5 CFR § 575.306 - Authorizing a retention incentive.

§ 575.306 Authorizing a retention incentive.

(a) Authority of authorized agency official. An authorized agency official retains sole and exclusive discretion, subject only to OPM review and oversight, to -

(1) Determine when the unusually high or unique qualifications (i.e., competencies) of an employee or a special need of the agency for the employee's services makes it essential to retain the employee and when the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive;

(2) Determine when a group or category of employees has unusually high or unique qualifications (i.e., competencies) or when an agency has a special need for the employees' services that makes it essential to retain the employees in that group or category and when there is a high risk that a significant number of employees in the group would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive;

(3) Approve a retention incentive for an employee (or group or category of employees, except as prohibited by § 575.305(c)) in a position (or positions) listed in § 575.303;

(4) Establish the criteria for determining the amount of a retention incentive and the length of a service period under §§ 575.309 and 575.310, respectively;

(5) Request a waiver from OPM of the limitation on the maximum amount of a retention incentive for an employee (or group or category of employees) under § 575.309(e); and

(6) Establish the criteria for terminating a service agreement or retention incentive payments under § 575.311.

(b) Factors for authorizing a retention incentive for an individual employee. An agency must consider the following factors, as applicable to the case at hand, in determining whether the unusually high or unique qualifications of an employee or a special need of the agency for an employee's services makes it essential to retain the employee and that the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive:

(1) Employment trends and labor market factors such as the availability and quality of candidates in the labor market possessing the competencies required for the position and who, with minimal training, cost, or disruption of service to the public, could perform the full range of duties and responsibilities of the employee's position at the level performed by the employee;

(2) The quality and availability of the potential sources of employees that are identified in any agency succession plan (e.g., succession plans required for leadership positions), who possess the competencies required for the position, and who, with minimal training, cost, and disruption of service to the public, could perform the full range of duties and responsibilities of the employee's position at the level performed by the employee;

(3) The success of recent efforts to recruit candidates and retain employees with competencies similar to those possessed by the employee for positions similar to the position held by the employee;

(4) Special or unique competencies required for the position;

(5) Agency efforts to use non-pay authorities to help retain the employee instead of or in addition to a retention incentive, such as special training and work scheduling flexibilities or improving working conditions;

(6) The desirability of the duties, work or organizational environment, or geographic location of the position;

(7) The extent to which the employee's departure would affect the agency's ability to carry out an activity, perform a function, or complete a project that the agency deems essential to its mission;

(8) The salaries typically paid outside the Federal Government; and

(9) Other supporting factors.

(c) Factors for authorizing a retention incentive for a group or category of employees.

(1) An agency must consider the factors in paragraph (b) of this section as they relate to determining whether a group or category of employees -

(i) Has unusually high or unique qualifications (i.e., competencies) or that the agency has a special need for the employees' services that makes it essential to retain the employees in that category; and

(ii) That it is reasonable to presume that there is a high risk that a significant number of employees in the targeted category would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive.

(2) An agency must narrowly define a targeted category of employees using factors that relate to the conditions described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. Factors that may be appropriate include the following: occupational series, grade level, distinctive job duties, unique competencies required for the position, assignment to a special project, minimum agency service requirements, organization or team designation, geographic location, and required rating of record. (While a rating of record of higher than the “Fully Successful” rating of record required by § 575.305(d) may be a factor used in defining the targeted category, a rating of record by itself is not sufficient to justify a retention incentive. A rating of record may function as a supporting factor in authorizing an incentive or setting the incentive rate only to the extent it directly relates to the conditions in paragraph (d) of this section.)

(d) An agency must document the determinations required under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section as required by § 575.308.

[70 FR 25747, May 13, 2005, as amended at 78 FR 49364, Aug. 14, 2013]