5 CFR 535.104 - Requests for and granting critical position pay authority.
(a) An agency may request critical position pay authority only after determining that the position in question cannot be filled with an exceptionally well-qualified individual through the use of other available human resources flexibilities and pay authorities. Agency requests must include the information in paragraph (d) of this section. OPM, in consultation with OMB, will review agency requests. OPM will advise the requesting agency as to whether the request is approved and when the agency's critical position pay authority becomes effective.
(b) A request for critical position pay authority (or authorities) must be signed by the head of an agency and submitted to OPM. Requests covering multiple positions must include a list of the positions in priority order. The head of an agency may request coverage of positions of a type not listed in 5 U.S.C. 5377(a)(2), as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5377(i)(2) and Executive Order 13415.
(c) Requests for critical position pay authority to set pay above the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule and up to the rate for level I of the Executive Schedule because of exceptional circumstances require information and data that justify the higher pay. Requests for critical position pay authority to set pay above the rate for level I of the Executive Schedule due to rare circumstances require approval by the President. The head of an agency must submit such requests to OPM with the information required in paragraph (d) of this section. If OPM, in consultation with OMB, concurs with a request to set pay above the rate for level I of the Executive Schedule, OPM will seek the President's approval. The President may establish a maximum limitation on the critical pay rate.
(d) At a minimum, all requests for critical position pay authority must include:
(1) Position title;
(2) Position appointment authority (for Senior Executive Service positions, appointment authority for any incumbent);
(3) Pay plan and grade/level;
(4) Occupational series of the position;
(5) Geographic location of the position;
(6) Current salary of the position or incumbent;
(7) Name of incumbent (or “Vacant”);
(8) Length of time the incumbent has been in the position or length of time the position has been vacant;
(9) A written evaluation of the need to designate the position as critical. Such an evaluation must include -
(i) The kinds of work required by the position and the context within which it operates;
(ii) The range of positions and qualification requirements that characterize the occupational field, including those that require extremely high levels of expertise;
(iii) The rates of pay reasonably and generally required in the public and private sectors for similar positions; and
(iv) The availability of individuals who possess the qualifications to do the work required by the position;
(10) Documentation, with appropriate supporting data, of the agency's experience and, as appropriate, the experience of other organizations, in efforts to recruit or retain exceptionally well-qualified individuals for the position or for a position sufficiently similar with respect to the occupational field, required qualifications, and other pertinent factors, to provide a reliable comparison;
(11) Assessment of why the agency could not, through diligent and comprehensive recruitment efforts and without using the critical position pay authority, fill the position within a reasonable period with an individual who could perform the duties and responsibilities in a manner sufficient to fulfill the agency's mission. This assessment must include a justification as to why the agency could not, as an effective alternative, use other human resources flexibilities and pay authorities, such as recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives under 5 CFR part 575;
(12) An explanation regarding why the position should be designated a critical position and made eligible for a higher rate of pay under this part within its organizational context (i.e., relative to other positions in the organization) and, when applicable, how it compares with other critical positions in the agency. The agency must include an explanation of how it will deal with perceived inequities among agency employees (e.g., situations in which employees in positions designated as critical would receive higher rates of pay than their peers, supervisors, or other employees in positions with higher-level duties and responsibilities);
(13) Documentation of the effect on the successful accomplishment of important agency missions if the position is not designated as a critical position, including an explanation and justification for OPM and OMB to expedite processing in cases where the agency believes that urgency warrants expedited processing;
(14) Any additional information the agency may deem appropriate to demonstrate that higher pay is needed to recruit or retain an employee for a critical position;
(15) Unless the position is an Executive Schedule position, a copy of the position description and qualification standard for the critical position; and
(16) The desired rate of basic pay for requests to set pay above the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule and justification to show that such a rate is necessary to recruit and retain an individual exceptionally well-qualified for the critical position.