No. There is no authority in law or regulation to advance credit hours. Time cannot be charged against credit hours until credit hours have been earned. For this reason, some agencies do not permit employees to use credit hours until the pay period following the one in which they are earned.
Even if an agency has such a policy, the agency may still permit supervisors to approve changes in the time when employees will work flexible hours (part of the basic work requirement) after the beginning of a week or a pay period. For example, an employee may be permitted or required to shift some flexible hours from the first week of a pay period to the second week of the pay period. As long as the employee completes his or her 80-hour basic work requirement during the pay period, this can be done without any charge to leave. (See OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules, Flexible Work Schedules, Overtime Work Determinations, paragraph 2).
A full-time employee receives pay for a maximum of 24 unused credit hours at his or her current rate of basic pay when Federal employment ends, when the employee transfers to another agency (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 6121(1)), or when the employee otherwise is no longer subject to an agency's flexible work schedule program. A part-time employee who is no longer subject to an agency's flexible work schedule program receives basic pay for accumulated credit hours that are not in excess of one-fourth of the hours in the employee's biweekly basic work requirement. Agencies should have policies for determining whether employees continue to be subject to an agency's flexible work schedule program after other personnel actions or work schedule changes occur. (See 5 U.S.C. 6126.)
The premium pay limitations in 5 U.S.C. 5547 do not apply to payment for credit hours even though they apply to payments for unused compensatory time off.
Typically, credit hours may not be earned for travel since travel is always ordered by an agency. Travel hours are not hours that an employee elects to work with supervisory approval. Subject to agency policies or the provisions of negotiated agreements, agencies should consider placing employees on standard work schedules during extended periods of travel. (See OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules, Flexible Work Schedules, Travel, paragraph 5.)Under certain conditions, an agency may permit an employee to earn credit hours by performing productive and essential work while in a travel status. For example, while traveling, employees may use a laptop computer to write speeches and draft or edit reports and other correspondence. Since travel itself does not generally constitute hours of work, the work that is done must be approved and verified by a supervisor. All of the following conditions must be met to allow an employee to earn credit hours while in a travel status are:
- The employee must be under a flexible work schedule;
- The employee must perform work within designated hours when credit hours may be earned under the agencys flexible work schedule policy (see 5 U.S.C. 6122(a)(2));
- The employee must elect to perform the work voluntarily;
- The hours of work must be in excess of the basic work requirement for the employee;
- Travel must be scheduled during the regularly scheduled working hours for the employee to the maximum extent practicable (see 5 U.S.C. 6101(b)(2) and 5 CFR 610.123); and
- The agency must ensure that a policy permitting employees to earn credit hours for working during travel time is consistent with applicable legal and regulatory requirements, as well as with agency policies.
If work is required during travel time outside of the employees basic work requirement, overtime pay must be paid for work that is ordered in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. (See 5 U.S.C. 6121(6).)
No, credit hours cannot be earned if training or homework is required by an agency. If training is required, it does not constitute hours that an employee elects to work with supervisory approval. (See the definition of credit hours in 5 U.S.C. 6121(4).)
Agencies may place employees on a standard work schedule (8 hours a day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday) during a period of training or on a work schedule that corresponds to the hours of training. Employees must be notified of changes in their basic work schedule in advance of the agencys administrative workweek.
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