5 CFR § 2638.304 - Initial ethics training.

§ 2638.304 Initial ethics training.

Each new employee of the agency subject to the Standards of Conduct must complete initial ethics training that meets the requirements of this section.

(a) Coverage. (1) This section applies to each employee appointed to a position in an agency who was not an employee of the agency immediately prior to that appointment. This section also permits Presidential nominees for Senate-confirmed positions to complete the initial ethics training prior to appointment.

(2) The DAEO may exclude a non-supervisory position at or below the GS–8 grade level, or the equivalent, from the requirement to complete the training presentation described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, provided that:

(i) The DAEO signs a written determination that the duties of the position do not create a substantial likelihood that conflicts of interest will arise;

(ii) The position does not meet the criteria set forth at § 2634.904 of this chapter; and

(iii) The agency provides an employee described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section who is appointed to the position with the written materials required under paragraph (e)(2) of this section within 3 months of appointment.

(b) Deadline. Except as provided in this paragraph, each new employee must complete initial ethics training within 3 months of appointment.

(1) In the case of a Presidential nominee for a Senate-confirmed position, the nominee may complete the ethics training before or after appointment, but not later than 3 months after appointment.

(2) In the case of a special Government employee who is reasonably expected to serve for no more than 60 days in a calendar year on a board, commission, or committee, the agency may provide the initial ethics training at any time before, or at the beginning of, the employee's first meeting of the board, commission, or committee.

(c) Duration. The duration of the training must be sufficient for the agency to communicate the basic ethical obligations of federal service and to present the content described in paragraph (e) of this section.

(d) Format. Employees covered by this section are required to complete interactive initial ethics training.

(e) Content. The following content requirements apply to initial ethics training.

(1) Training presentation. The training presentation must focus on government ethics laws and regulations that the DAEO deems appropriate for the employees participating in the training. The presentation must address concepts related to the following subjects:

(i) Financial conflicts of interest;

(ii) Impartiality;

(iii) Misuse of position; and

(iv) Gifts.

(2) Written materials. In addition to the training presentation, the agency must provide the employee with either the following written materials or written instructions for accessing them:

(i) The summary of the Standards of Conduct distributed by the Office of Government Ethics or an equivalent summary prepared by the agency;

(ii) Provisions of any supplemental agency regulations that the DAEO determines to be relevant or a summary of those provisions;

(iii) Such other written materials as the DAEO determines should be included; and

(iv) Instructions for contacting the agency's ethics office.

(f) Tracking. Each agency must establish written procedures, which the DAEO must review each year, for initial ethics training. In the case of an agency with 1,000 or more employees, the DAEO must review any submissions under § 2638.310 each year to confirm that the agency has implemented an appropriate process for meeting the requirements of this section.

Example 1.
The DAEO of a large agency decides that the agency's ethics officials will conduct live initial ethics training for high-level employees and certain procurement officials. The DAEO directs ethics officials to cover concepts related to financial conflicts of interest, impartiality, misuse of position, and gifts during the live training sessions. She also coordinates with the agency's Chief Information Officer to develop computerized training for all other new employees, and she directs her staff to include concepts related to financial conflicts of interest, impartiality, misuse of position, and gifts in the computerized training. The computerized training poses multiple-choice questions and provides feedback when employees answer the questions. At the DAEO's request, the agency's human resources officials distribute the required written materials as part of the onboarding procedures for new employees. The computerized training automatically tracks completion of the training, and the ethics officials use sign-in sheets to track participation in the live training. After the end of the calendar year, the DAEO reviews the materials submitted by the Office of Human Resources under § 2638.310 to confirm that the agency has implemented procedures for identifying new employees, distributing the written materials, and providing their initial ethics training. The agency's program for initial ethics training complies with the requirements of § 2638.304.
Example 2.
The agency head, the DAEO, and the lead human resources official of an agency with more than 1,000 employees have agreed that human resources officials will conduct initial ethics training. The DAEO provides the lead human resources official with written materials for use during the training, approves the content of the presentations, and trains the human resources officials who will conduct the initial ethics training. After the end of the calendar year, the lead human resources official provides the DAEO with a copy of the agency's procedures for identifying new employees and providing initial ethics training, and the lead human resources official confirms that there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the procedures have been implemented. The DAEO reviews these procedures and finds them satisfactory. The agency has complied with its tracking obligations with regard to initial ethics training.