By Reg Jones
Q. I resigned from federal employment as a civilian in the Air Force after 18 months in March 2012. I have reapplied and been offered a position at same base. The position is a grade higher than the one I had when I left. I was a GS-11, Step 8. The new position is a GS-12. What should the salary offer be for that position? From what I have been told by several other sources, the offer being made is incorrect for my situation (offering a GS-12, Step 2). I have been told the salary should be calculated by moving two steps right and up from my previous GS-11, Step 8 — which would make the new salary a GS-12, Step 4. Which is the correct calculation?
Q. I served in the military from June 1974 to April 1981. I was then hired by civil service in April 1983 as a temporary employee. I was picked up as permanent in July 1984, and my service computation date is June 1976.
For whatever reason, when FERS was implemented, I was left in the original CSRS retirement plan and have been paying into CSRS for 29 years and 11 months. I applied for retirement computation last month and was notified by the human resource office that I will have to switch to FERS or CSRS offset to retire. Since I have invested into CRSR my whole career, can I remain in CSRS?
December 21st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I was employed by the Postal Service from 1956 to 1968. In 1986, I was re-employed by the postal service. Am I included in the CSRS Offset? I wonder because I was re-employed after 1983, when anyone hired then went into FERS.
A: Because you had at least five years of CSRS service when you were re-employed by the federal government, you were automatically placed in CSRS Offset.
December 7th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: If a person on CSRS disability retirement is under age 60 and his doctor believes he can return to work, can he return to the governement and maintain the same status as he was before he retired? Or will he have to start at the bottom like a new empoyee and start over just as if he had never worked?
A: While you may be re-employed in any position for which you are qualified, the law doesn’t require that your former agency or any other agency offer you a position. If you are rehired, your prior service – but not the time you were on disability retirement – will be credited to you in determining your total years of service. Your high-3 for retirement purposes would be your highest three consecutive years of average salary, no matter when they occured in your career.
July 21st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I am about to retire from the NAtional Labor Relations Board. My Agency has asked if I would perform hearings and other tasks that could not be accomplished by any local person due to specialized qualifications and experience. Is there a procedure for me to collect my full annuity and get paid by an hourly rate with no offsets or reductions?
A: Your agency would have one of two avenues to pursue if it wants to bring you back onboard and waive the normal offset to your annuity. They could ask OPM to approve your appointment based on an exceptional recruiting or retention need or, on their own, use a limited time appointment under Section 112 of Public Law 111-84, because they have a need to fulfill a function critical to the mission of the agency. Such an appointment would be for one year or less. In either case, none of the time you spent would be creditable for any retirement purpose. When you separated, your annuity would simply continue.
June 28th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: Can management temporarily promote (non-competitively) an employee to the lower grade of a six/seven-graded position for 120 days? Are temporary promotions limited to the full-performance level only of a given position? What specific rules support or prevent such actions?
A: Temporary promotions are intended to meet the temporary needs of the agency’s work program when those services can’t be provided by other means.To be temporarily promoted, an employee has to meet the same qualification requirements that are needed for the permanent promotion. He or she receives the higher-graded salary for the period assigned and gains quality experience and time-in-grade at the higher grade level. The first 120 days can be made noncompetitively. In other words, the employee doesn’t have to compete with other employees for the temporary assignment. If the temporary promotion is extended beyond 120 days, competition is required. The maximum time period for a temporary promotion is five years, unless OPM authorizes the agency to make and/or extend it for a longer period. If the temporary promotion that was originally made under competitive procedures, it can be extended up to five years without further competition.
June 14th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: How does one go about searching and applying for “rehired annuitants” jobs?
A: There isn’t any site dedicated to employment opportunities for annuitants. The best place to start looking for any federal job is http://usajobs.gov.
June 13th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I have 18 years of service under FERS. I may be offered a job with the Federal Reserve Board. Would this be considered a federal position as far as pension/benefits go? I have no interest in the job if the answer is no.
A: It all depends on the position to which you are appointed. You’ll have to check with the FRB personnel office.
June 3rd, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: Do you have a reference for a list of federal agencies that are hiring GS 1102/Contracting personnel under the Annuitant Program?
June 1st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: Can external hires actually negotiate salary when most (if not all) federal vacancies state a fairly wide pay range? I’ve heard different things, but wish to know from you what the real answer is.
A: Agencies have the authority to negotiate the starting pay of an external hire within the pay range for a position. Whether they are willing to do so, and to what extent, depends on the skills and abilities the candidate brings to the table, his current salary, and how critical the agency’s needs are.
May 31st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: Who do I contact to find out how long I worked for the postal service?
A: Since you aren’t currently a federal employee and can’t go to your personnel office and retrieve that information from your Official Personnel Folder (OPF), you’ll have to request that information from the National Personnel Records Center. Here’s their instructions: Federal law [5 USC 552a(b)] requires that all requests for records and information be submitted in writing. Each request must be signed (in cursive) and dated (within the last year). Please identify the documents or information needed and explain the purpose of your request.
Certain basic information needed to locate civilian personnel records, includes: full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of employing Federal agency, beginning and ending dates of Federal service.
Written requests (signed and dated) may be mailed or faxed to:
National Personnel Records Center, Annex
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Since you may not know the exact dates of your employment with the Postal Service, you’ll have to do the best you can, for example, by approximating when you worked there, such as “1985 to 1989” or “late 1980s.”
January 13th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I have applied for a job with the Navy and have been through the interview. I’ve been directed toward the Office of Human Resources for answers, but the only thing they can tell me is if I’m selected. I will get an e-mail from them with an offer. My interview was two weeks ago. How long does it, or can it, take to get an e-mail from them stating whether I was selected?
A: There isn’t any set schedule. With thousands of appointing authorities around the world, the time between an interview and a decision varies widely, even more so during the holiday season when more selecting officials and personnel specialists are on leave. Add to that the fact that budgets are being frozen for the time being and you can understand why agencies might be rethinking who they can afford to hire, and when.
January 11th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I am a CSRS employee and I plan to retire at the end of the year. I am interested in coming back as a part-time rehired annuitant. My research indicates that as a rehired annuitant, appointments are limited to a year or less, and the annuitant may not serve for more than 520 hours during the period ending six months following the commencing date; for more than 1,040 hours during any 12-month period or for more than a total of 3,120 hours. My confusion is that the appointment is limited to a year, however, the annuitant may not work for more than 1,040 or 3,120 hours. Is it the intent that a part-time annuitant may work for a maximum of 1,040 hours in a 12-month period and/or 3,120 hours for a 36-month period? If so, why is it stated that the appointment is limited to one year or less?
A: There are two provisions of law that cover the re-employment of most retirees. You have only described one of them. The first and oldest allows an agency to hire a retiree for an unlimited amount of time. However, in most cases the salary of the new position will be offset by the amount of his or her annuity. The second and newest allows an agency to hire a retiree to meet the objectives spelled out in the law and permits the rehired retiree to keep both his or her annuity and the full salary of the new position. The latter authority has numerous restrictions designed to preclude its misuse, including the ones you cited. The one-year limit on an appointment forces an agency to re-examine the reasons behind the initial appointment and verify that the need still exists before extending that appointment.
Q: Can we hire a current Veterans Affairs Department employee who is a well-qualified police officer (now serving under the regular Federal Employees Retirement System) as a firefighter if he is 58 years old? He also happens to be preference-eligible. Are we required to do a waiver for his age, which would mean he would retire at age 78? Is there an option for him to elect the regular retirement system and work as long as he wants? What if he’s not interested in retiring and just wants to work for a while?
A: Under 5 USC 3307, agencies are authorized to establish a maximum entry age for the original appointment of individuals to a firefighter position. All agencies employing firefighters have set that age at 37. The only exception is for preference-eligibles, and then only if age isn’t essential to the performance of the position’s duties.
March 11th, 2010 | Hiring and placement
Q. Are new employees automatically enrolled in FERS, or do you have to make an election?
A. All new federal employees first hired on or after Jan. 1, 1987 (and most employees first hired after Dec. 31, 1983), are automatically covered by FERS.
Q: I am a retired regular army officer. If I accept a GS position with Homeland Security will I forfeit some of my retirement?
A: Only if you choose to do so. By that I mean, you have the opportunity to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system and get credit for that period of active duty service in determining your years of civilian service and in your annuity computation. At retirement, you would be required to waive your entitlement to military retired pay. If you chose not to make a deposit and waive your military retired pay, your eligibility to retire from your civilian job and your annuity computation would be based solely on your civilian service. The choice is yours to make.