NIST Administrative Manual, Subchapter 10.06
Transmittal Date - 9/8/06



10.06.01 Purpose

10.06.02 Scope

10.06.03 Authority

10.06.04 Policy

10.06.05 Organization Eligibility

10.06.06 Employee Eligibility

10.06.07 Appointment

10.06.08 Location

10.06.09 Responsibilities

10.06.10 Assignment of NIST Employee to an Approved Organization

10.06.11 Assignment of an Approved Organization Employee to NIST

10.06.12 Reimbursement/Cost Sharing

10.06.13 Travel, Relocation, and Per Diem Allowances

10.06.14 Intellectual Property Provisions

10.06.15 Modification to Assignment Agreement

10.06.16 Termination of Assignment Agreement

Appendix A - Checklist for Optional Form 69 (OF-69), Assignment Agreement - Title IV of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970 (5 U.S.C. 3371-3376)

The purpose of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) is to facilitate cooperation through the temporary assignment of skilled personnel between the federal government, state and local governments, institutions of higher education, federally funded research and development centers maintained by the National Science Foundation, Indian tribal governments, and other nonprofit organizations for limited periods without loss of employee rights and benefits. Throughout the subchapter, these various organizations will be referred to as "an approved organization."

This subchapter applies to all NIST employees.

Title 5 United States Code, Sections 3371-3376 authorizes the IPA of 1970. 5 CFR, Part 334, outlines the regulations governing this temporary assignment of personnel. To enter into an assignment, Optional Form 69 (OF-69), Assignment Agreement - Title IV of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970 (5 U.S.C. 3371-3376), is used and referred to throughout the subchapter as the "Assignment Agreement."

Note: 5 CFR, Part 334, Section 334.103-334.106 was revised by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to transfer more responsibility for operating the IPA mobility program to federal agencies effective May 29, 1997.

NIST policy encourages interested individuals to participate in the IPA Program.

a. An organization interested in participating in the IPA program must have its eligibility certified by the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) before being eligible to enter into an Assignment Agreement with NIST.

b. To obtain eligibility, an organization must prepare a written request for certification with a copy of the organization's (1) articles of incorporation; (2) bylaws; (3) Internal Revenue Service nonprofit statement; and (4) any other information which indicates that the organization has a principle function offering professional advisory, research, educational or development services, or related services to governments or universities concerned with public management. Requests should be mailed to:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Office of Human Resources Management
Staffing and Ethics Specialist (IPA Coordinator)
Administration Building, Room A123
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899

A current list of approved organizations can be found in the NIST Corporate Information System (CIS), Management Information Support System menu (MISS).

a. A NIST employee must be on a career or career-conditional appointment.

b. An employee of an approved organization must be a permanent/career employee of the organization for at least 90 days prior to the Assignment Agreement. A college student employed as a research assistant, graduate assistant, teaching assistant, or in a similar scholarship related position, is not eligible.

c. Citizenship requirements do not apply to a person participating under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

a. NIST recruits a person for an assignment at NIST via a detail or an excepted service appointment.

b. An assignment can be made for up to two years but may not extend beyond 48 consecutive months.

c. An assignment can be to a position at various managerial levels or to a non-managerial position. If an assignment is to a previously established SES position, prior approval of the Department of Commerce is required.

With the exception of travel requirements, the participant must perform the duties and responsibilities of the assignment at the location of the host organization.

a. Organizational Unit:

(1) Negotiates the terms of the assignment within the allowable limits.

(2) Prepares draft Assignment Agreement.

(3) Clears draft Assignment Agreement with the Office of the Comptroller.

(4) Prepares the final copy of the Assignment Agreement.

(5) Before the Assignment Agreement is signed, the receiving organizational unit must inform the employee of the provisions of all appropriate conflict of interest/standards of ethical conduct statutes and regulations or must provide copies of the information to the employee. For specific information, contact the Staffing and Ethics Specialist in the NIST Office of Human Resources Management. The employee must acknowledge receipt of this information on the Assignment Agreement. In addition, the receiving organizational unit ensures that the employee is fully aware of all obligations and commitments of entering into an Assignment Agreement.

(6) Obtains the following signatures on Assignment Agreement in this sequence:

--Official of the approved organization
--Appropriate OU approving official
--NIST Office of the Comptroller

(7) Prepares and forwards the following forms to the NIST Security Office for participant coming to NIST:

--NIST-1085, Request for Security Assurance
--OFI 86C, Special Agreement Checks (SAC)
--FD-258, Fingerprint Chart (Applicant), (OPM, Boyers, PA)
--NIST-351, Request for ID Card/Pass

Note: Forms can be forwarded to the Security Office prior to final approval of the Assignment Agreement. If the individual is to serve in any management capacity while at NIST, the position must be viewed in terms of position sensitivity as if the position is being occupied by a federal employee. The investigation is then in accordance with that required with the level of sensitivity determined.

