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July 30, 2008
In Reply Refer To:
1400-550 (710) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-164
Expires: 09/30/2009
To:                   ADs, SDs and CDs
                        Attn: Human Resources Officers
From:               Deputy Director, Operations
Subject:           Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives
Program Area: Human Resources
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) supersedes IM-2006-090, dated  January 31, 2006 and IM-2007-128, dated May 25, 2007.
Policy/Action: The Department of the Interior (DOI) Personnel Bulletin No. 06-01, dated
October 31, 2005, states that the heads of bureaus are granted authority to approve Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives (3R incentives); however, at the discretion of the bureau head, the authority may be further delegated. With this IM, the Deputy Director, Operations delegates the authority to approve these incentives to Assistant Directors (ADs), State Directors (SDs), and Center Directors (CDs). This authority may not be further delegated.
Positions filled under the DOI National Fire Plan will be approved by the Assistant Director, Fire and Aviation, in consultation with the Fire and Aviation Human Resources Office (HRO) and the servicing HRO for the State from which the request originates.
Once a decision is made to use incentives as a recruitment tool, HROs can include a statement on the vacancy announcement indicating that use of incentives may be considered. For consistency purposes, the following statement must be used:
“The BLM may use certain incentives, currently offered by the Federal government, to attract high quality candidates.”
A recruitment incentive may be paid to a newly appointed employee to fill a position that is likely to be difficult to fill with a high quality candidate in the absence of the incentive. Approving officials may also authorize recruitment incentives on a group basis. Prior to approving a recruitment incentive, the approving official must first consider the practicality of using the superior qualifications appointment authority alone or in combination with the recruitment incentive. Management must document their decision to offer or not to offer a superior qualifications appointment in their request for approval. Attachment 1 contains a Recruitment Incentive/Superior Qualifications checklist. You may access Departmental/Bureau guidance for superior qualifications appointments at http://web.blm.gov/internal/wo-500/directives/dir-08/im2008-066.html.
A relocation incentive may be paid to a current employee, who must relocate to accept a position in a different geographic area, when the position would otherwise be difficult to fill with a high quality candidate in the absence of the incentive. Relocation incentives must be approved on a case-by-case basis. The case-by-case approval requirement may be waived when a group of employees is subject to a mobility agreement and the approving official determines that relocation incentives are necessary to retain these employees to ensure continuation of operations. Case-by-case approvals may also be waived when a major organizational unit is relocated to a new duty station and the approving official determines that relocation incentives are necessary for a group of employees to ensure the continued operation of that unit without undue disruption of an activity or function that is deemed essential to the Bureau’s mission or would cause undue disruption of service to the public. 
A retention incentive may be paid to an employee or a group or category of employees, when a determination is made that the unusually high or unique qualifications of the employee or a special need of the Bureau for services of the employee makes it essential to retain the employee. It must be determined that the employee would likely leave Federal service without the incentive. 
A retention incentive may also be authorized for an employee, or a group or category of employees, likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service, in the absence of a retention incentive. In addition to meeting all of the requirements for a retention incentive, these employees must possess a general or specific written notice that their position may be impacted by a closure or relocation of an office, facility, activity or organization. Approving officials must review and recertify the necessity to continue payment of a retention incentive annually. 
Department of Interior information and guidance on relocation, recruitment, and retention incentives can be found at www.doi.gov/hrm/guidance/curronly.htmOfficeofPersonnelManagement’s guidance on incentives can be located at www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/3RS_newQAs.asp .
At the minimum, employees awarded relocation or recruitment incentives will be required to sign a 12 month service agreement. Incentive agreements are included in attachments 2, 3 and 4.
Servicing HROs will review and concur with each request for payment of an incentive before the request is forwarded to the approving official. HROs are responsible for ensuring the existence of a sound and documented premise for approving a request for an incentive. HROs will not
concur with requests that do not meet the requirements outlined in the OPM and DOI guidance on relocation, recruitment and retention incentives. A checklist is included in attachment 5 to assist HROs in determining whether a request for an incentive meets the requirements outlined in OPM and Departmental guidance.
Timeframe: This policy becomes effective immediately.
Budget Impact: The budget of the approving official will be impacted accordingly.
Background: The BLM Deputy Director, Operations has decided to further delegate authority to approve 3R incentives to ADs, SDs and CDs as a way to expedite the hiring process for critical occupations and hard to fill positions. In December 2007, OPM issued final regulations which allow the payment of a retention incentive to employees likely to leave their positions for a different position in the Federal service before the closure or relocation of the employee’s office, facility, activity, or organization.
Manual/Handbook Section Affected: Manual Chapter 1400-550.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with the State and Center HROs.
Contact: For policy related questions on the 3Rs, please contact Verda Sullivan,
Human Resource Specialist, at (202) 452-5072.
Signed by:                                                                Authenticated by:
Luke Johnson                                                           Robert M. Williams
Acting, Deputy Director, Operations                         Division of IRM Governance,WO-560

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Last updated: 10-21-2009