Federal govt position - negotiating leave

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Smawink
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Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:02 pm

Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by Smawink »

I am considering accepting a tentative offer for a 2-year appointment with a federal agency at GS-11, step 1. It would mean a pay cut, but I’m interested in public service generally and this agency’s mission in particular. I understand that taking a term position would not make me eligible for positions open to permanent employees only. I still think it’s important work to do, even in the short term. I think the position could allow me to get some good experience that I could use if/when I return to the private sector.

Can anyone offer any advice on asking for creditable service for work in the private sector for the purpose of annual leave? I’m also open to any advice (or links to threads) on moving to federal government and how to be successful there. Thank you!
retiredjg
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by retiredjg »

Smawink wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:36 pm Can anyone offer any advice on asking for creditable service for work in the private sector for the purpose of annual leave? I’m also open to any advice (or links to threads) on moving to federal government and how to be successful there. Thank you!
When you take a federal job it is generally not a negotiation. They offer what is allowed and standard with that position. You say yes or no.

There are some exceptions for hard to fill positions, but I think they are few and far between. It is very different from the private sector where everything is a negotiation.

I could be wrong, but that was my experience and my observation.
dukeblue219
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by dukeblue219 »

retiredjg wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:45 pm
Smawink wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:36 pm Can anyone offer any advice on asking for creditable service for work in the private sector for the purpose of annual leave? I’m also open to any advice (or links to threads) on moving to federal government and how to be successful there. Thank you!
When you take a federal job it is generally not a negotiation. They offer what is allowed and standard with that position. You say yes or no.

There are some exceptions for hard to fill positions, but I think they are few and far between. It is very different from the private sector where everything is a negotiation.

I could be wrong, but that was my experience and my observation.
It REALLY varies by agency. Check one of the federal employee forums for better advice. At my agency any fed hire with experience and decent qualifications will be able to negotiate pay (within limits, like step 6 instead of step 1) and leave (6 hours instead of 4 per pay period). It's not nearly as flexible as private sector or fed contracting, but they'll do what they can to get you to take the job.

I know other agencies are very firm,though. You need to ask about your agency specifically.

Not sure how the temp thing plays in, though.
Topic Author
Smawink
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Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:02 pm

Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by Smawink »

Thanks, retiredjg! I am new to this world and that is helpful. The last time I was offered a job with the federal government, it was a permanent position and it was a negotiation and I was offered a higher salary but not the flexibility I needed for my family. I did not take the position. Now that I’m open to federal employment again, I am still working out how it works. Thank you again.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by UpperNwGuy »

retiredjg wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:45 pm
Smawink wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:36 pm Can anyone offer any advice on asking for creditable service for work in the private sector for the purpose of annual leave? I’m also open to any advice (or links to threads) on moving to federal government and how to be successful there. Thank you!
When you take a federal job it is generally not a negotiation. They offer what is allowed and standard with that position. You say yes or no.

There are some exceptions for hard to fill positions, but I think they are few and far between. It is very different from the private sector where everything is a negotiation.

I could be wrong, but that was my experience and my observation.
As a recently retired Fed, I would agree with @retiredjg.
tbone555
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by tbone555 »

I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
pj1983
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by pj1983 »

tbone555 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:57 pm I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
I just did exactly that -- started as a new GS employee and negotiated 6 hrs leave/pay period from the start, based on equivalent private sector work over an 8 year period. The agency sent me a draft spreadsheet that I used to match my private sector duties to the new position duties and responsibilities.

I also tried to negotiate starting at step 6 within the grade based on my private sector salary history. That negotiation didn't go as well; the HR review denied the upgrade because of a break in employment history. I probably could have pushed this a little harder but the extra time off was/is more important than the extra cash.

OP -- you won't know unless you ask; if you don't ask, the answer is certainly "no".
rich126
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by rich126 »

I know for sure that certain agencies will give you credit for equivalent experience (if a tech job they aren’t likely to give you credit for a previous admin job). And yes,yes,yes ask for things before accepting the job. When I went back to a government position the initial offer was GS12 which was lower then when I left as a 13. I pointed that out and my additional experience and got a 14.

This is not true for all agencies, some are very fixed and the pay is tied to a position. At my agency the pay was tied to the person and a manager could be lower than the tech person.
02nz
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by 02nz »

rich126 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:00 pm I know for sure that certain agencies will give you credit for equivalent experience
For salary computation, i.e., to get you to a higher step level, sure. But OP is asking about annual leave computation, and the rules on that are very consistent across agencies. I would be very surprised if any agency could give you credit for previous years worked for computing leave, as it's almost certainly against the regs if not law.
Flora
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by Flora »

If it is an NTE position ('not to exceed' 2 years), you might not be eligible to contribute to the TSP (thus obviously no matching, as well). Consider all the costs of taking the job.
rich126
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by rich126 »

02nz wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:06 pm
rich126 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:00 pm I know for sure that certain agencies will give you credit for equivalent experience
For salary computation, i.e., to get you to a higher step level, sure. But OP is asking about annual leave computation, and the rules on that are very consistent across agencies. I would be very surprised if any agency could give you credit for previous years worked for computing leave, as it's almost certainly against the regs if not law.
That is not true. It is done by at least one IC agency and has been done for a number of years (not sure when they changed policy). At one time they would only credit you leave for previous government time, but for 5+ yrs they give employees credit for time in the same field but at non-government jobs. That I know to be true for the agency I worked at.
LawEgr1
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by LawEgr1 »

I had a similar thread not long ago.

I would suggest checking FederalSoup and Reddit USAJOBs for information, but in general, it's entirely dependent on your Job Series and the Agency.

For me, the job was a Direct Hire Authorized position with critical need. I did not get the position, but it was my understanding that everything was going to be negotiable especially given my pay relative to the GS payscale. Negotiations would've included: relocation incentive (not PCS relocation), negotiating pay based on current salary from Step 1 to Step X, and I also would've asked to count previous experience as time for adjusting PTO accural from 4 to 6. I suspect the PTO one was going to be most challenging and denied outright. This seems to be the most challenging one to negotiate, purely based from my research.

Off the cuff, for a 2 year appointment I'm not sure what the flexibility would be, if anything.

Unless your hands are tied, my opinion is that it doesn't hurt to ask.

Best - LE1
dukeblue219
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by dukeblue219 »

02nz wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:06 pmOP is asking about annual leave computation, and the rules on that are very consistent across agencies. I would be very surprised if any agency could give you credit for previous years worked for computing leave, as it's almost certainly against the regs if not law.
It's almost routine when you have a contractor joining the agency they previously supported. I personally started for the Feds at 6 hours/pay period leave accrual. I don't know the regulations but this is not rare at all.
azanon
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by azanon »

tbone555 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:57 pm I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
Exactly - regarding that qualifier - that was for a GS 14-15 position (to non-Feds, a very high ranking and probably very important position). They basically have to break the rules to do that, since OPM.Gov very clearly indicates how much leave you get depending on years of Federal service.

For a GS 11 though, that's going to be a lot more difficult, unless it's for a highly desired, hard-to-fill position.

(Myself - 20 year fed, and counting)
tbone555
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by tbone555 »

azanon wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:10 am
tbone555 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:57 pm I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
Exactly - regarding that qualifier - that was for a GS 14-15 position (to non-Feds, a very high ranking and probably very important position).

For a GS 11 though, that's going to be a lot more difficult, unless it's for a highly desired, hard-to-fill position.

(Myself - 20 year fed, and counting)
Still can't hurt to ask in my opinion.

FYI. There are many GS 14-15 we I work because it's a research laboratory with lots of PhDs.
azanon
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by azanon »

tbone555 wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:13 am
azanon wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:10 am
tbone555 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:57 pm I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
Exactly - regarding that qualifier - that was for a GS 14-15 position (to non-Feds, a very high ranking and probably very important position).

For a GS 11 though, that's going to be a lot more difficult, unless it's for a highly desired, hard-to-fill position.

(Myself - 20 year fed, and counting)
Still can't hurt to ask in my opinion.

FYI. There are many GS 14-15 we I work because it's a research laboratory with lots of PhDs.
Yeah - I'm not sure I share that opinion. As a supervisor (gs 13 myself) I'm taking notes (proverbially speaking) when you're asking for perks and special benefits before you've even started working for my division. And if you specifically asked for more leave than what opm.gov says you should get, you would actually be the first to have done that with me (out of over 10 hirings so far).
tbone555
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by tbone555 »

azanon wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:21 am
tbone555 wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:13 am
azanon wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:10 am
tbone555 wrote: Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:57 pm I'm a federal employee and have seen some new folks successfully negotiate higher leave (6 hours per pay period instead of 4). This was for GS 14-15 positions.

I suggest you just ask for what you want. They will tell you yes or no and then you decide if you want the job.
Exactly - regarding that qualifier - that was for a GS 14-15 position (to non-Feds, a very high ranking and probably very important position).

For a GS 11 though, that's going to be a lot more difficult, unless it's for a highly desired, hard-to-fill position.

(Myself - 20 year fed, and counting)
Still can't hurt to ask in my opinion.

FYI. There are many GS 14-15 we I work because it's a research laboratory with lots of PhDs.
Yeah - I'm not sure I share that opinion. As a supervisor (gs 13 myself) I'm taking notes (proverbially speaking) when you're asking for perks and special benefits before you've even started working for my division. And if you specifically asked for more leave than what opm.gov says you should get, you would actually be the first to have done that with me (out of over 10 hirings so far).

Good points.
FlyerJack
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by FlyerJack »

Flora wrote: Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:39 am If it is an NTE position ('not to exceed' 2 years), you might not be eligible to contribute to the TSP (thus obviously no matching, as well). Consider all the costs of taking the job.
Definitely ask, but the federal term (NTE) positions that I’m familiar with do include the regular TSP contribution and matching system, which is a great benefit.
Super Hans
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by Super Hans »

It's totally discretionary, so definitely ask. See 5 USC sec. 6303(e). I'm a lawyer, and when I got hired my agency set my service credit date for leave accrual purposes as when I first joined the bar. This put me in the 6-hour accrual zone immediately and well on my way to 8.
bovineplane
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by bovineplane »

Lots of statements on here, some true, some not. Rather than speculate, the following text was taken directly from a current position offering on USA jobs for a federal position.

"Permanent • Full Promotion Potential GS-11/10 $87,439.00.00. Additional incentives such as Recruitment Bonus up to 25%, Above the Minimum Rate, Annual Leave Credit, and Student Loan Repayment Program may be offered. "

The answer to your question is - possibly. It is certainly possible. Look through the vacancy notice for your position and see if any of the above text is in the listing.
Topic Author
Smawink
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by Smawink »

Thanks, everyone, for the input. The permanent position I declined was at a different agency that may have been more open to negotiation than the agency I have an outstanding tentative offer with. I emphasized to HR that I’m most interested in the agency’s mission and in public service, but am simply trying to not lose too much of what I have worked toward in the private sector for more than a decade after graduating from a program with a degree necessary for the position at great expense. I’ll post again with an update.

I believe term appointments can qualify for matching for tsp, but that within that term, the match may not vest. I did not ask for specifics about this because money is a secondary concern.

Someone asked what kind of flexibility I needed before when declining another position. I had a very sick child in the household. It seemed a hard time to make the move. While I would have preferred a permanent position, I think things may have worked out for the better.

Thank you again to everyone.
LawEgr1
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by LawEgr1 »

See: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=297262&p=5070058#p5070058

Just attempted to negotiate leave based on non-federal service. This was deemed unfair based on past practices and they were unwilling to switch from leave group 1 (4 hour / period) to leave group 2 (6 hour / period).
OpenMinded1
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Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

Post by OpenMinded1 »

I retired a few years ago, and really haven't paid much attention to Fed hiring practices lately, but don't term positions often turn into permanent positions? Aren't a lot of fed positions term positions to make it easier to get rid of someone versus someone in a permanent position? Also, don't people hired into term positions often end up getting ushered into a permanent position, or repeatedly extended? In other words, doesn't the term of term positions act something like a probationary period? Thought it's something the OP might like to know. I'm not sure myself.
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