Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments
This directive establishes the FSIS policies and procedures for temporary assignment of employees between:
- A. FSIS and state or local governments.
- B. Institutions of higher education.
- C. Indian Tribal governments.
- D. Other eligible organizations under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program.
A. Executive Order 11589 of April 1, 1971, The Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970
B. 5 U.S.C., Chapter 33, Subchapter VI, Section 3371-3375, Assignments To and From States
C. 5 CFR Part 334, Temporary Assignment of Employees Between Federal Agencies and State, and Local, and Indian Tribal Governments, Institutions of Higher Education, and other Eligible Organizations
D. 5 U.S.C. 3374, Assignments of Employees from State or Local Governments
E. 41 CFR Chapters 301-304, Federal Travel Regulations
F. Federal Register, Volume 62, No. 82, Part 334 (amended), Final Regulation, dated April 29, 1997. G. Public Law 95-521, Ethics in Government Act of 1978
H. Public Law 101-194, Ethics Reform Act of 1989
V. ABBREVIATIONS AND FORMS
The following will appear in their shortened form in this directive:
- BD Budget Division
- EBPB Employment and Benefits Policy Branch, HRD
- FEHBP Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
- FMD Financial Management Division
- HRD Human Resources Division
- IPA Intergovernmental Personnel Act
- LWOP Leave Without Pay
- SES Senior Executive Service
- OF-69 Assignment Agreement
- SF-52 Request for Personnel Action
It is FSIS policy to:
A. Encourage and support temporary assignment of personnel between FSIS and other qualified institutions under the IPA Mobility Program. The assignment of such work should mutually benefit FSIS and the institution. Assignments solely for training are not permissible. However, assignments that involve gaining experience and knowledge to improve an employee’s subsequent effectiveness in their regular assignments are appropriate.
B. Make it feasible and convenient to temporarily assign skilled personnel between institutions. The temporary assignment should:
- Serve sound public policy.
- Provide experience in and knowledge of the assignment environment to FSIS employees and to outside organizations and institutions.
- Give the receiving organization the benefit of the experience and knowledge brought with the FSIS employee. The temporary assignment of employee from other organizations allows FSIS to:
- a. Assist in the transfer and use of new technologies.
- b. Attract and use difficult to obtain talent.
- c. Give valued experience that will increase the assignee’s and the home institution’s future effectiveness when dealing with FSIS.
- d. Strengthen both organizations’ resources.
C. Arrange for assignments that strengthen relationships between FSIS and other qualified institutions. Such assignments should not enhance the personal interests of employees, circumvent personnel ceilings, or avoid unpleasant personnel decisions.
D. Make an initial evaluation of assignment requests to decide if the IPA authority is appropriate. Use other staffing methods, including a Cooperative Agreement, if appropriate, when assignments are anticipated to exceed the limits of the IPA authority.
A. Employee. An individual:
- Serving in a Federal agency under a career or career-conditional appointment, including career appointees in the SES and SENIOR LEVEL, individuals under appointments of equivalent tenure in excepted service positions, and Presidential Management Interns.
- Employed for at least 90 days in a career position with a state, local, or Indian tribal government, institution of higher education, or other eligible organization.
B. Institutions of Higher Education. An accredited U.S. public or private 4-year college or university, or a technical or junior college. USDA emphasis is on 1890/Land Grant and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
C. Other Organizations. A national, regional, state-wide, or metropolitan organization representing member State or local governments; an association of State or local public officials; or a nonprofit organization that has as one of its principal functions the offering of professional advisory, research, educational, development, or related services to governments or universities concerned with public management.
D. State or Local Government. A State of the United States at any level including the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, other territories and possessions of the United States; any instrumentality or authority of a State; any political subdivision; any general or special purpose agency; and any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village as described in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
A. This issuance covers:
- Career or career conditional employees of Federal agencies, including SENIOR LEVEL employees, and career employees in the SES.
- Individuals under appointments of equivalent tenure in accepted service positions and Presidential Management Interns.
- Individuals employed for at least 90 days in career positions with State, local, or Indian tribal governments, U.S. institutions of higher education and other organizations certified as eligible to participate in the IPA Mobility Program.
B. Individuals excluded from participating in the IPA Mobility Program include:
- Federal, State, or local government employees serving under non-career, temporary or term limited appointments, or an employee in a position that has been excepted from competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy making, policy determining, or policy advocating character.
- Individuals employed for less than 90 days in a career position with a State, local, or Indian tribal government, institution of higher education, or other eligible organization.
- Members of the uniformed military services and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Elected Federal, State or local government officials.
- Students of universities employed in research, graduate, teaching assistants and similar temporary positions.
A. Employment and Benefits Policy Branch, HRD.
- Interprets the provisions of the IPA.
- Develops policy.
- Disseminates information and instructions to management officials about the use of this authority.
