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December 6, 2005
In Reply Refer To:
1510-37 (850) P

Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-054
Expires: 09/30/2007

To:              All Washington Office and Field Officials

From:          Assistant Director, Business and Fiscal Resources

Subject:      Proper Use of Private Sector Temporary Employees

Program Areas: Procurement and Charge Card Management

Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) supplements Federal policy and provides instruction in the proper use of private sector temporary employees.

Policy/Action: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulation at 5 CFR Part 300 Subpart E defines the criteria and conditions under which agencies may use employees in temporary help service firms to meet temporary work needs for brief or intermittent periods. The OPM regulation entitled "Use of Private Sector Temporaries" is contained in Attachment 1.

The services of a temporary help service firm can be used for the brief or intermittent use of the skills of private sector temporaries, when required, when one of the following short-term situations exists:

(1) An employee is absent for a temporary period because of a personal need, including an emergency, accident, illness, parental or family responsibilities, or mandatory jury service, but not including vacations or other circumstances which are not shown to be compelling in the judgment of the agency, or (2) a need exists for work for a temporary period that cannot be delayed because of a critical need.

Temporary employees may be used when the need cannot be met with current Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees or through the direct appointment of temporary employees within the time available by the date and for the duration of time that help is needed. These temporary service contracts cannot be used to:
·        circumvent hiring procedures under the civil service laws for permanent appointment in the competitive civil service;
·        displace an employee on a permanent appointment; or
·        circumvent controls on employment levels or in lieu of appointing a surplus or displaced Federal employee.
The OPM regulation prohibits the use of private sector temporary employees for the Senior Executive Service or the work of managerial or supervisory positions.

An office may use a temporary help service firm(s) or a single employee of the same firm in a single situation initially for no more than 120 workdays. If the need continues to exist beyond the initial 120 workdays, the temporary help services of the firm or the individual employee may be extended up to the maximum limit of 240 workdays when the requiring office has determined that using the services of the same firm or individual for the same situation will prevent a significant delay. In addition, when using one individual for the requirement, the individual cannot work longer than a consecutive 24-month period, beginning with the first day the employee started work.

Employees must follow these steps in order to contract for private sector temporary employees:

(1) Coordinate with the BLM Washington Office (WO) Chief Human Capital Management Project Director, WO-700, or the head of the servicing personnel office, and make a written determination that:

(a) There are no well qualified candidates on the special selection priority list or the reemployment priority list (RPL). The RPL must provide preference for veterans;

(b) There are no qualified disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more, under 5 U.S.C. 3112, who are immediately available for temporary appointment of the duration required; and

(c) Employees cannot be reassigned or detailed without causing undue delay in their regular work.

(2) Obtain the signed approval of an official in WO-700, or the head of the servicing personnel office, on the written determination.

(3) If the total amount for the entire duration of the need for temporary help services exceeds $2,500, complete and submit a requisition in the Interior Department Electronic Acquisition System to the Property, Acquisition and Headquarters Services Group, WO-850, or your procurement office. Include the approved written determination and a Statement of Work outlining the general tasks to be performed.  

(4) A warranted Contracting Officer in the procurement office will work with the requiring office to solicit a minimum of three local sources to obtain adequate competition and issue a purchase order to the firm that offers the best value to the Government. The purchase order will contain terms, conditions and clauses, including Service Contract Act wage determinations, in order to comply with procurement and labor laws applicable to the procurement of services exceeding $2,500.

(5) If the total aggregate amount for the entire duration of the need for temporary help is less than $2,500, the Government charge card can be used to purchase the services (after obtaining the approval of the Human Capital Management office). All requirements stated in the Department of the Interior (DOI) and BLM Integrated Charge Card Program Guides must be followed.

Recurring services cannot be broken into monthly increments in order to stay under the $2,500 maximum dollar threshold. This is known as a "split procurement" and is a violation of policy on the proper use of the charge card.

No employer-employee relationship is created by the use of private sector temporaries. Services furnished by temporary help employees will not be considered or treated as Federal employees for any purpose, shall not be regarded as performing a personal service, and shall not be eligible for civil service employee benefits, including retirement. In order to ensure that this relationship is not created, the determination should include a Statement of Work that states the general tasks to be performed.

Timeframe:  This IM is effective upon receipt.

Budget Impact:  None.

Background:  During continuing oversight of charge card transactions, there were incidents where employees have purchased temporary help services for extended periods of time using their Government charge cards. The total aggregate amount of the service for the period of performance significantly exceeded $2,500, the charge card limit for non-procurement personnel.

It was discovered that the cardholders paid for these services in monthly increments in order to keep the dollar amount for these services below the $2,500 threshold. The prohibition against "splitting procurements" into two (or more) smaller purchases so that each order falls within the single purchase limit ($2,500) is addressed in both the DOI and BLM Integrated Charge Card Program Guides. In addition, prior to card use authorization, all employees receive mandatory charge card training that also addresses this issue.

Acquisition and personnel laws and regulations require that these services be acquired properly. An employee who knowingly uses private sector employees to circumvent personnel laws or splits procurements to avoid competition and labor laws risks losing the services of the private sector temporary employee and the use of their charge card. The employee may also be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: TheDOI Integrated Charge Card Program Guide.

Coordination: This IM has been coordinated with the BLM National Charge Card Coordinator; the WO Charge Card Coordinator; the Assistant Director, Business and Fiscal Resources; and the Acting Assistant Director, Human Resources Management.

Contact: If you have any questions regarding this IM, please call Nancy Adrain, Procurement Analyst, WO-850, at (202) 452-5175 or Helen Curlee, Bureau Procurement Chief (WO-850), at (202) 452-5147. If you have any questions about the Integrated Charge Card Program Guides, please call Cassie Seay, WO Charge Card Coordinator (WO-850), at (202) 452-5188.

Signed by:                                                            
Authenticated by:
Michael A. Ferguson                                                      
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                               
Policy and Records Group,WO-560
Business and Fiscal Resources

Last updated: 10-21-2009