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Nerdles  
#1 Posted : Sunday, March 11, 2012 9:20:54 AM(UTC)
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This topic didn't seem to fit in the "financial" forum, so I thought this was as good a spot as any.
 
When I was hired into my federal competitive Civil Service job around a year ago after more than a decade in the private sector, I attempted to negotiate for more annual leave than the 4 hours/pay period normally given in the first three years of federal service. My request was denied, but I wanted the job. So I went along with it, despite coming from a job where I'd gotten 3 weeks/year.
 
However, I know it's not against the rules--at least for your first federal job. I know someone who knows someone who negotiated for this successfully, and this page from the Military Officers Association confirms that an agency can give you more than 4 hours/PP if you've worked enough time in the private sector or the military to cover the required years.
 
So the spirit of the rule seems to be that it's your time in your career that counts--not necessarily time in your federal career.
 
Now I'm close to leaving the current job for one with another federal agency--still in the Civil Service. Can the new agency legally give me more hours per pay period if they want to, based on my pre-USG career, even though I haven't yet done the required time in the federal service?
 
Thanks to anyone with the answer.
Nerdles2012-03-11 17:51:49
TS65  
#2 Posted : Sunday, March 11, 2012 12:35:00 PM(UTC)
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There are 13 million people out of work.  It's not exactly the market to be requesting things above and beyond what you're being offered, as #2 and #3 in line will be more than happy to take the job without asking for more leave.  Ask, but don't be surprised if and when they say no.
frankgonzalez  
#3 Posted : Sunday, March 11, 2012 1:27:31 PM(UTC)
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You start off with 4hrs a PP=2.6 weeks a year annual leave.  On top of this, you also get the same amount in Sick leave.  Many companies give a single pool of Paid Time Off to use for both.  If this what you had, you are making out better with the Feds.

After 3 years, you go to 6 hrs a PP=3.9 weeks a year of annual leave  You also keep accumulating sick leave at the 4 hrs a pay period with no cap on the amount of sick leave you can save up.  (Annual has that 240 hours cap).

Stick around long enough, you go to 8 hours a PP=5.2 weeks annual leave. 

You already started...unless you leave federal service for a year, you lost your chance, IMO.


Nerdles  
#4 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 1:15:40 AM(UTC)
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TS65: Yes, I get it; many people are out of work, and I count myself as fortunate to have a good job.
 
That said, the DC area has a low white-collar unemployment rate, and this agency definitely wants to hire me. (Long story.) The DC job market is not a bad one for someone with a "niche" skill and good experience. (I've declined two offers of federal jobs in the past few years--and that was before I'd ever worked for the USG.)
 
Moreover, no reasonable employer is going to take umbrage that an applicant dares to ask for something in a negotiation, as long as it's reasonable (which this is). I'm very much in mid-career, so it's kind of ridiculous that I'm only getting 13 days of leave at this stage.
 
Does anyone know for a fact whether I am doomed to 4 hours/PP until I have three years in Federal service? The MOAA site indicates that for new hires, an agency should (or at least can) consider your prior career experience, but it doesn't state whether the agency can do so if you've served in another federal position, earning a lower rate of annual leave.
 
Nerdles2012-03-12 09:22:24
Pick  
#5 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 1:31:41 AM(UTC)
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Increased leave is negotiable when entering federal service, but not now that you're already in.
smarterguy  
#6 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 1:34:20 AM(UTC)
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Nerdles wrote:
Does anyone know for a fact whether I am doomed to 4 hours/PP until I have three years in Federal service? The MOAA site indicates that for new hires, an agency should (or at least can) consider your prior career experience, but it doesn't state whether the agency can do so if you've served in another federal position, earning a lower rate of annual leave.

No I don't know for a fact, but I was told I could get credit for my federal contractor experience by a few people. I followed up with my office HR and my agency's HR but didn't have much luck.

If they really want you and this job isn't going to make or break ya, I'd push. My job was way more important to me than the vaca time, so I just gave up without much of a fight.
Nerdles  
#7 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 2:15:18 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for the additional replies.
 
I suppose all I can do is ask. I'll post an update when I have any news.
Knight  
#8 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 4:14:53 AM(UTC)
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One good thing about being a FED that moves around is that you are not a new hire. For instance, if you did your probation at Agency X, you do not have to serve that probation again when you move to Agency Y. However the downside is that you cannot negotiate a new pay amount or anything else; like leave.
 
Your chance was day 1 and I would be totally surprised if they changed it now.
 
However, I am an advocate of asking. All they can do is say no, they won't fire you for asking.
 
Personal story: I feel your pain. I was active duty for 24 years and was getting 30 days of leave a year. I was using 30 days a leave a year for a decade to keep from losing any. Then I retired and got a GS job with only got 4 hours per pay period since retired duty does not count in the GS world. The 3 years go fast.
 
Besides I bet you be focused on the job and get firmly entrenched in the new duties and not take that much leave anyway the first few years.
Knight2012-03-12 12:24:12
Fed1969  
#9 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 4:24:18 AM(UTC)
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If you have military time you can possibly start with more than four hours a pay period.  I am not aware of anyone else starting with more than four hours a pay period. 
Knight  
#10 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 4:35:13 AM(UTC)
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Some contractors that were insourced at my base got some leave sweetner to come over the the dark side. It is rare but it does happen.
Nerdles  
#11 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 5:01:49 AM(UTC)
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Knight wrote: "Personal story: I feel your pain. I was active duty for 24 years and was getting 30 days of leave a year. I was using 30 days a leave a year for a decade to keep from losing any. Then I retired and got a GS job with only got 4 hours per pay period since retired duty does not count in the GS world. The 3 years go fast."
 
Wow! That musta really sucked. They should at least have given you 6 or 8 hours per PP.
 
I'm a big believer in work-life balance, so I fully intend to take every minute of leave coming to me, the year I earn it. I'll let folks know if I manage to acheive this!
RetirednHappy  
#12 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 5:21:08 AM(UTC)
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Nerdles,    I would suggest you think about getting to a "Use or Lose" status, before you commence your "work-life balance" approach to leave. If you can save up those initial 240 hours of annual leave, particularly as a newer, lower-graded employee, it can pay big dividends later in your career. First, all future annual annual leave accruals will be use-or-lose/must leave, so you and your supervisor know all the hours should be scheduled annually. Secondly, those "banked" hours can come in handy if future emergencies arise or (if you are fortunate enough to not need them) they can be cashed out upon retirement as a higher-graded employee for a nice financial present to yourself!  Lastly, please do not apply your leave plan to your sick leave balance. Those hours should be treated as an "insurance policy" for possible life-changing medical issues, if at all possible. I have known several feds who saved up those sick leave hours early in their careers and continued to receive full employment checks when cancer, heart conditions, etc. threatened their future. Think big picture; don't make short-sighted decisions early in your career.  Good luck Tongue ! 
Fed1969  
#13 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 5:50:43 AM(UTC)
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Knight wrote:
Some contractors that were insourced at my base got some leave sweetner to come over the the dark side. It is rare but it does happen.

Were these former military?  If not, I wonder what authority was used to allow this?
Knight  
#14 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 7:06:45 AM(UTC)
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Quote:
Civil service rules also permit an agency to allow you to earn six or eight hours of leave if you have equivalent civilian (that is, not civil service) experience that adds up to the number of years needed to earn additional leave. For example, if you have 15 years of experience in the same career field as the civil service job, the agency can allow you to earn eight hours of leave from your first day. You can negotiate this as part of your compensation. Remember, leave is a cost to the agency, so the more hours you earn, the more they consider you are being paid
 
OPM allows it.
Nerdles  
#15 Posted : Monday, March 12, 2012 11:09:10 AM(UTC)
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RetiredNHappy: Thanks for the advice! I can see how that makes a lot of sense. My parents are getting up in years, so to me it's worth it to use my leave in order to see them. And even to take trips with my wife. But you raise good points. Certainly I will bank as much sick leave as possible. Thanks again.
frankgonzalez  
#16 Posted : Thursday, March 15, 2012 2:43:43 AM(UTC)
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Nerdles wrote:
RetiredNHappy: Thanks for the advice! I can see how that makes a lot of sense. My parents are getting up in years, so to me it's worth it to use my leave in order to see them. And even to take trips with my wife. But you raise good points. Certainly I will bank as much sick leave as possible. Thanks again.
My circumstances are similar to Knight's.  After retiring from AD, a few months later I began as a fed.  Instead of taking OT when I had to work late, etc, I took comp time.  This was basically "free leave" that I could use while letting my 4hrs a PP add up.  Less than three years later, I was maxed out and had to take leave that 3rd year or lose it!  This year (I now am at the 6hrs PP point), I have 158 hours I must use this year (plus 19 hours of Travel Comp Time!...and will probably earn more of that this year based on the support I have to give to a couple of GSUs we have).  Nice to be in the "almost" a month of leave status again! 
 
Of course, this doesn't count any time-off awards I may get during the year (the 40 hours Time-Off Award I got my first year was very nice when only had earned 68 hours of leave at that point).
Knight  
#17 Posted : Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:05:39 PM(UTC)
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I would rather have the time off award then a cash bonus. But everyone has different rewards that work.
monster  
#18 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2012 5:51:32 AM(UTC)
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Nerdles wrote:
This topic didn't seem to fit in the "financial" forum, so I thought this was as good a spot as any.
 
When I was hired into my federal competitive Civil Service job around a year ago after more than a decade in the private sector, I attempted to negotiate for more annual leave than the 4 hours/pay period normally given in the first three years of federal service. My request was denied, but I wanted the job. So I went along with it, despite coming from a job where I'd gotten 3 weeks/year.
 
However, I know it's not against the rules--at least for your first federal job. I know someone who knows someone who negotiated for this successfully, and this page from the Military Officers Association confirms that an agency can give you more than 4 hours/PP if you've worked enough time in the private sector or the military to cover the required years.
 
So the spirit of the rule seems to be that it's your time in your career that counts--not necessarily time in your federal career.
 
Now I'm close to leaving the current job for one with another federal agency--still in the Civil Service. Can the new agency legally give me more hours per pay period if they want to, based on my pre-USG career, even though I haven't yet done the required time in the federal service?
 
Thanks to anyone with the answer.
I actually authorized a person with over 20 yrs of experience to come in with higher leave. However, he did not get 8 hours because only 7 of those years qualified. It is my understanding that in cases like yours (you are already in the federal service) it will be very hard, if not impossible to negotiate.
 
Another thing, if a candidate brings that up to me during an interview, then I might lose interest on that person. And trust me, even in D.C. there is a LOT of competition. Don't underestimate the competition.
Knight  
#19 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2012 6:01:48 AM(UTC)
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I know some times it has to be done but don't ask for leave in the first 90 days at a new position. They waited a long time to get you hired and suddenly you want some days off. Wait, get settled, show them your kickbutt skills and then take a day or two. Don't come in asking when is the next three day weekend.
Brisingamen  
#20 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2012 8:15:37 AM(UTC)
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As a former timekeeper, I can tell you that UNLESS you have at least 3 years of military service,* the agency I worked for would not increase your leave from 4 hours per pay period to 6 hours. You would have to have at least 15 years of military time to get 8 hours of leave per pay period.

While you might be able to negotiate for higher pay, I think it's very unlikely that you can get them to give you more leave.

*Or time worked at another Federal position.

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