OPM offers incentives

OPM memo on bonuses

The Office of Personnel Management unveiled new interim regulations today to pay federal workers more to recruit them, retain or relocate them.

Although OPM didn’t call these new interim rules "bonuses," federal workers could be paid up to 100 percent of one year's salary for recruitment and relocation and 50 percent for retention under the Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004.

"The purpose was to enhance (the existing incentives) so agencies would be in a better place to strategically use them," said Donald Winstead, OPM’s deputy associate director for pay and performance policy.

But there are some drawbacks to the new regulations, OPM officials acknowledged.

Congress did not appropriate additional money to pay for the incentives, so agencies will have to find the money within their existing budgets, they said. And workers who fail to stay at an agency for a specific designated period of time will have to repay the funds.

Dan Blair, OPM's acting director, said in a memo that "recruitment, relocation and retention payments are designed to provide a monetary incentive for an individual to accept employment or remain employed in the federal service in a current position."

The retention and recruitment payments will not be available for employees to move from one federal agency to another.

Last year's incentives by the numbers
  • Recruitment payments in fiscal 2004: 5,855
  • Relocation payments in FY 2004: 1,268
  • Employees receiving retention allowances as of December 2004: 16,414
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