(8) If applicable, prepares Standard Form 52, Request for Personnel Action, for NIST employee on assignment.

(9) If applicable, prepares Form NIST-630, Request for Cost Center Authorization or Change, to establish cost center to record costs. See Section 10.06.12.

(10) If applicable, prepares Form CD-29, Travel Order, outlining the travel expenses authorized by the Assignment Agreement. A copy of the Assignment Agreement must be attached to Form CD-29. If relocation expenses are authorized, Form CD-150, Request for Authorization of Travel and Moving Expenses, must be prepared along with Form CD-29.

(11) If applicable, have participant complete Form OGE-450, Confidential Financial Disclosure Report.

(12) Provides a copy of the approved Assignment Agreement within two weeks of approval to the following:

--Approved Organization
--NIST Budget Office (if cost center is established)
--NIST Office of Human Resources Management (Staffing and Ethics Specialist)
--NIST Office of the Comptroller

b. Office of the Comptroller:

(1) Determines if financial conditions are reasonable and in accordance with payment and travel regulations and ensures that all necessary accounting information is included;

(2) Assigns a document number, obligates the funds, and uses the Assignment Agreement as authorization to pay or bill as required.

c. IPA Participant:

(1) For a federal employee, the Assignment Agreement must ensure that the participant knows of the obligation to return to the federal service for a time equal to the length of the assignment, or be liable for all expenses exclusive of salary (head of an agency may waive reimbursement for extenuating circumstances).

(2) Reimbursement of travel, relocation, and per diem expenses may be allowed only if the federal or approved organization employee agrees in writing to serve the entire period of the assignment or one year, whichever is shorter, unless the assignment is terminated for reasons acceptable to NIST.

d. Office of Human Resources Management - On an as needed basis, provides advice on the negotiation and preparation of the Assignment Agreement and any of the regulatory requirements. Also, maintains the CIS-MISS database for approved organizations.

A NIST employee is assigned either on detail or on leave-without-pay (LWOP). In either case, the assignee remains a federal employee and retains the rights and benefits associated with that status. The employee cannot be assigned under the IPA for more than a total of six years during the employee's federal career.

a. Pay Policies - A NIST employee cannot earn less on an assignment than would have been received in their federal position. Appropriate comparability and/or locality salary adjustments are made whether the federal employee is on detail or serving in a LWOP status.

b. Detail Status - A NIST employee on detail is entitled to their regular salary. However, a supplemental salary may be received from the approved organization if the assigned position has a higher established rate of pay. The supplemental salary cannot be paid in advance or in a lump sum and is not conditional on completion of the full assignment period. Supplemental pay may vary during the assignment period for promotion, performance pay increase, COLA, or pay plan revision, and all or part of such costs may be reimbursed to the agency by the approved organization. The detailed employee's allowances, privileges, rights, seniority, and other benefits are preserved and remain in effect during the assignment. Employee contributions for retirement, Medicare, life insurance, and health benefits are withheld from the employee's pay.

c. LWOP Status - A NIST employee in LWOP status and appointed to an approved organization position receives the appropriate rate of pay for that position. The assignee could receive a higher rate of pay than their federal salary. The employee has the option to retain full retirement credit under the retirement system and to pay the contributions. If the employee elects not to pay contributions while on assignment, foregone contributions cannot be paid retroactively. Both federal disability retirement and an approved organization compensation covering the same period cannot be paid if an employee is injured or disabled while assigned on LWOP. An employee can elect to continue life insurance/health benefits coverage. If an employee elects to be covered under an approved organization's program, the assignee is not entitled to continue coverage under the federal program.

The employee is given an excepted service appointment or assigned by detail to NIST.

a. Detail Status - The employee detailed to NIST remains an employee of the approved organization for most purposes. Employees detailed from State or local Governments or other organizations meet the definition of a Federal employee while on the detail. NIST may agree to reimburse the approved organization for all, part, or none of the costs of the assignment. The assignee is entitled to earn the minimum basic rate of pay which the duties of the assignment position would warrant under applicable classification and pay provisions of NIST. Rate of pay in excess of minimum is negotiable between the parties to the Assignment Agreement. If the assignee's salary is less than the minimum rate of pay for the federal position, NIST must supplement the salary to make up the difference. Supplemental pay cannot be paid in advance or lump sum and is not conditional upon completion of the full assignment period. Supplemental pay may be paid directly to the employee or reimbursed to the approved organization. A person detailed is covered under their permanent employer's leave system.