- Obtains clearances and approval of agreements.
- Distributes copies of approved agreements.
- Notifies FMD of early termination of an existing agreement.
- Certifies "other organizations."
- Provides oversight and evaluation, and submits annual reports to the Department.
B. Budget Division. Verifies that adequate program funds are available and provides information related to travel and transportation entitlements (as appropriate).
C. Financial Management Division. Sets up appropriate payment mechanisms and ensures that the financial arrangements stated in the Assignment Agreement are upheld.
D. Program Areas.
1. Submit the following forms to EBPB.
- a. A completed OF-69 (and pay stub for non-Federal employees).
- b. SF-52 (only required for FSIS employees on IPA assignments).
2. Notify HRD-EBPB of modifications or early termination of an existing agreement (including extensions).
3. Resubmits agreements that span more than one fiscal year (to approve new fiscal year obligation of funds).
I. CERTIFICATION OF "OTHER ORGANIZATIONS"
A. Existing Certification. Non-Federal organizations interested in participating in an IPA Mobility Program must have a current certification from FSIS or another Federal agency (see 5 CFR 334.103).
- OPM Certification dated May 28, 1997 and earlier is void and the organizations are required to reapply for certification.
- Agency Certification on May 29, 1997 and later is valid indefinitely.
B. Obtaining New Certification. An organization must submit to EBPB the following documentation:
- Articles of incorporation.
- Internal Revenue Service nonprofit statement.
- Any other information describing the organization’s activities as they relate to the public management concerns of governments or universities.
II. ASSIGNING EMPLOYEES
IPA Mobility Program assignments are either by detail or appointment. Attachments 2-1 and 2-2 provide a quick reference guide for provisions related to the detail or appointment of employees of FSIS and non-Federal organizations. The EBPB ensures that an assignment agreement meets the requirements of this directive, and is prepared and approved before sending an FSIS employee to a non-Federal organization or allowing a non-Federal employee to begin an FSIS IPA.
A. Assigning FSIS Employees to Non-Federal Organizations.
- Detail. FSIS employees on an IPA detail continue to occupy their positions and retain all Federal entitlements. The detailed employee continues to receive his or her salary from FSIS. The non-Federal organization may reimburse FSIS for all or any part of the employee’s travel and transportation expenses, salary, and benefits. The detail is creditable service for within-grade increases.
- Appointment. FSIS employees placed on LWOP may receive formal appointments from the non-Federal organization to which assigned. He or she remains a Federal employee and retains the rights and benefits associated with that status. FSIS continues to pay the employer share of benefit costs (these costs may be reimbursed in whole or part by the non-Federal organization). If the rate of pay authorized by the non-Federal organization is less than the Federal salary, the employee may receive supplemental salary payments from FSIS. An FSIS employee may receive a supplemental salary from the non-Federal organization only when the assigned position has an established and documented higher rate of pay than the employee’s Federal salary.
B. Assigning Non-Federal Employees to FSIS.
1. Detail. Non-Federal employees on detail to FSIS are not considered employees of FSIS. Detailees:
- a. May only serve in an advisory capacity, a consultative capacity, or a staff assignment.
- b. May provide day-to-day supervision of employees.
- c. Are paid by the non-Federal organization and are not entitled to Federal pay. FSIS may reimburse the employer; however, reimbursement may not be made for administrative costs of the assignment or tuition costs for children. Outside earnings may not be reimbursed, except if the assignee’s regular tour of duty in the Non-Federal organization included consulting time that cannot be continued due to the IPA assignment.
2. Appointment. Non-Federal employees may be appointed in the excepted service under 5 USC 3374 (a)(1) to established positions in FSIS. Appointees:
- a. May serve in line management positions. Although the appointee remains an employee of the non-Federal organization while a participant in the IPA Program, their employing organization must carry the appointee in a LWOP or similar non-duty status during the term of the IPA appointment.
- b. Are paid at the level authorized for the position to which they are appointed and are entitled to the same cost-of-living allowances and differentials available to Federal employees. They are FSIS employees for all purposes except entitlement to coverage under the Federal Employees Retirement System, Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance, and Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. EXCEPTION: A non-Federal appointee may enroll in the FEHBP if their non-Federal coverage is lost as a result of the IPA assignment.
III. LENGTH OF ASSIGNMENTS
A. An initial assignment may be made for up to 2 years and may be intermittent, part-time, or full-time. Extensions may be granted for up to 2 additional years and require Departmental approval. Assignees who have served for 4 continuous years may not be sent on another assignment without at least a 12-month return to duty. Successive assignments without a break of at least 60 calendar days are regarded as continuous service.
B. A Federal employee may not serve on an IPA assignment more than a total of 6 years during his or her Federal career. However, the 6-year limitation does not apply to assignees from non-Federal organizations.
