Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM has issued guidance to agencies on carrying out changes to pay and leave policies—and the extension of some special policies that have been in effect for many years—contained in the DoD authorization bill that became law at the start of the year after Congress overrode a presidential veto.

A memo notes that OPM previously had issued detailed guidance on two provisions of the most impact in that law. One extended eligibility for paid parental leave, retroactive to that program’s start last October, to some categories of employees initially left out. The other allowed all federal employees to carry an additional 25 percent of unused annual leave than normal into the 2021 leave year, meaning an extra 60 hours for most.

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The measure further extended through this year an authority to waive annual limits on premium pay and the aggregate limit on pay for work deemed necessary due to the pandemic, an authority first enacted early in 2020. Also extended by a year were long-standing authorities to grant such waivers to certain federal employees working overseas; to grant allowances, benefits, and gratuities to personnel on official duty in a combat zone; a special overtime authority for certain Navy employees; and an income replacement program for Reservists who are called to active military duty separate from the one generally applying to federal employees in that situation.

The guidance also notes that the bill contains several pay-related provisions that already are in effect including instructions on setting rates for wage grade employees and continuation of a pay freeze for senior political appointees.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook