall include—
(ii) the method of payment, including a payment schedule, which may include a lump-sum payment, installment payments, or a combination thereof;
(2) The employee’s service period shall be expressed as the number equal to the full years and twelfth parts thereof, rounding the fractional part of a month to the nearest twelfth part of a year. The service period may not be less than 6 months and may not exceed 4 years.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a service agreement is not required if the Administration pays a bonus in biweekly installments and sets the installment payment at the full bonus percentage rate established for the employee, with no portion of the bonus deferred. In this case, the Administration shall inform the employee in writing of any decision to change the retention bonus payments. The employee shall continue to accrue entitlement to the retention bonus through the end of the pay period in which such written notice is provided.
(f) An employee is not entitled to a retention bonus under this section during a service period previously established for that employee under section 5753 or under section 9804.