A quick look at the rules and restrictions surround hazard pay for the federal workforce.
This article is for feds who are paid by the General Schedule (GS), not those who are paid under the wage system, although they do have a comparable benefit known as “environmental differential pay.”
When employees are assigned duties that involve a specific danger or physical hardship that is outside of their original job description’s listed knowledge, skills, and abilities, and also out of their control, they might be eligible for “premium hazardous duty pay.” The circumstances that constitute as hazardous must be properly authorized by the employing agency beforehand. A federal worker can’t go into a dangerous work environment on their own accord and expect to receive an authorization for hazard pay after the fact.
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If the hazard duty premium is authorized, it applies to the whole workday where such duties were performed. This even goes for paid leave, but the employee does have to work at least one hour on that date. But if he or she takes one to seven hours of annual leave for the remainder of their workday, they will receive the premium for all of those hours. And while overtime hours are also included in approved workdays, any premium for such hours are calculated at the employee’s basic rate of pay and not the overtime pay rate.
What Situations Are Eligible for Hazard Pay?
Work environments and situations that be considered hazardous in terms of authorizing the hazard premium include:
- Severe Weather
- Physiological Hazards
- Working with Hazardous Chemicals or Fuel Storage Tanks
- Work underground, or work at elevated heights
- Similar dangerous situations
How is Hazard Pay Calculated?
When an agency it approves hazard pay for an individual, or group of individuals, it also provides a pay differential rate. This figure is multiplied by the federal employee’s hourly rate of pay, and then that product is multiplied by the number of applicable hours worked. The total amount of the premium pay cannot exceed 25% of the employee’s basic pay.
Note that if a member of the federal workforce is receiving annual premium pay, they cannot also receive hazard premium pay. Likewise, neither can a federal investigator who is working on availability pay. Hazard pay is also not to be included when computing overtime, holiday pay, Sunday premium pay, TSP deductions, FEGLI premiums, or retirement income from either FERS or CSRS.
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