Comp Time for Federal Travelers and Better Benefits (For Some)

Signing of a new law will make several significant changes to the federal human resources system.

Federal employees who leave home on Sunday in order to be on time for a mandatory meeting on Monday morning may get a new benefit: compensatory time off for traveling outside normal duty hours.

The Office of Personnel Management has not issued new regulations but the change is part of the Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004. The new law was signed by President Bush on October 30, 2004.

OPM intends to issue new regulations “in the near future.” The change in compensatory time rules will take place when the new regulations are issued or on January 28, 2005, whichever occurs first.

OPM has issued a memo to agency heads explaining the major changes that brought about the new law.

Several other significant changes are also coming into effect.

One of these changes is that some new federal employees will be getting more leave. Under the current system, a new employee accrues leave under on a fixed forumula based on the amount of that person’s federal service. Now, however, an “appointed employee’s prior non-Federal work experience may be creditable in determining the amount of annual leave the employee will earn each biweekly pay period.”

In plain English, an agency may give more leave to some professionals entering government and give them credit for their private sector experience in determining how much vacation time a person will receive as a federal employee. This change will become effective by April 28, 2005.

Other changes brought about by the act include modifying training programs to integrate agency training with overall agency goals and objectives and to modify agency training requirements to develop new federal managers.

The new law also allows agencies to pay more in bonuses and relocation expenses “to help the Federal Government improve its competitiveness in recruiting and maintaining a high quality workforce.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47