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Human Capital Legislation
RECRUITMENT, REDESIGNATION, AND RELOCATION BONUSES
PURPOSE: This provision enhances the effectiveness of current bonus authorities in several ways: (1) authorizing larger amounts to address critical needs; (2) providing more flexible payment options, and (3) extending the circumstances under which a bonus may be used. The enhanced recruitment and redesignation bonuses allow NASA to be more competitive in attracting new talent to the Agency. Enhanced relocation bonuses provide more effective incentives to employees who are asked to relocate to a new geographic area to accept difficult-to-fill positions.
• Similar to the current bonus authorities provided in Title 5, United States Code (USC), section 5753, the new bonus authority may be used only in circumstances in which it is likely that in the absence of the bonus NASA would encounter difficulty in filling the position. In addition, payment of the bonus must be consistent with the more specific criteria described in the NASA Workforce Plan and Agency implementing policies.
• A new category of hiring bonuses is authorized. NASA now has the authority to offer a hiring bonus to a current Federal employee in the same geographic area in order to provide an incentive to accept a position with the Agency. These bonuses are called “redesignation” bonuses to distinguish them from recruitment bonuses paid to non-Federal employees.
• A recruitment, redesignation, or relocation bonus may be paid in installments, a lump sum, or a combination thereof.
• Higher bonuses are authorized for individuals hired for positions addressing a critical need, as defined in the NASA Workforce Plan. In such cases, the individual may be paid up to 50% of his or her annual rate of basic pay, including the locality-based comparability pay, multiplied by the service period. The total bonus payment may not exceed 100% of the employee’s salary as of the beginning of the service period.
• For all other cases, the bonus amount cannot exceed a total of 25% of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay, excluding the locality pay. This parallels the existing authority in Title 5, USC, section 5753.
• No more than 25% of the total amount of the bonus money paid in a fiscal year under this provision may go to supervisors and management officials, as they are defined in Title 5, USC, sections 7103(a)(10) and 7103(a)(11) respectively.
• Similar to the authority provided in section 5753 of Title 5, a signed service agreement must be executed before any payment is made. The agreement must describe the service period, method of payment, payment schedule, amount of the bonus, basis for establishing the amount, and the conditions under which the agreement may be terminated prior to completion of the service obligation.
• The bonus provisions in the NASA Flexibility Act of 2004 supplement the bonus authority provided by Title 5, USC, section 5753; they do not replace them. NASA may use either authority (but not both) in a particular circumstance.