One of the benefits of working for the Federal Government is that they offer many programs and incentives to their employees, one of which is their Federal Government relocation program. This program is designed to help current employees who must relocate to another geographic location in order to fill a position that might otherwise be hard to fill.
Typically, a Federal Government employee who has to relocate can receive up to 25 percent of their basic pay in order to help with the relocation. There are special provisions that allow for a bit more to be given, but most cases fall under the 25 percent or less rule. This will of course vary by agency and how badly a position needs to be filled. No matter how much a Federal employee does receive, there are of course going to be some rules and regulations that need to be followed in order to get the assistance.
Positions Covered and Not Covered
Just as with any other incentive offered by the Federal Government, there will be those who qualify for the incentive and those who don’t. The Federal Government relocation program is no different and has its own set of guidelines that need to be followed as well as a list of those who do and do not qualify to participate in the program. Here is a list of positions that are covered for relocation:
• General Schedule or GS
• Senior-Level or SL
• Senior Executive Service or SES
• Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI SES
• Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA SES
• Executive Schedule or ES
• Law Enforcement Officer
• Privileged Rate Position
• Others with Approval of the Office of Personnel Management or OPM
Those who are not covered for relocation include:
• Presidential Appointees
• Non-Career Appointees in SES
• Others According to Varying Degrees
What Determines Eligibility
Again, the Federal Government job in question has to be one that is considered hard to fill without the relocation program, but there are other eligibilities that have to be met as well. To start with the Federal Government relocation program is only for those who already have a job with a Federal agency at the time of the relocation. So, someone couldn’t get hired and expect to receive the assistance before they actually start a day of work.
Additionally, in order for an incentive to be paid by an agency of the Federal Government, there first must be a plan in place with that agency. Such a plan has to include those who have the authority to approve the payment of the incentives and the categories of employment not likely to be filled easily without the plan.
Lastly, there has to be a geographic move needed. This is defined as a move further than 50 miles from the current location of the Federal employee who is being considered for the Federal Government relocation program. The employee has to also actually establish their residency in the new geographical location before any incentive payments can be made by the Federal Government.
In order for an employee to be approved for the relocation program the following must be done by the agency they work for:
• Determine and explain in writing why the position being filled is considered hard to fill without the incentive.
• Determine and explain in writing the amount and timing of all incentive payments.
• Determine and explain in writing the length of the service period.
• Establish that the new worksite is indeed in what is considered to be a new geographic location.
All these steps must be taken before the Federal employee begins their new assignment in their new location. This is generally done on a case by case basis.
Employees Relocating in Groups
In cases where a Federal employee is a member of a group of people that are all subject to the mobility agreement, then an agency has the option to waive the case by case approval requirement. Such a waiver would have to see the agency specifying the group of Federal employees as well as the conditions of the waiver itself, broken down in great detail.
Signing a Service Agreement
In order to receive any money as an incentive for relocation, a Federal employee must first sign a service agreement. This service agreement will specify the amount of time in which the Federal employee is expected to serve once they reach their new post. This will vary with each case, but the term may not exceed four years. The service agreement serves much the same purpose as a contract would and makes sure that both sides hold up to their end of the bargain.
The service agreement not only has to include the actual term of the service expected, but it additionally has to include any planned termination dates by agency, termination conditions, penalties for early termination by the Federal employee, and other terms and conditions. Basically, if a Federal employee participates in the relocation program they have to serve out the term or likely be subject to pay back part or all of the incentive.
Incentive Enough to Go
The whole idea behind the Federal Government relocation program is to give those who need to be relocated enough of an incentive to go. Many times people will not want to leave where they already are as moving can be a nightmare for anyone. This is especially true if that Federal employee knows that the nightmare move will come with a hefty price tag.
However, if they know they will be getting assistance with moving companies, self storage, etc. in order to do so, they will be far more likely to make the move, which in the end, may be in the best interest for both the Federal employee and the Federal Government. This is why the Federal Government created the Federal Government relocation program and yet another wonderful incentive offered to many of those who work for the Federal Government.