This chapter establishes policy and procedures for the authorization and payment of travel and moving costs (commonly referred to as transportation expenses) to first post of duty for new appointees.
OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel
1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policy and procedures for the authorization and payment of travel and moving costs (commonly referred to as transportation expenses) to first post of duty for new appointees. The guidance applies to appointments made in the competitive and excepted service at all grade levels and the Senior Executive Service (SES) as well as those appointments made to positions in the Senior Level (SL) Pay System, and Scientific and Professional (ST) category.
2. Authority. Section 206 of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA), 5 U.S.C. 5723(a)(1), and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) implementing rules and regulations authorize agencies to pay travel and transportation expenses for a new appointee or student trainee (under the Cooperative Education and Federal Junior Fellowship programs) from his or her place of residence at the time of selection or assignment to the first post of duty.
3. Policy. Management officials are required to observe the nondiscrimination and prohibited practices provisions of 5 U.S.C. 2302 and 5 CFR Part 230 in exercising the authority to pay travel and transportation expenses to the first post of duty.
A. Appointments Covered. The provisions of this chapter cover appointments, made to positions either in the United States or overseas, which are not limited to 1 year or less.
B. Persons Covered. Appointees who are not currently employed by the Federal government, whether or not they have previous service, are eligible for payment of travel and transportation expenses to their first post of duty. Student trainees converted to permanent appointments upon completion of their academic degree (or diploma) and the required work period(s) are also covered if their travel and transportation expenses were not paid when they originally were appointed as student trainees.
A. Approving Official. The authority to approve payment of travel and transportation expenses to first post of duty is delegated to division chiefs. This authority may be redelegated, in writing, only to the next lower management level.
B. Selecting Official. Selecting officials may request approval for payment of travel and transportation expenses to first post of duty by preparing USGS Form 9-3038 (Figure 1), Approval of Payment for Travel and Transportation Expenses for Pre-employment Interviews or to First Post of Duty, for approval through established division channels.
6. General Requirements.
A. Travel Expenses. Travel and transportation expenses for new appointees will be authorized and travel will be undertaken in accordance with travel regulations issued by the General Services Administration (41 CFR Chapters 301-304 and SM 340.7).
B. Management Consideration of Approval Requests. While new provisions of law and regulation provide greater management flexibility in the approval of travel expenses for new appointees, this authority is still viewed by the Office of Personnel Management as a tool to facilitate the recruitment of high quality candidates to Federal employment. For this reason, the decision to pay travel and transportation expenses should not be automatic. Issues to be considered before any final determination is reached should include:
(1) whether or not the individual has indicated a willingness to relocate at his or her own expense;
(2) the relative quality of other candidates who may not seek reimbursement for travel expenses should they be selected;
(3) the critical or highly specialized nature of the position being filled;
(4) consistency with prior determinations to pay or not to pay travel in filling similar positions;
(5) consideration of prevailing local practices in offering the benefit as a recruitment incentive;
(6) the availability of funding; and
(7) consideration of other available incentives including the use of recruitment bonuses.
C. Employment Agreement and Medical Pre-clearance. Before the appointee commences travel under proper authorization, he/she will be required to sign in duplicate Form 9-1263, Employment Agreement, stipulating intent to remain in the service of the Federal Government for 12 months following the date of his/her appointment (or assignment from student trainee position). Where applicable, the Certificate of Medical Examination, Standard Form (SF) 78, should be received by the servicing personnel office prior to commencing travel.
D. Travel Authorization. The DOI Travel Authorization Form (DI-1020), will be documented with an appropriate statement, under the "Purpose and Remarks" section of the form, when the payment of travel expenses to first post of duty has been authorized by an approving official.
E. Documentation of the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action. When travel and transportation to first post of duty is authorized, servicing personnel offices will document the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, with the following remark: "Travel and transportation to first post of duty authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5723. Move is in the interest of the Government and not for the employee's convenience. Employment Agreement signed (date)."
7. Procedures and Required Documentation.
A. USGS Form 9-3038, Approval of Payment for Travel and Transportation Expenses for Pre-employment Interviews or to First Post of Duty, will be used to document the justification and approval of travel and transportation expenses to first post of duty for new appointees. The form will be submitted through division channels to the appropriate management official and approved prior to the issuance of a travel authorization and processing of a SF-50.
B. Following management approval, signed copies of USGS Form 9-3038, Approval of Payment for Travel and Transportation Expenses for Preemployment Interviews or to First Post of Duty, will be forwarded immediately to (1) the originating office, and (2) the servicing personnel office. The approving office will maintain the signed original of Form 9-3038. The originating office will prepare the DOI Travel Authorization Form (DOI-1020) for approval. The purpose and remarks section of the travel authorization form must document the following remarks: "Payment is for travel and transportation expenses to first post of duty" and "Division Chief approval granted on Form 9-3038 on (date)." The approved DOI Travel Authorization Form will be forwarded with the travel voucher to the Office of Financial Management.
C. Documentation in support of approval actions made under this authority will be maintained by the approving office for a period of 2 years from the date of approval.
8. Reports. The servicing personnel offices will submit reports on the use of this authority to the Office of Personnel Management as requested.