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HR Order DOJ1200.1: Part 2. Compensation: Chapter 2-5 (REV), Department of Justice Interim Recruitment Incentive Plan

In accordance with statutory changes in 5 U.S.C. § 5753, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued interim regulations, 70 Fed. Reg. 25732 (2005), modifying 5 CFR Part 575. OPM regulations, at 5 CFR § 575.107, require that an agency have a Recruitment Incentive Plan in effect in order to continue to issue recruitment incentives. This interim plan replaces the recruitment bonus portions of chapter 2-5 of DOJ Order 1200.1 and the temporary memorandum of June 17, 2005. We will issue a permanent modification of this chapter, which will serve as the Department's permanent plan, following OPM's issuance of final regulations.

Citations in this plan to sections of 5 CFR Part 575 refer to the sections as listed in 70 Fed. Reg. 25732 (2005).

A. References.

Statute 5 U.S.C. § 5753
Executive Order E.O. 12748 (2/1/91)
Code of Federal Regulations 70 Fed. Reg. 25732(2005) to be codified at 5 CFR Part 575
Key terms Approving official

Bureau head

Service agreement

Guidance Recruitment Incentive Fact Sheet
Reporting Requirements Component Quarterly Report Form
Departmental Annual Report Form

B. Policy.

  1. This is the Department's interim plan for paying recruitment incentives, consistent with 5 CFR § 575.107(a).
  2. Recruitment incentives may be paid to employees in the categories of positions listed at 5 CFR § 575.103 including: General Schedule (GS) employees, Senior Level (SL) employees, career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation/Drug Enforcement Administration (FBI/DEA) SES, Executive Schedule (EX) employees, prevailing rate employees, law enforcement officers, Immigration Judges, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and Assistant U.S. Trustees, except that recruitment incentives may not be paid to employees excluded by 5 CFR § 575.104, including Presidential appointees, non-career SES employees, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Trustees, and those positions excluded from the competitive service by reason of their confidential, policy making, policy determining, or policy advocating nature.
  3. Consistent with the provisions of this plan and the availability of funds for such purpose, a newly appointed employee, as defined by 5 CFR § 575.102, may be given a recruitment incentive provided that the position to which he/she is appointed is likely to be difficult to fill considering the factors identified in 5 CFR § 575.106(b).
  4. Recommending and approving officials must consider the following factors in addition to those specified in 5 CFR § 575.106 in determining whether a recruitment incentive should be paid, the amount of any such payment, and the length of the service agreement:
    1. Funds available to pay an incentive to the candidate/employee under current consideration and for any future incentives that may be needed, and
    2. The employee's qualifications.
  5. An approving official must make a written determination in accordance with 5 CFR § 575.108 before the prospective employee enters on duty, and the selectee must sign a service agreement before an incentive may be paid.
  6. New employees may be paid incentives in amounts of up to 25 percent of the employees basic pay (as defined by 5 CFR § 575.102 to include locality pay and special schedules) at the beginning of the service period, multiplied by the length of his/her service agreement, calculated as stated in 5 CFR § 575.109. (In cases of critical agency need, a waiver of this limitation may be sought from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Component heads who find it necessary to obtain such a waiver in a specific situation, shall forward requests and supporting documentation to the Assistant Attorney General for Administration (AAG/A) for review. The AAG/A will make the request to OPM.).
  7. Each individual determination to pay a recruitment incentive and the amount of the incentive must be approved by an official who is at a higher level than the official who made the initial determination, unless that official is the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General. An exception may be made where advanced approval is granted as provided in 5 CFR § 575.107(b).
  8. The following individuals may approve recruitment incentives for an individual position or a group of positions where the Department has direct-hire authority under 5 CFR Part 337, subpart B, and where similar positions have been, or likely will be, difficult to fill:
    1. General Schedule, Prevailing Rate Positions, SES, FBI-DEA SES, and Senior Level Positions (Except Attorneys and Law Clerks).
      1. Bureau heads may approve incentives for these employees. This authority may be redelegated. However, the approving official may not be at a level below the Bureau Personnel Officer.
      2. For Offices, Boards, and Divisions (OBD), the approving official is the AAG/A. Requests shall be submitted through the Human Resources Staff, Justice Management Division (JMD). OBD heads shall review requests before submission.
    2. Attorneys and Law Clerks. The Bureau General Counsel or OBD head shall approve incentive determinations for attorneys and law clerks, except Executive Schedule appointees and Immigration Judges. This authority may be redelegated in writing.
    3. Executive Schedule, Immigration Judges, and Presidential Appointees. The Deputy Attorney General or his or her designee approves incentive determinations for all employees in these categories. Bureaus shall submit requests for review and approval of incentives for these positions through the AAG/A.
  9. A new employee must sign a service agreement before any recruitment incentive is paid. Service agreements may not be less than six months in length nor more than four years. Payments may be made as a lump sum or over the course of the service period or a combination of both. Service agreements must be consistent with the requirements of 5 CFR § 575.110 and any requirements of this plan. Each bureau shall be as consistent as practicable in determining the length of service agreements for employees in similar circumstances. Where an agreement provides for any incentive amounts resulting in income in excess of the aggregate pay limitation, the agreement must provide for these excess payments to be deferred.
  10. Each service agreement shall describe the rules governing termination of a recruitment incentive. Each agreement shall also state the Department policy for repayment of a recruitment incentive, including the applicable portions of 5 CFR § 575.111, if the employee fails to complete the length of service specified. Department policy is to apply the requirements of 5 CFR § 575.111 and other provisions of this plan. In addition, it is Department policy that movement between bureaus of the Department to a position and/or location that would have warranted a similar recruitment incentive will NOT constitute failure to complete a service agreement, and any service agreement may continue in effect. (However, if an employee voluntarily moves between bureaus, the gaining bureau shall reimburse the bureau that paid the incentive on a pro rata basis.) Components may establish additional termination policies consistent with this plan. These policies must be stated in the service agreement. The termination of a service agreement is not grievable or appealable.

