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Office of Human Capital Services

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Pay Policies

Delegation of Authority for Evacuation Pay Benefits and Exceptions to the Biweekly Maximum Earnings Limitation for Emergencies

    SEP 28 2005
MEMORANDUM FOR: Line and Staff Office Directors Conrad Lautenbacher's Signature
FROM: Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Under Secretary of Commerce for
Oceans and Atmosphere
SUBJECT: Delegation of Authority for Evacuation Pay Benefits and
Exceptions to the Biweekly Maximum Earnings Limitation for Emergencies

Effectively immediately, all Line and Staff Office (LO/SO) Directors are hereby delegated authority to enact evacuation pay benefits for employees impacted by the recent hurricane events. For purposes of determining eligible employees for these benefits, it is required that LO/SO Directors coordinate with NOAA’s Homeland Security Program Office and state/local authorities regarding official evacuation status. Only those employees under standing evacuation orders are eligible for the aforementioned evacuation pay benefits. In summary, those benefits are:

  • Continuing in a pay status at the employee's current rate for the duration of the evacuation not to exceed 180 days.
  • Advance payments for up to 30 days pay to assist in financial hardships associated with the evacuation process.
  • Travel and subsistence payments for employees and their dependents from the date of evacuation to arrival at a safe haven.
Employees at a safe haven may be assigned any work which the evacuation makes necessary without regard to employee grade levels or titles. Refusal to perform assigned work may be the basis for termination of evacuation payments.

As noted above, it is imperative LOs/SOs obtain the applicable formal evacuation order for documentation purposes. In turn, this information must be disseminated to the Workforce Management Office and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer who will ensure appropriate steps are taken to provide for evacuation pay benefits.

The Department of Commerce (DOC) Pay Handbook also allows Heads of Operating Units or their designees to approve an exception to the biweekly maximum earnings limitation for emergencies for employees performing work directly connected with resolving or coping with an emergency or its aftermath. In accordance with this direction, I am permanently redelegating to you the authority to approve the granting of exceptions from the biweekly maximum earnings limitation for applicable employees performing work directly associated with the recent hurricane, and future emergency events.

An emergency is defined as a temporary condition posing a direct threat to human life and property, for example natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, etc. Emergency as used in this context does not apply to the regular duties of law enforcement officers. Employees who are performing emergency related work must be paid premium pay up to the GS-15 step 10 rate, including any applicable locality payment or special salary rate, so long as they do not exceed the limitation of GS-15 step 10 for the calendar year.

Attached is more specific information related to the discharge of the exceptions to the biweekly maximum earnings authority. If you have questions or need additional information on evacuation pay benefits or bi-weekly pay exceptions, contact your servicing Human Resource Specialist in the Workforce Management Office at http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/contact_lists.html .



The DOC Pay Handbook, Part II, Premium Pay, Section 5. Limitation on Premium Pay is located at http://ohrm.os.doc.gov/Premium_Pay/PROD01_000863.html.

The Line and Staff Office Directors are delegated authority to approve exceptions to the biweekly pay cap for emergencies. Supervisors should request exceptions for their employees through supervisory channels to the LO/SO Director for approval. Requests should include the following information:
  • the nature of the emergency;
  • the pay period(s) or length of time of the emergency;
  • the name, position title, pay plan, series and grade of the employee(s);
  • the nature of the work performed; and
  • a statement indicating how overtime hours will be monitored and who will record and certify emergency overtime.
Employees and their supervisors should also complete the attached form which can be found at the above URL under approve premium pay, exemptions from biweekly earnings limitation, to record the exception and ensure the annual cap is not exceeded. This documentation, along with the approval, should be maintained with the employee's time and attendance records.

Exemption From Biweekly Earnings Limitation Form

Employee Name:  
Position Title, Series, Grade:  
Type of Emergency (Fire, Flood, etc.):  
Nature of Work to be Performed:  
The following information is as of the end of pay period:  
which covers(date):
Current Base Salary: (includes locality-based comparability pay, and/or special salary rate) $
Applicable Biweekly Pay Cap: $
Applicable Annual Pay Cap: $
A. Dollar amount of projected annual base salary if less than a GS-15, step 10
(include any projected increase/decrease in base salary, e.g., locality, within-grade, promotion, general increase, change to lower grade, etc.)
B. Dollar amount of annual base salary received to date (beginning with pay
period 25 or 26 through end of the current pay period):
C. Annual base salary remaining to be paid in current calendar year (A minus B): $
D. Total amount of premium pay received to date in current
calendar year: Type:
Sunday differential $
Sunday Diff w/Night Diff $
Night Differential $
Overtime over 8 $
Overtime over 40 $
OT over 40 w/Night Diff $
OT over 8 w/Night Diff $
Overtime Call-back $
Holiday Worked $
Compensatory Time $
AUO/Standby/Availability $
E. Total annual base salary and premium pay received to date and base salary left to be paid in the remainder of the calendar year (B plus C plus D): $
F. Total amount available for premium pay of any type for the remainder of the current calendar year (annual pay cap minus E): $
CERTIFICATION: I certify that the above figures are correct to the best of my knowledge. I understand that any increases or decreases in my base salary or premium pay entitlements may increase or decrease the amount of additional premium pay I can earn in the remainder of the current calendar year. I also understand that the total of base salary and premium pay I receive may not exceed the applicable annual pay cap of a GS-15, step 10, in a calendar year. Consequently, if the total of base salary and premium pay I receive at the end of the calendar year exceeds the applicable pay cap of a GS-15, step 10, any excess premium pay becomes an overpayment regardless of whether some or all of it was performed in conjunction with an emergency. The amount of the overpayment will be recouped, regardless of administrative error or oversight in the computation above. This statement constitutes evidence of my knowledge of the applicable biweekly and annual pay cap and my responsibility for monitoring premium pay to ensure that premium pay does not exceed the appropriate pay cap. I do not abrogate my right to request a waiver of any overpayment; however, a waiver of overpayment is not likely to be granted as a result of my certification of this statement.
Signatures Dates
First level supervisor:
Second level supervisor:

Page last edited: November 5, 2007

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