IV. ARRANGING AN ASSIGNMENT
Assistant administrators or their designee, negotiate tentative arrangements for IPA assignments within their respective organizations.
A. Management officials initiate IPA assignments and implement the written agreement, OF-69 (see Attachment 2-3 for instructions and a sample form). The form is available on the Internet site: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/formslibrary.jsp (click on Optional (OF) Forms and then OF-69). The benefits to FSIS and the non-Federal organization are the primary considerations in initiating assignments. The assignment is voluntary and must be agreed to by the employee. When developing an assignment that involves the movement of a non-Federal employee to FSIS, the Agreement should specify that at the end of the assignment the employee is expected to return to their non-Federal employer.
B. The Agreement should state clearly that if an employee is paid allowable travel, relocation, and per diem expenses, he or she must complete the entire period of the assignment or one year, whichever is shorter, or reimburse FSIS for those expenses. Agreements for Federal employees must state clearly that the assignee is obligated to return to the Federal service for a time equal to the length of the assignment or be liable for all assignment associated expenses (except salary and benefits). NOTE: The FSIS Administrator may waive the reimbursement for good and sufficient reason.
C. Base cost-sharing arrangements for the IPA assignment on the extent to which FSIS and the participating organization benefit from the assignment. FSIS may pay all, some, or none of the costs. If the non-Federal entity is the primary beneficiary of an IPA assignment, that entity bears more than half of the expense. FSIS may pay 100 percent of the costs when:
- The assignment contributes to the Department’s work force diversity goals, including institution building efforts, and
- The non-Federal entity has inadequate resources to pay its proportional share. When choosing to pay costs in excess of the benefits to FSIS, fully document the rationale and include the documentation as a part of the official file. Costs may include employee pay, fringe benefits (except employer contributions, tuition credit and family member benefits), relocation costs, and travel and per diem expenses.
D. Document all cost sharing and other arrangements for the original assignment on the OF-69. (See Attachment 2-3 for instructions to complete OF-69.) Document extension of the assignment period and modification to the agreement on the agreement form, OF-69 or extension form.
V. TRAVEL, RELOCATION, AND PER DIEM
FSIS may pay travel expenses, relocation or per diem allowances for Federal or non-Federal employees (see Federal Travel Regulation). FSIS may elect to pay per diem allowance or relocation expenses, but may not pay both. The employee must sign a service agreement for one year or the length of the assignment, whichever is shorter, to be eligible for payment of per diem at the assignment location or relocation expenses.
VI. CLEARANCE AND APPROVAL OF AGREEMENTS
A. All IPA agreements must clear through the Directors of HRD, BD, and FMD before approval. Submit IPA requests to EBPB at least 30 days before assignment starts.
B. The FSIS Administrator is the final approval authority for IPA assignments. NOTE: Departmental approval is required for an:
- Unanticipated extension beyond two years.
- Assignment initially anticipated to be extended beyond the first two years.
- Assignment involving an SES or SENIOR LEVEL position.
- Assignment where FSIS is paying more than 50 percent of the cost of an FSIS employee detailed to a non-Federal organization. EXCEPTION: Assignments contributing to work force diversity goals do not require departmental approval.
VII. CHANGES OR MODIFICATION IN ASSIGNMENT
Document all significant changes in an employee's duties, responsibilities, salary, work assignment location or supervisory relationships as a modification to the original agreement with approval and distribution (see Paragraph VI.). Minor changes such as salary increases due to annual pay adjustments, changes in benefits due to revised coverage, and very short-term changes in duties do not require a modification.
VIII. TERMINATION OF ASSIGNMENT
A. An assignment may be terminated at any time at the option of the Federal or non-Federal organization or the assignee. Provide a written 30-day notice (including the reason(s) for the termination) to all parties involved when terminating an agreement before the original completion date. Advise EBPB of any early termination of the assignment. EBPB advises FMD to avoid overpayment of funds.
B. Immediately terminate an IPA assignment when the assignee is no longer employed by his or her original employer, regardless of whether the assignment is a detail or an appointment.
IX. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT AND CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST PROVISIONS
A. A non-Federal employee on assignment to a Federal agency, under an IPA appointment or detail, is subject to the provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, Ethics Reform Act of 1989, and applicable FSIS directives governing the ethical and other conduct of Federal employees. When in doubt if an action violates a provision, contact your supervisor or other designated official.
B. A Federal employee on an IPA assignment is not exempt from conflict of interest or Hatch Act statutes. An employee may not act as an agent or attorney on behalf of the non-Federal organization in any matter in which the Federal government is a party or has a direct or substantial interest.
See full PDF for Attachments.
- ASSIGNMENT OF FSIS EMPLOYEES TO NON-FEDERAL ORGANIZATIONS
- ASSIGNMENT OF NON-FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TO FSIS
- INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING OF-69, ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT