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Special Incentives Overview

Special Incentives Overview

Federal agencies use special incentives to attract and hold talented employees. These incentives usually come in the form of one-time bonuses paid directly to new employees. The federal government offers three types:


Recruitment Incentives


A recruitment bonus is an incentive an agency may pay to a newly-appointed employee if the agency has determined that the position is likely to be difficult to fill in the absence of such an incentive. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to fulfill a period of service with the agency of not less than 6 months and not more than 4 years.


Relocation Incentives


A relocation incentive is an incentive an agency may pay to a current employee who must relocate to a position in a different geographic area that is likely to be difficult to fill in the absence of such an incentive. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to fulfill a period of service of not more than 4 years with the agency. In addition, the employee must establish a residence in the new geographic area prior to payment.


Retention Incentives


A retention incentive is an incentive an agency may pay to a current employee if the agency determines that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the agency for the employee’s services makes it essential to retain the employee and the employee would be likely to leave the Federal service in the absence of a retention incentive. A retention incentive may be paid only when the employee’s rating of record (or other official performance appraisal or evaluation) is at least “Fully Successful” or equivalent.


Source: Office of Personnel Management


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