Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the head of any office in the legislative branch may establish a program under which voluntary separation incentive payments may be offered to eligible employees of the office to encourage such employees to separate from service voluntarily (whether by retirement or resignation), in accordance with this section.
A voluntary separation incentive payment made under this section—
(1) shall be paid in a lump sum after the employee's separation;
(2) shall be equal to the lesser of—
(A) an amount equal to the amount the employee would be entitled to receive under section 5595(c) of title 5, if the employee were entitled to payment under such section (without adjustment for any previous payment made); or
(B) an amount determined by the head of the office involved, not to exceed $25,000;
(3) may be made only in the case of an employee who voluntarily separates (whether by retirement or resignation) under this section;
(4) shall not be a basis for payment, and shall not be included in the computation, of any other type of Government benefit;
(5) shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of any severance pay to which the employee may be entitled under section 5595 of title 5 based on any other separation; and
(6) shall be paid from appropriations or funds available for the payment of the basic pay of the employee.
No voluntary separation incentive payment may be paid under this section with respect to an office unless the head of the office submits a plan described in paragraph (2) to each applicable committee described in paragraph (3), and each applicable committee approves the plan.
A plan described in this paragraph with respect to an office is a plan containing the following information:
(A) The specific positions and functions to be reduced or eliminated.
(B) A description of which categories of employees will be offered incentives.
(C) The time period during which incentives may be paid.
(D) The number and amounts of voluntary separation incentive payments to be offered.
(E) A description of how the office will operate without the eliminated positions and functions.
For purposes of this subsection, the “applicable committee” with respect to an office means any committee of the House of Representatives or Senate with jurisdiction over the activities of the office under the applicable rules of the House of Representatives and the Senate (as determined by the head of the office), but does not include the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In this section, an “eligible employee” is an employee (as defined in section 2105,1 United States Code) or a Congressional employee (as defined in section 2107,2 United States Code) who—
(A) is serving under an appointment without time limitation; and
(B) has been currently employed for a continuous period of at least 3 years.
An “eligible employee” does not include any of the following:
(A) A reemployed annuitant under subchapter III of chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 or another retirement system for employees of the Government.
(B) An employee having a disability on the basis of which such employee is or would be eligible for disability retirement under subchapter III of chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 or another retirement system for employees of the Government.
(C) An employee who is in receipt of a decision notice of involuntary separation for misconduct or unacceptable performance.
(D) An employee who has previously received any voluntary separation incentive payment from the Federal Government under this section or any other authority.
(E) An employee covered by statutory reemployment rights who is on transfer employment with another organization.
(F) Any employee who—
(i) during the 36-month period preceding the date of separation of that employee, performed service for which a student loan repayment benefit was or is to be paid under section 5379 of title 5 or any other authority;
(ii) during the 24-month period preceding the date of separation of that employee, performed service for which a recruitment or relocation bonus was or is to be paid under section 5753 of such title or any other authority; or
(iii) during the 12-month period preceding the date of separation of that employee, performed service for which a retention bonus was or is to be paid under section 5754 of such title or any other authority.
Subject to paragraph (2), an employee who has received a voluntary separation incentive payment under this section and accepts employment with the Government of the United States within 5 years after the date of the separation on which the payment is based shall be required to repay the entire amount of the incentive payment to the office that paid the incentive payment.
(A) If the employment is with an Executive agency (as defined by section 105 of title 5, but excluding the Government Accountability Office), the Director of the Office of Personnel Management may, at the request of the head of the agency, waive the repayment required under this subsection if the individual involved possesses unique abilities and is the only qualified applicant available for the position.
(B) If the employment is with an entity in the legislative branch, the head of the entity or the appointing official may waive the repayment required under this subsection if the individual involved possesses unique abilities and is the only qualified applicant available for the position.
(C) If the employment is with the judicial branch, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts may waive the repayment required under this subsection if the individual involved possesses unique abilities and is the only qualified applicant available for the position.
For purposes of paragraph (1) (but not paragraph (2)), the term “employment” includes employment under a personal services contract with the United States.
This section shall take effect on December 8, 2004, and shall apply with respect to the portion of fiscal year 2005 occurring on and after December 8, 2004, and to each succeeding fiscal year.
(Pub. L. 108–447, div. G, title II, §210, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3194; Pub. L. 112–74, div. G, title I, §1401(a), Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1134.)
Last modified: October 26, 2015