C. Documentation and Reporting.

  1. Each component approving a determination to pay a recruitment incentive shall document its decision and shall retain sufficient documentation to justify the payment and to reconstruct the action. This documentation shall include a copy of the service agreement, the initial incentive determination, and the following information:
    1. The criteria used to determine the need for paying the incentive (including the need for advance determinations) and how the criteria in 5 CFR § 575.106 were applied;
    2. The criteria used to determine the amount of the incentive and how the criteria were applied;
    3. The qualifications of the candidate/employee in sufficient detail to demonstrate that he/she meets any special qualifications needed for the position; and
    4. The length of the service agreement and the criteria used to make that determination.

Documentation shall be made available upon request for review by JMD's Human Resources Staffor OPM.

  1. Upon approval, payment of the recruitment incentive shall be documented by preparing an SF-50 and filing it in the employee's Official Personnel Folder. Each component shall prepare a quarterly report on its use of the approved incentives, and submit the report to the AAG/A with a copy to the Director, Human Resources Staff, no later than the 15th day of the month following the end of the quarter. For example: The report from the first quarter (January 1st through March 31st) is due on April 15th. See Attachment 1 (Human Resources Staffwebsite). The final report, due on January 15th , shall be cumulative, covering the use of the incentive for the entire calendar year. See Attachment 2 (Human Resources Staff website). Each report shall include:
    1. The number of employees to whom an incentive was offered at any point during the calendar year;
    2. The number and dollar amount of incentives paid by position title, series, grade or pay level, and geographical area (city and state, or country);
    3. The annual salary of each employee who was paid an incentive and the percentage of the incentive;
    4. The method of payment (initial or final lump sum, installment, or combination);
    5. The length of any service agreement related to each incentive; and
    6. A narrative discussion of the situations for which incentives were used, the effectiveness of the retention incentive authorities, and any recommendations for improving the use of the statutory authorities in terms of both regulatory change and Department requirements and flexibilities.

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Updated May 7, 2021