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IfwoPersonnel Management Jb FPM Letter 920- 8
SFede Personnel Manual SystePublhed n advance
SP etter 920-8 a S of incorporation in FPM
Chapter 920 and
,; :: ; *i Sunplement 920-
u:.u:... SES Sabbaticals RETAIN UNT SUPER
.... : .. ... .." .
: Washington, D. C.
I: : August 21
:: ds of Departments and Independent Establishments:
1: The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 authorized agency heads to grant sabbaticals
S to certain appointees in the Senior Executive Service for "...study or uncompensated
work experience which will contribute to [their] development and effectiveness".
S (5 U.S.C. 3396[c], copy attached) The authority becomes operative on July 13, 1981,
.. two years after initial conversion to the SES. This letter transmits provisional
01/DOPM guidance on implementation of..the sabbatical authority.
:2. The sabbatical program in each agency should be announced to all career SES member
:: :: in the agency. There should be provision for SES members to make proposals, and an
agency may also provide for proposals from management. Announcements should clearly
explain all the facts about the agency approach including the following:
a. Eligibility requirements;
: b. Maximum number of sabbaticals the agency expects to grant;
c. Purpose of sabbaticals and illustrative examples of activities
S. appropriate for sabbaticals;
'" .. : .
:' ': '
d. Method of evaluating proposals and selecting participants; and
e. Reports) to bi required from SES members on completion of their sabbaticals.
A copy of each announcement should be furnished to the OPM Associate Director for
Executive Personnel and Management Development.
3. Proposals should be considered and sabbaticals granted on the basis of such
considerations as the following:
a. The demonstrated competence of the SES member and his or her ability
to satisfactorily achieve the objectives specified in the proposal;
b. The specificity, clarity and overall quality of the proposal, and the
appropriateness of the proposal to its objectivess;
c. The proposed sabbatical's potential for contributing to the development
of the SES member; and
d. The proposed sabbatical's potential contribution to important goals or
missions of the agency or the Federal Government.
Other factors being equal, preference may be given to more economical proposals,
edg., sabbaticals of.shorter duration or with lower travel costs.
Executive and Management Development Division,
Program and Guidance Branch (202) 632-4661
920 Senior Executive Service
OPM FORM 652 1/79
covered as a mutual understanding in the context of the continued service asgv e
ment. ..... .. ..
SPM Letter 920-8 (3)
10. An SES sabbablcal may be graated "...only if the appointee agrees, as a con-
dition of accepting the sabbatical, to serve in the civil service upon the com-
pletion of the sabbatical for a period of 2 consecutive years." Although an agency
head may waive this commitment "for good and sufficient reasons" the purpose of a
sabbatical, as specified in the law, is the SES member's development and effect-
iveness; therefore sabbaticals should not be granted with the intention of waiving
the continued service obligation. Good and sufficient reasons would include
disability retirement, reductionain force or other involuntary separation. The
following is suggested language for the agreement required under
5 U.S.C. 3396(c)(3)(A):
I agree, as a condition of accepting
the sabbatical, to serve in the civil service upon completion of the
sabbatical for a period of two (2) consecutive years. I further agree
that if I fail to parry out this agreement (except for good and sufficient
reasons as determined by the agency head) I am liable to the United States
for payment of all expenses (including salary) of the sabbatical. The
amount shall be treated as a debt due the United States.
11. Length of sabbaticals. The length of an SES sabbatical should be a function of
the project or activity to be undertaken. The eleven-month maximum established in
the law should not be regarded as the norm. It is expected that a number of SES
members will seek sabbaticals for valuable and worthwhile purposes requiring less
time, in a few cases perhaps substantially less time. However, no sabbatical should
be granted for a period of L4esa than three months.
12. Numerical limit. The authority for SES sabbaticals becomes operative during a
period of Important change in the Federal Government. Some agencies are undergoing
expansion, others reduction; many are making internal changes to effect reordered
priorities. In all such cases, agencies will not be able to afford to have signi-
ficant numbers of key personnel absent for extended periods. Therefore, the number
of sabbatical-years approved for the period ending September 30, 1982, should not
exceed the larger of (a) one, or (b) one percent of the number of career appointees
in the agency. Note that a hypothetical agency with 260 SES members would have 2.6
sabbatical-years, or approximately 31 months, available for the purpose.
13. Program Review.
Sa. Agencies are required tp establish executive and management development
programs in accordance with the program plans which have been approved by OPM and
to include, in the program component concerned with development of SES members, a
provision for SES sabbaticals; a further requirement is to update these plans
annually, and to inform OPM of significant changes occurring between updates.
(5 CFR 412.109 and 412.107d1) The latter would include information on the agency's
planning for and implementation of SES sabbaticals.
b. Agencies should monitor their sabbatical programs. Elements to be tracked
should include the number of sabbaticals granted, the amount of funds (including
:staff salaries) expended in support of the program, the nature of participants'
activities during their sabbaticals, the effectiveness of these activities in re-
lation to what participants set out to do, and post-sabbatical job assignments.
: :scords documenting the decision. process in granting sabbaticals should be main-
tainLed for two years.
.... ... ...' ..
FPM Letter 920- 8 (4)
c. OPM will monitor implementation through such means as:
(1) Review of executive and management development program plan
updates. (FPM Letter 920-2, January 6, 1981)
(2) Ongoing liaison activities of the Agency Assistance Branch of
EPMD's Executive and Management Development Division.
(3) Scheduled evaluations of SES and other personnel management programs '
(4) Tracking of CSRA implementation.
(5) Review of agency usage of space allocations for mobility purposes.
d. After three years experience, OPM intends to assess sabbatical practice onddi'
this provisional guidance making use of an ad hoc interagency group with
significant participation by SES members. It will use such information as flB :'
evaluations of sabbatical proposals, agency assessments of the extent to whichH
individual sabbaticals achieve their objectives, and the opinions of SES member
who receive sabbaticals. The objectives of the program assessment will be to
carefully evaluate experience under this guidance and agencies' effectiveness"
in administering the authority, and to determine what kind of regulation or .et
manent guidance is needed, if any, to assure that the authority is used to best! l"
e. The type and purpose of the sabbaticals granted constitute a program eleaeit ;
with greatest potential for affecting the long-term viability of the sabbaticatlit
authority. Because of the sensitivity in this area, we feel that OPH needs to
undertake systematic monitoring. Therefore, each agency is to submit to the *.
Associate Director for Executive Personnel and Management Development copies of "i
documents) generated by the agency during its decision process for granting ...
sabbaticals, which will suffice to supply the following information on each
sabbatical; this should be submitted at least 30 days before the sabbatical is
scheduled to begin. FI
(1) Name of the SES member involved.
(2) A general description of activities to be pursued.
(3) An indication of the developmental benefits anticipated,
and of expected contributions to agency programs or other
Governmental purposes if any.
(4) Approximate dates during which the member will be on sabbatical. ,i
Donald J. Devine
Attachment to FPM Letter 920-8
Excerpt from the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
3396. Development for and within the Senior Executive Service
(a) The Office of Personnel Management shall establish programs
for the systematic development of candidates for the Senior Executive
Service and for the continuing development of senior executives, or
require agencies to establish such programs which meet criteria pre-
scribed by the Office. (Pub. L. 95-454, Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1163.)
(b) The Office shall assist agencies in the establishment of programs
required under subsection (a) of this section and shall monitor the
implementation of the programs. If the Office finds that any agency's
program under subsection (a) of this section is not in compliance with
the criteria prescribed under such subsection, it shall require the agency
to take such corrective action as may be necessary to bring the program
into compliance with the criteria.
(c) (1) The head of an agency may grant a sabbatical to any career
appointee for not to exceed 11 months in order to permit the appointee
to engage in study or uncompensated work experience which will con-
tribute to the appointee's development and effectiveness. A sabbatical
shall not result in loss of, or reduction in, pay, leave to which the
career appointee is otherwise entitled, credit for time or service, or
performance or efficiency rating. The head of the agency may authorize
in accordance with chapter 57 of this title such travel expenses (includ-
ing per diem allowances) as the head of the agency may determine to be
essential for the study or experience.
(2) A sabbatical under this subsection may not be granted to any
(A) more than once in any 10-year period;
(B) unless the appointee has completed 7 years of service-
(i) in one or more positions in the Senior Executive
(ii) in one or more other positions in the civil service the
level of duties and responsibilities of which are equivalent to
the level of duties and responsibilities of positions in the Sen-
ior Executive Service; or
(iii) in any combination of such positions, except that not
less than 2 years of such 7 years of service must be in the
Senior Executive Service; and
(C) if the appointee is eligible for voluntary retirement with
a right to an immediate annuity under section 8336 of this title.
Any period of assignment under section 3373 of this title, relating to
assignments of employees to State and local governments, shall not be
considered a period of service, for the purpose of subparagraph (B) of
(3) (A) Any career appoinitee in an agency may be granted a sab-
batical under this subsection only if the appointee agrees, as a con-
dition of accepting the sabbatical, to serve in the civil service upon the
completion of the sabbatical for a period of 2 consecutive years.
(B) Each agreement required under subparagraph (A) of this
paragraph shall provide that in the event the career appointee fails to
carry out the agreement (except for good and sufficient reason as deter-
mined by the head of the agency who granted the sabbatical) the
appointee shall be liable to the United States for payment of all
expenses (including salary). of the sabbatical. The amount shall be
treated as a debt due the United States.
(d) The Office shall encourage and assist individuals to improve
their skills and increase their contribution by service in a variety of
agencies as well as by accepting temporary placements in State or
local governments or in the private sector. (Pub. L. 95454, Oct. 13,
1978, 92 Stat. 1163.)
The Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe regulations to
carry out the purpose of this subchapter. (Pub. L. 95-454, Oct. 18,1978,
92 Stat. 1164.)
*.. SrO.NkOirMBWT PRINTING OFFICE: 1981 352-531 414/8636
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