b. Appointment Status - The employee may be given an excepted appointment for two years without regard to the provisions governing appointment in the competitive service. This appointment may be extended for an additional two years. The assignee is entitled to COLA and other pay differentials and to accumulate and use leave to the same extent as other federal employees. An appointee is not eligible for federal health benefits unless the federal appointment results in loss of coverage under the approved organization's system. An appointee is not covered by any federal retirement or group life insurance programs. If the approved organization fails to continue the employer's contributions for retirement, life insurance, or health benefits, NIST may pay the employer's contributions (or any part of them) during the assignment period. Such contributions are transmitted directly to the organization's system or to the appropriate fund and the appointee must continue contributions to the applicable benefit program.

a. Cost-sharing arrangements are negotiable between the participating organizations and should be based on the extent to which the participating organizations benefit from the assignment. The borrowing organization is usually the principal beneficiary. NIST must determine the principal purpose(s) of the assignment and use this as the primary basis for cost-sharing. NIST may agree to pay all, part, or none of the costs associated with an assignment. Costs may include employee pay, supplemental pay, fringe benefits, and travel and relocation expenses.

b. Reimbursement may not include general overhead costs. Reimbursement to an approved organization for any indirect or administrative costs associated with an assignment is not authorized. Federal grant funds may be used to support an assignment in whole or in part (concurrence of the funding agency may be needed). The cost center in which charges will accumulate must be cited on the Assignment Agreement.

c. A cost center may be established in either the expense and income series or directly in the source(s) of funds series as negotiated in the Assignment Agreement. One or more direct charge cost centers may be established within the NIST organizational unit depending on the cost sharing arrangements agreed upon with the sponsoring organization. Overheads will not be charged regardless of the cost center series used. Enter the words "IPA Agreement: All overheads must be excluded" in the Remarks section of Form NIST 630.

d. To establish an expense and income cost center, the organizational unit must submit a copy of the approved Assignment Agreement along with Form NIST-630 and Form NIST-607, Request for Authorization of an Expense and Income Cost Center, in accordance with procedures for establishing a cost center.

e. To establish an STRS or ITS cost center, the OU sends a copy of the approved Assignment Agreement along with Form NIST-630 to the Budget Office.

f. To establish a nonfederal government cost center, the OU sends a copy of the approved Assignment Agreement along with Form NIST-630 to the Office of the Comptroller.

a. NIST may use its appropriations to pay or reimburse a federal, state, or local government employee for authorized expenses in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.

b. NIST is authorized to pay for either relocation expenses (except house-hunting trips and selling or purchasing a residence) to and from the assignment location or a per diem allowance at the assignment location during the period of assignment. Per diem authorizations at the assignment location cover only the individual under the Assignment Agreement. NIST may select either of these approaches but cannot pay both types of costs. The cost to government should be a major factor taken into account when determining which approach will be used. A per diem allowance is intended for short-term assignments. Per diem allowances should not be paid for more than one year.

c. NIST may pay full per diem for the first thirty days. Beginning with the thirty-first day, NIST may pay a reduced per diem. Reimbursement may be computed based on the other organization's rules, but the total amount may not exceed the total amount allowable under Federal Travel Regulations.

d. A NIST employee on an assignment may receive only those travel and relocation expenses authorized by the Assignment Agreement and Federal Travel Regulations. An approved organization may be reimbursed only for travel expenses in accordance with applicable Federal Travel Regulations. Reimbursement of travel expenses in connection with relocation may be allowed only if the employee agrees in writing, by signing Form CD-150, to serve the entire period of the assignment or one year, whichever is shorter.

Both the per diem allowance authorized at the assignment location and the per diem allowance while traveling on official business may be paid concurrently as long as the limit for daily per diem allowances is observed.

A NIST organizational unit interested in participating in an IPA program, whether involving a NIST or non-NIST employee, should discuss intellectual property options with the NIST Deputy Chief Counsel.

a. Any significant changes in an employee's duties, responsibilities, salary, work assignment, location, or supervisory relationships should be reported to OHRM as a modification to the Assignment Agreement.

b. An Assignment Agreement which is modified, extended, or terminated before the original completion date must be submitted to OHRM. All submissions are due within 30 days after the Assignment Agreement extension, termination, or modification is signed.

c. Copies of the modification should be distributed as outlined in paragraph 10.06.09(12).

a. An assignment may be terminated at any time at the option of NIST or the approved organization. Where possible, the party terminating the Assignment Agreement before the original completion date should give a thirty-day notice to all parties involved, citing the reasons for the termination.

b. OHRM may direct termination of an Assignment Agreement or take other corrective actions when assignments are found to violate the requirements of the Assignment Agreement or program regulations.

c. An Agreement Assignment must be terminated immediately whenever the participating employee is no longer employed by their original employer, regardless of how the employee was assigned.

d. Copies of the termination should be distributed as outlined in Section 10.06.09(12).

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