(a)(1) This section may be applied to—
(A) employees covered by the General Schedule pay system established under subchapter III of chapter 53; and
(B) employees in a category approved by the Office of Personnel Management at the request of the head of an Executive agency.
(2) A bonus may not be paid under this section to an individual who is appointed to or who holds—
(A) a position to which an individual is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, excluding members of the Foreign Service other than chiefs of mission and ambassadors at large;
(B) a position in the Senior Executive Service as a noncareer appointee (as such term is defined under section 3132(a)); or
(C) a position which has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character.
(3) In this section, the term "employee" has the meaning given that term in section 2105, except that such term also includes an employee described in subsection (c) of that section.
(b) The Office of Personnel Management may authorize the head of an agency to pay a bonus under this section to an individual only if—
(1) the position to which such individual is appointed (as described in paragraph (2)(A)) or to which such individual moves or must relocate (as described in paragraph (2)(B)) is likely to be difficult to fill in the absence of such a bonus; and
(2) the individual—
(A) is newly appointed as an employee of the Federal Government; or
(B)(i) is currently employed by the Federal Government; and
(ii)(I) moves to a new position in the same geographic area under circumstances described in regulations of the Office; or
(II) must relocate to accept a position in a different geographic area.
(c)(1) Payment of a bonus under this section shall be contingent upon the employee entering into a written service agreement to complete a period of employment with the agency, not longer than 4 years. The Office may, by regulation, prescribe a minimum service period for purposes of this section.
(2)(A) The agreement shall include—
(i) the commencement and termination dates of the required service period (or provisions for the determination thereof);
(ii) the amount of the bonus;
(iii) the method of payment; and
(iv) other terms and conditions under which the bonus is payable, subject to the requirements of this section and regulations of the Office.
(B) The terms and conditions for paying a bonus, as specified in the service agreement, shall include—
(i) the conditions under which the agreement may be terminated before the agreed-upon service period has been completed; and
(ii) the effect of the termination.
(C) The required service period shall commence upon the commencement of service with the agency or movement to a new position or geographic area, as applicable, unless the service agreement provides for a later commencement date in circumstances and to the extent allowable under regulations of the Office, such as when there is an initial period of formal basic training.
(d)(1) Except as provided in subsection (e), a bonus under this section shall not exceed 25 percent of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period multiplied by the number of years (including a fractional part of a year, as determined under regulations of the Office) in the required service period of the employee involved.
(2) A bonus under this section may be paid as an initial lump sum, in installments, as a final lump sum upon the completion of the full period of service required by the agreement, or in a combination of these forms of payment.
(3) A bonus under this section is not part of the basic pay of an employee for any purpose.
(4) Under regulations of the Office, a recruitment bonus under this section may be paid to an eligible individual before that individual enters on duty.
(e) The Office may authorize the head of an agency to waive the limitation under subsection (d)(1) based on a critical agency need, subject to regulations prescribed by the Office. Under such a waiver, the maximum bonus allowable shall—
(1) be equal to the maximum that would be determined if subsection (d)(1) were applied by substituting "50" for "25"; but
(2) in no event exceed 100 percent of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period.
Nothing in this subsection shall be considered to permit the waiver of any requirement under subsection (c).
(f) The Office shall require that an agency establish a plan for the payment of recruitment bonuses before paying any such bonuses, and a plan for the payment of relocation bonuses before paying any such bonuses, subject to regulations prescribed by the Office.
(g) The Office may prescribe regulations to carry out this section, including regulations relating to the repayment of a bonus under this section in appropriate circumstances when the agreed-upon service period has not been completed.
(Added Pub. L. 108–411, title I, §101(a)(1), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2305; amended Pub. L. 114–323, title IV, §412(1), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1932.)
The General Schedule, referred to in subsec. (a)(1)(A), is set out under section 5332 of this title.
A prior section 5753, added Pub. L. 101–509, title V, §529 [title II, §208(a)], Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1427, 1458, which related to recruitment and relocation bonuses, was repealed by Pub. L. 108–411, title I, §101(a)(1), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2305.
2016—Subsec. (a)(2)(A). Pub. L. 114–323 inserted ", excluding members of the Foreign Service other than chiefs of mission and ambassadors at large" before semicolon at end.
Pub. L. 108–411, title I, §101(d), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2310, provided that: