- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 3: Assignment and Utilization of Employees, Section 4: Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments|
|M3000.1C||July 28, 2004|
What is the purpose of this section? The purpose of this section is to update procedures and guidance for implementing the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive? Yes. This directive cancels FHWA Personnel Management Manual (PMM) Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 4, IPA Assignments, dated June 28, 1996.
Sections 3371-3376 of Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/browse.html.
IPA of 1970, as amended (P.L. 91-648).
Department of Transportation (DOT) Departmental Personnel Manual (DPM), Chapter 334, Temporary Assignments Under the IPA, dated April 23, 1984.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM), IPA Mobility Program, http://www.opm.gov/programs/ipa.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 5, Chapter 334.
U.S. DOT, FHWA, IPA Agreement Process Manual.
What is the FHWA policy concerning IPA assignments? It is the policy of FHWA to encourage IPA assignments, when appropriate, as a vehicle for the temporary exchange of career employees between the Federal government and State and local governments, institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments and organizations, and other eligible organizations.
What is the purpose of IPA assignments? The purpose of IPA assignments is to facilitate cooperation between the Federal government and the non-Federal entity through the temporary assignment of skilled personnel. These assignments afford opportunities for employees of Federal agencies to serve with eligible non-Federal organizations for a limited period without the loss of employee rights and benefits. Employees of these non-Federal entities may serve in Federal agencies for similar periods of time. Each assignment should be carefully examined to ensure that it is for sound public purposes and furthers the goals and objectives of the participating organizations.
These IPA assignments may be used for objectives such as:
(1) strengthening the management capabilities of Federal agencies, State, local, and Indian tribal governments and other eligible organizations;
(2) assisting the transfer and use of new technologies and approaches to solving governmental problems;
(3) facilitating an effective means of involving State, local, and tribal officials in developing and implementing Federal policies and programs; and,
(4) providing program and developmental experience which will enhance the assignee's performance in his or her regular job.
IPA assignments should not be used for purposes such as:
(1) meeting the personal interests of employees;
(2) avoiding unpleasant personnel decisions; and,
(3) circumventing personnel ceilings.
In general, Federal employees who hold appointments without a time limitation may be eligible for consideration for IPA assignments with an appropriate non-Federal agency or organization.
Individuals who are excluded from participation in the IPA mobility program include:
(1) Federal, State, and local government employees serving under non-career, excepted service, noncompetitive, time-limited, temporary, or term appointments;
(2) members of the uniformed military services and the commissioned corps of Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
(3) elected Federal, State, and local government officials; and
(4) students employed in research, graduate or teaching assistant, and similar temporary positions.
Assignments may be developed between a Federal agency and an agency of a State or local government, at any level, or any multi-state or intra-state authority.
Assignments may be developed with public or private institutions of higher education, tribal governments, and "other organizations" which include
(1) national, regional, state-wide, area-wide, and metropolitan organizations representing member state and local governments;
(2) associations of state and local public officials;
(3) non-profit organizations which have as one of their principal functions the offering of professional advisory, research, educational, or developmental services, or related services to governments or universities concerned with public management; or
(4) a federally funded research and development center.
To initiate an IPA assignment to FHWA, the appropriate official of a state or local organization must submit an assignment proposal to the appropriate program office within FHWA. If the proposal does not pertain to a specific program office, the state/local agency or organization may submit its proposal to the Office of Human Resources (HAHR) or to the appropriate Director of Field Services. If the assignment proposal is initiated by a program office or field office within FHWA, the FHWA program or field office involved is responsible for defining the necessary details of the proposal.
The assignment proposal must be reviewed and evaluated by the appropriate program office to ensure that if consummated, it would be of mutual benefit to both contracting parties, and that it includes the following:
(1) the purpose of the assignment, its priority, and a description of the duties and responsibilities to be carried out;
(2) the employee (assignee) skills and background required, a resume or other application document;
(3) estimated length of the assignment;
(4) share of salary and other expenses which the requesting organization would assume. (Cost-sharing arrangements should be based on the extent to which participating organizations benefit from the assignment); and,
(5) the anticipated utilization of the assignee upon return to his/her permanent agency.
If, upon review by the appropriate program office, there is a desire to negotiate an agreement, the proposal must be forwarded to the HAHR or to the appropriate Director of Field Services, for review and initiation of negotiations.
A memorandum must be prepared to the Executive Director requesting approval to initiate negotiations. This memorandum should address the following:
(1) general parameters of the project;
(2) history of the assignee's expertise as well as his/her relative standing in the particular discipline;
(3) significance of the project for the future transportation community;
(4) beginning and ending dates of the planned project; and
(5) any other benefits affecting parties involved in the IPA agreement.
Following the Executive Director's approval, negotiations must begin with the assignee's institution. An IPA Assignment Agreement Form (Optional Form (OF)-69) and a letter must be prepared to the institution detailing the intent of the IPA agreement and the expected benefits of the project.
The draft package will be reviewed by the HAHR, the Office of Budget and Finance, and the Office of Chief Counsel. All comments and corrections on the draft should be returned to the originating office to incorporate the changes. The IPA process cannot continue until all involved parties agree to the terms. Once the terms have been agreed upon, the assignee must complete and sign the Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, Standard Form (SF)-450, and the Conflict of Interest and Conduct Sheet.
A memorandum must be prepared to the Federal Highway Administrator requesting approval of the IPA Agreement, including the following:
(1) the Executive Director's approval memorandum;
(2) the letter to the assignee's institution; and
(3) the IPA Assignment Agreement Form (OF-69).
The HAHR will coordinate the IPA package and final implementation of the agreement.
Under the IPA, an FHWA employee, with his or her consent, may be assigned to a non-Federal organization either on detail or LWOP. In either case, the assignee remains a Federal employee and retains the rights and benefits attached to that status.
The choice of the most appropriate type of assignment - detail or LWOP - is influenced by various factors, including the position and duties assigned to the employee as well as the agency decisions concerning payment of expenses. Non-Federal positions, which require the employee to exercise legal fiscal authority or to carry out supervisory responsibility, may more appropriately be filled by appointment thus necessitating LWOP by the Federal employee.
An employee on a mobility assignment is still a Federal employee and a personnel action (which would apply to a Federal employee, or to his or her position) continues to be applicable while the employee is on a mobility assignment. In no case can a Federal employee earn less on a mobility assignment than he or she would have received in his or her Federal position.
FHWA employees on detail
(1) Employees remain FHWA employees for all purposes except work and supervision, and they are subject to the agency's established performance appraisal criteria and procedures covering detailed employees.
(2) Employees continue to receive pay, allowances, and benefits from the FHWA, even though these costs may be reimbursed to the FHWA in whole or in part by the non-Federal organization.
(3) Employees may receive a supplemental salary from the non-Federal organization when the position to which they are assigned has a higher established rate of pay.
(4) The Federal pay rate (including locality pay, cost-of-living allowances, etc.) for employees on IPA details should be based on their travel status and benefits. For those who receive temporary duty travel allowances (e.g., per diem), the employee's official duty station for pay purposes is the duty station the employee occupied before the IPA assignment. For those who receive relocation allowances, the employee's official duty station is the duty station of the IPA assignment.
(5) Employees' contributions for retirement, Medicare, life insurance, and health benefits are withheld from their pay. If the detail is on a reimbursable basis, the agreement must indicate what portion of the total cost each of the two organizations agrees to pay.
(6) Employees continue to earn leave under FHWA's leave system, and they continue to have appropriate absence from duty with the non-Federal organization charged against that leave. The responsibility for documenting leave for detailed employees must be specified in the assignment agreement. All leave used, as well as hours worked, must be certified by the non-Federal organization to the FHWA.
(7) The workweek and hours of duty will be determined by the non-Federal organization.
FHWA employees assigned to a non-Federal organization on LWOP
(1) An employee is given an appointment in accordance with the terms of the written agreement and the personnel policies of that non-Federal organization.
(2) An employee is paid by the non-Federal organization to which he or she is assigned. This salary may be more than the employee's current Federal salary. A supplemental salary payment must be made when the rate of pay of the non-Federal organization is less than the rate of pay the employee would have received in his or her position at the FHWA.
(3) The key to determining the Federal rate of pay for an employee on LWOP for an IPA assignment is the employee's travel status and benefits. If the employee is receiving temporary duty travel allowances, it is proper to use the rate of pay for the duty station the employee occupied before the IPA assignment. If the employee is receiving change-in-station relocation allowances, it is proper to use the rate of pay for the duty station of the IPA assignment.
(4) The employee is entitled to earn annual and sick leave to the same extent as if he or she had continued in the FHWA position. Annual and sick leave balances are transferable both to and from these assignments, subject to the limitations prescribed for annual leave carryover. The assignment agreement must specify whether the non-Federal organization or the FHWA will pay for the cost of leave. The non-Federal organization, in accordance with its regulations and policies, will determine the employee's workweek, hours of duty, and the holidays to which he or she is entitled.
(5) An employee is entitled to receive full service credit while on assignment if he or she makes a written election to retain retirement coverage and continues to pay the employee's contribution into the Federal retirement system.
(6) If an employee is injured or disabled while on LWOP, he or she may not receive both a Federal disability and non-Federal compensation covering the same period.
(7) Service is creditable in-full for Federal salary purposes, including within-grade increases and leave accrual.
Who is authorized to approve IPA agreements and extensions? The FHWA Administrator is authorized to make final approval of IPA agreements and extensions. IPA agreements must have the concurrence of a State or local government, tribal organization, institution of higher education and/or other eligible organizations; must have the consent of the employee concerned; and the work must be of mutual concern and benefit to both organizations involved.
An IPA assignment may not exceed two years.
The head of a Federal agency may extend the period of assignment for up to two additional years, subject to the concurrence of the other parties to the agreement.
Assignments may be intermittent, part-time, or full-time, but they should be kept to a minimum time period necessary to complete the assigned tasks.
In the case of assignments made to Indian tribes or tribal organizations, the Federal agency or organization head may extend the period of assignment for any period of time where it is determined that this will continue to benefit both the Federal agency and the Indian tribal government or organization.
Who is responsible for financing an IPA assignment? The cost-sharing financial arrangements of an IPA assignment are negotiable between FHWA and the participating non-Federal agency or organization, tribal government or organization, or institution of higher education. The Federal agency may agree to pay all, some, or none of the costs of an assignment. Such costs may include employee pay, fringe benefits, relocation costs, and travel and per diem expenses.
The following information must be on the IPA agreement:
(1) the name, social security number, current job title, salary, classification, and address of the employee;
(2) parties to the agreement (both FHWA and non-Federal organizations);
(3) position information, including organizational location of both the FHWA position and the position entered into under the agreement;
(4) the type of assignment (e.g. detail or LWOP; non-Federal to Federal; Federal to non-Federal) and period covered by the assignment agreement;
(5) goals of the assignment and a brief statement of how the goals are to be achieved;
(6) relative benefits accruing to each organization and the cost-sharing arrangement based on these benefits;
(7) a statement of how increased knowledge, skills and abilities gained by the employee during the assignment will be utilized at the completion of the assignment;
(8) applicability of Federal conflict of interest laws;
(9) decisions of the FHWA and the non-Federal organization concerning the employee's salary, supervision, payment of travel and transportation expenses, supplemental pay, entitlement to leave and holidays, provisions for reimbursement, and the method of reimbursement;
(10) arrangements for maintaining leave records;
(11) employee benefits that will be retained; and
(12) Privacy Act statement.
The agreement should also make clear that if an employee is paid allowable travel, relocation, and per diem expenses, he or she must complete the entire period of the assignment or one year, whichever is shorter, or reimburse the government for those expenses.
For Federal employees, the agreement must ensure that the assignee knows of his or her obligation to return to the Federal service for a time equal to the length of the assignment, or he or she will be liable for all expenses (exclusive of salary and benefits) associated with the assignment.
What is involved in making changes to the assignment agreement? All significant changes in an employee's duties and responsibilities, salary, work assignment location and supervisory relationships must be duly recorded as a modification to the original agreement. The assignment agreement for each employee must always be accurate, complete, and current.
An IPA assignment will normally terminate upon the projected completion date established under Part 5 of the Agreement. The assigned employee, on his/her own accord, cannot terminate an agreement early, but the employee may request initiation of early termination, with appropriate justification, from the agency or organization which permanently employs the assignee.
An IPA assignment may be terminated at any time at the option of the Federal or non-Federal organization. Where possible, the party terminating the agreement before the original completion date should give 30-day notice to all parties involved.
The OPM may terminate an assignment or take other corrective actions when an assignment is found to violate the OPM's IPA regulations.
A mobility assignment must be terminated immediately whenever the assignee is no longer employed by his or her original employer, regardless of whether the assignment is a detail or an appointment.
What is the obligated service requirement? FHWA employees must agree, as a condition of accepting a mobility assignment, to return to the Federal government and to serve for a period of time equal to the length of the assignment. If the employee fails to meet this obligation, he or she must reimburse the FHWA for its share of the costs of the assignment. FHWA officials may waive this reimbursement for good and sufficient reason.
How is the employee returned to duty? At the completion of a mobility assignment, the agency should return the employee to the same position he or she occupied at the time the assignment began or reassign the individual to another position of similar pay and grade level.