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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

370.591.1 - Nonforeign Differentials and Allowances

10/31/90

OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose and Background. This Chapter establishes policy and procedures for the authorization and payment of nonforeign differentials and allowances to USGS employees. The statutory and regulatory authorities for nonforeign allowances and differentials are 5 U.S.C. 5941, E.O. 10,000, E.O. 12,510, and Subpart B of 5 CFR 591. Changes to places and rates at which nonforeign allowances and differentials are paid (Appendix A to this Chapter) are published in the Federal Register from time to time as changes to 5 CFR 591.

2. Definitions.

A. Allowance Category. A grouping of employees which indicates the availability of consumer goods and services, and relative standing of their purchasing power based upon their type of access to the local economy.

(1) Local Retail. An allowance category, which includes those employees who purchase goods and services from private retail establishments.

(2) Commissary/Exchange. An allowance category, which includes those employees who shop at private retail establishments, but who, as a result of their Federal civilian employment, also have unlimited access to commissary and exchange facilities. This category is established only in those areas that have these facilities.

NOTE: Eligibility for access to military commissary and exchange facilities is determined by the appropriate military department. If an employee is furnished with these privileges for reasons associated with his or her Federal civilian employment, he or she will have an identification card that authorizes access to such facilities. Possession of such an identification card, i.e., one issued by reason of his or her Federal civilian employment, is sufficient evidence that the employee uses the facilities.

B. Date of Arrival. The employee's first day in a pay status in the allowance or differential area.

C. Date of Departure. The employee's last day in a pay status in the allowance or differential area.

D. Day or Calendar Day. Any day of the year. Fractional days are considered whole days.

E. Nonforeign Allowance. Cost of living allowance payable at nonforeign post where living costs are substantially higher than in the Washington, D. C. area, and is paid as a percentage of the rate of basic pay.

F. Nonforeign Area or Post. The States of Alaska and Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, territories and possessions of the United States, and any additional areas located outside the contiguous United States as designated by the Secretary of State and listed in Appendix A.

G. Nonforeign Compensation. As used in this chapter means both nonforeign differential and nonforeign allowance.

H. Nonforeign Differential. Additional compensation payable as a recruitment incentive at nonforeign post having conditions of environment which differ substantially from conditions of environment in the contiguous United States, and is paid as a percentage of the rate of basic pay.

I. Rate of Basic Pay. Rate of pay fixed by statute for the position held by an individual before any deductions and exclusive of any additional pay of any kind, such as overtime pay, night differential, extra pay for work on holidays, or allowances and differentials.

3. Places and Rates at Which Paid. (See Appendix A)

4. Eligibility Requirements.

A. Nonforeign Allowance.

(1) Must be headquartered at a nonforeign post.

(2) Rate of compensation must be fixed by statute. (Includes employees who occupy positions (a) which are subject to the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, (b) for whom basic rates of compensation are required by Department policy to conform with the schedule of the Classification Act, or (c) for whom specific basic rates of compensation are set by other laws, and who are otherwise eligible.) (Excludes wage board or non-Classification Act employees, other than Interior General Schedule (IGS (GG).)

B. Nonforeign Differential.

(1) Must be headquartered at a nonforeign post.

(2) Rate of compensation must be fixed by statute. (Inclusions and exclusions same as 4A(2) above.)

(3) Must be a citizen or national of the United States.

(4) Employee's location in the nonforeign area must be fairly attributable to his/her employment by the United States. This includes but is not necessarily limited to the following classes of persons:

(a) Persons recruited or transferred from outside the area to which the differential concerned is applicable.

(b) Persons employed in the area which the differential concerned is applicable, but

(i) who were originally recruited from outside the area and have been in substantially continuous employment by other Federal agencies, or international organizations in which the United States Government participates, and whose conditions of employment provide for their return transportation to places outside the differential area concerned; or

(ii) who were at the time of employment temporarily present in the differential area concerned for purposes of travel or formal study and maintained residence outside the area during the period so present.

(c) Persons who are not normally residents of the area to which the differential concerned is applicable and who are discharged from the military service of the United States in the area to accept employment there with the Federal Government.

(5) Exception. The spouse of a person who is employed, stationed, or resident in the differential area will not be eligible to receive a differential when it is determined that the spouse is there primarily to be near such individual and not for the convenience of the United States Government.

5. Conditions of Payment.

A. General. Payment is not made for any time for which an employee does not receive basic compensation, such as non-workdays and time in a non-pay status. Payment is computed on a full-day basis. Payment to employees serving on a part-time basis is prorated to cover only those periods of time for which the employee receives basic compensation.

B. Commencement of Payment. Payment begins as of the date of arrival at the post of regular assignment. In the case of local recruitment, payment begins on the date of entrance on duty.

C. Termination of Payment. For transfer to a new post of regular assignment or for return to the point of induction for separation, payment ceases as of the close of business on the day of departure from the post. When separated at the post, payment ceases at the time of separation.

D. Leave.

(1) Payment of nonforeign allowances is made for all periods of absence from the post on leave, including transit time, provided the employee returns to a nonforeign post.

(2) Payment of nonforeign differentials is made for the first 42 consecutive calendar days of absence from the nonforeign post on leave (or a combination of leave and detail), including transit time, provided the employee returns to a nonforeign post.

(3) The nonforeign compensation is included in a lump-sum payment of annual leave if an employee is separated at the nonforeign post.

E. Base Pay. The nonforeign compensation is included in the base pay when computing overtime pay under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It is not included in the base pay when computing: (1) overtime pay under the provisions of Title 5, United States Code; (2) holiday pay; (3) night differentials; (4) any other additional compensation or allowances; or (5) deductions for retirement, group life insurance, and health benefits.

F. Tax Deductions. Nonforeign differentials are subject to Federal and local income tax, and, when applicable, to FICA tax. Nonforeign allowances are exempt from Federal income tax (26 USC 912), but are subject to other applicable taxes.

G. Details from Nonforeign Posts. (Follow policies and procedures governing details. See SM 370.300.8.)

(1) Nonforeign allowance is paid for all periods of detail, including transit time, at the rate for the nonforeign post of regular assignment.

(2) Nonforeign differential is paid for the first 42 consecutive calendar days on detail from the nonforeign post of regular assignment, including transit time, at the rate prescribed for such post. When an employee has aggregated 42 days on detail in a pay status at a nonforeign and/or foreign differential post, he/she is paid thereafter the differential prescribed for each post of detail, but not for any transit time.

(3) Nonforeign compensation is payable concurrently with authorized per diem while on detail from a nonforeign post.

H. Maximum Rate. Payments of nonforeign compensation will not exceed in any instance 25% of the employee's base pay. This limit also applies when an employee receiving nonforeign compensation is detailed to a foreign area for which a foreign post differential has been established. An employee eligible for both nonforeign allowance and differential will be paid the full rate of the allowance, and the differential rate will be reduced to the authorized 25% cumulative limit for nonforeign compensation. This may result in an actual zero payment of nonforeign differential, if the allowance rate is set at 25%.

6. Responsibilities.

A. Personnel Office Responsibility. The appropriate personnel office is responsible for determining basic eligibility for nonforeign compensation. Pertinent documentation pertaining to the eligibility will be made as follows:

(1) The eligibility for commencement of payment will be documented on the Foreign or Nonforeign Pay Allowance or Differential Transaction Request Form contained in the Payroll Operations Client Interface Manual at the time the personnel action is processed to move the individual to the nonforeign area.

(2) The termination of allowances/differentials will be documented on the Foreign or Nonforeign Pay Allowance or Differential Transaction Request Form contained in the Payroll Operations Client Interface Manual at the time the personnel action is processed to move the individual away from the nonforeign area or post.

B. Operating Officials Responsibility. The operating officials will notify, via memorandum, the responsible personnel office whether or not the employee will have commissary/exchange privileges at the post of duty outside the contiguous United States. The memorandum shall be submitted along with Form 9-1327, Change In Headquarters (see SM 370.296.3.2B).

Appendix A

370.591.1

October 31, 1990

A. PLACES AND RATES AT WHICH NONFOREIGN ALLOWANCE IS PAID (Effective the first Pay Period on or after February 15, 1990)

Geographic Coverage Percent Geographic Coverage Percent

Allowance Category Authorized Allowance Category Authorized

STATE OF ALASKA COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO

Anchorage and 50 Mile Radius by Road Local Retail - 10.0%

Local Retail - 25.0% Commissary/Exchange - 0.0%

Commissary/Exchange - 17.5%

U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS

Fairbanks and 50 Mile Radius by Road

Local Retail - 25.0% St. Croix Commissary/Exchange - 20.0% All employees - 12.5%

Juneau and 50 Mile Radius by Road St. Thomas and St. John Local Retail - 25.0% All employees - 12.5% Commissary/Exchange - 25.0%

All other locations within Alaska All employees - 25.0%

STATE OF HAWAII

City and County of Honolulu (Oahu)

Local Retail - 22.5% Commissary/Exchange - 12.5%

County of Maui and County of Kalawao (Islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai)

All employees - 20.0%

County of Kauai

Local Retail - 17.5% Commissary/Exchange - 17.5%

County of Hawaii

All employees - 15.0%

ISLAND OF GUAM

Local Retail - 12.5%

Commissary/Exchange - 0.0%

Appendix A

370.591.1

October 31, 1990

B. PLACES AND RATES AT WHICH NONFOREIGN DIFFERENTIAL IS PAID

Geographic Coverage Differential Rate

American Samoa (Includes island of Tutuila, 25.0% Manau Islands, and all other islands of the Samoan group east of longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, together with Swains Island.)

Canton Island 25.0%

Christmas Island 25.0%

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands 25.0%

Guam 20.0%

Johnston or Corwallis Island, and Sand Island 25.0%

Midway Islands 25.0%

Wake Island 25.0%


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