Availability pay (or “availability premium pay”) is paid to federal law enforcement officers (LEOs) who are criminal investigators. Due to the nature of their work, criminal investigators are required to work, or be available to work, substantial amounts of unscheduled duty. Availability pay is generally an entitlement that an agency must provide if the required conditions are met, but is optional in offices of inspectors general that employ fewer than five criminal investigators.

Eligibility for availability pay is limited to criminal investigators who are classified in the GS-1811 (criminal investigations) and GS-1812 (game law enforcement) series under Office of Personnel Management standards and to pilots employed by the U.S. Customs Service and special agents in the Diplomatic Security Service. Employees in these groups must also meet the definition of law enforcement officer, which generally requires that the employee be covered under the early retirement provisions for LEOs. However, a criminal investigator is also entitled to availability pay if he or she holds a supervisory or administrative position that has been officially approved as a “secondary position” under the LEO retirement provisions, even if the criminal investigator is not personally covered by those provisions.


Availability pay is fixed

Availability pay is fixed at 25 percent of a criminal investigator’s rate of basic pay.

“Unscheduled duty” consists of those hours when a criminal investigator performs work, or is determined by the agency to be available to perform work, that are not part of the criminal investigator’s basic 40-hour work week and are not regularly scheduled overtime hours, excluding the first two hours of overtime work on a basic work day. However, special agents in the Diplomatic Security Service may not be credited with hours of availability.