U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 18, 2024

§ 842.901 - Applicability and purpose.

(a) This subpart contains regulations of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to supplement—

(1) 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) and (e), which establish special retirement eligibility for law enforcement officers, members of the Capitol Police and Supreme Court Police, firefighters, nuclear materials couriers, customs and border protection officers, and air traffic controllers employed under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS);

(2) 5 U.S.C. 8422(a), pertaining to deductions;

(3) 5 U.S.C. 8423(a), pertaining to Government contributions; and

(4) 5 U.S.C. 8425,pertaining.

(b) The regulations in this subpart are issued pursuant to the authority given to OPM in 5 U.S.C. 8461(g) to prescribe regulations to carry out the provisions of 5 U.S.C. chapter 84, in 5 U.S.C. 1104 to delegate authority for personnel management to the heads of agencies and pursuant to the authority given the Director of OPM in section 535(d) of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008, Division E of Public Law 110-161, 121 Stat. 1844.

[76 FR 42000, July 18, 2011]

§ 842.902 - Definitions.

Agency head means the Secretary of Energy. For purposes of this subpart, agency head is also deemed to include the designated representative of the Secretary of Energy, except that the designated representative must be a department headquarters-level official who reports directly to the Secretary of Energy, or to the Deputy Secretary of Energy, and who is the sole such representative for the entire department.

Employee means an employee as defined by 5 U.S.C. 8401(11).

Nuclear materials courier means an employee of the Department of Energy, the duties of whose position are primarily to transport, and provide armed escort and protection during transit of, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon components, strategic quantities of special nuclear materials or other materials related to national security, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred directly to a supervisory or administrative position within the same Department of Energy organization, after performing this activity for at least 3 years. (See 5 U.S.C. 8331(27).)

Primary duties means those duties of a position that—

(1)(i) Are paramount in influence or weight; that is, constitute the basic reasons for the existence of the position;

(ii) Occupy a substantial portion of the individual's working time over a typical work cycle; and

(iii) Are assigned on a regular and recurring basis.

(2) Duties that are of an emergency, incidental, or temporary nature cannot be considered “primary” even if they meet the substantial portion of time criterion. In general, if an employee spends an average of at least 50 percent of his or her time performing a duty or group of duties, they are his or her primary duties.

Primary position means a position that is in an organization of the Department of Energy and whose primary duties are to transport, and provide armed escort and protection during transit of, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon components, strategic quantities of special nuclear materials or other materials related to national security.

Secondary position means a position that—

(1) Is clearly in the nuclear materials transportation field;

(2) Is in an organization of the Department of Energy having a nuclear materials transportation mission; and

(3) Is either—

(i) Supervisory; that is, a position whose primary duties are as a first-level supervisor of nuclear materials couriers in primary positions; or

(ii) Administrative; that is, an executive, managerial, technical, semiprofessional, or professional position for which experience in a primary nuclear materials courier position is a prerequisite.

§ 842.903 - Conditions for coverage in primary positions.

(a) An employee's service in a position that has been determined by the Secretary of the Department of Energy to be a primary nuclear materials courier position is covered under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).

(b) An employee who is not in a primary position, nor covered while in a secondary position, and who is detailed or temporarily promoted to a primary position is not covered under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).

§ 842.904 - Conditions for coverage in secondary positions.

(a) An employee's service in a position that has been determined by the Secretary of the Department of Energy to be a secondary nuclear materials courier position following 3 years of service in a primary nuclear materials courier position is covered under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) if all of the following criteria are met:

(1) The employee is transferred directly (i.e., without a break in service exceeding 3 days) from a primary position to a secondary position; and

(2) If applicable, the employee has been continuously employed in secondary positions since transferring from a primary position without a break in service exceeding 3 days, except that a break in employment in secondary positions which begins with an involuntary separation (not for cause), within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 8414(b)(1)(A), is not considered in determining whether the service in secondary positions is continuous for this purpose.

(b) An employee who is not in a primary position, nor covered while in a secondary position, and who is detailed or temporarily promoted to a secondary position is not covered under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).

§ 842.905 - Evidence.

(a) The Secretary of Energy's determination under § 842.903 that a position is a primary position must be based solely on the official position description of the position in question, and any other official description of duties and qualifications. The official documentation for the position must establish that it satisfies the requirements defined in § 842.902.

(b) A determination under § 842.904 must be based on the official position description and any other evidence deemed appropriate by the agency head for making the determination.

(c) If an employee is in a position not subject to the one-half percent higher withholding rate of 5 U.S.C. 8422(a)(3), and the employee does not, within 6 months after entering the position or after any significant change in the position, formally and in writing seek a determination from the employing agency that his or her service is properly covered by the higher withholding rate, the agency head's determination that the service was not so covered at the time of the service is presumed to be correct. This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee was unaware of his or her status or was prevented by cause beyond his or her control from requesting that the official status be changed at the time the service was performed.

§ 842.906 - Requests from individuals.

(a) An employee who requests credit for service under 5 U.S.C. 8412(d) bears the burden of proof with respect to that service, and must provide the employing agency with all pertinent information regarding duties performed.

(b) An employee who is currently serving in a position that has not been approved as a primary or secondary position, but who believes that his or her service is creditable as service in a primary or secondary position may request the agency head to determine whether or not the employee's current service should be credited and, if it qualifies, whether it should be credited as service in a primary or secondary position. A written request for current service must be made within 6 months after entering the position or after any significant change in the position.

(c) A current or former employee (or the survivor of a former employee) who believes that a period of past service in an unapproved position qualifies as service in a primary or secondary position and meets the conditions for credit may request the agency head to determine whether or not the employee's past service should be credited and, if it qualifies, whether it should be credited as service in a primary or secondary position. A written request for past service must be made no later than December 31, 2000.

(d) The agency head may extend the time limit for filing under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section when, in the judgment of such agency head, the individual shows that he or she was prevented by circumstances beyond his or her control from making the request within the time limit.

§ 842.907 - Withholding and contributions.

(a) During service covered under the conditions established by § 842.903 (a) or (b), the Department of Energy will deduct and withhold from the employee's base pay the amounts required under 5 U.S.C. 8422(a)(3) and submit that amount to OPM in accordance with payroll office instructions issued by OPM.

(b) During service described in paragraph (a) of this section, the employing agency must submit to OPM the Government contributions required under 5 U.S.C. 8423(a) in accordance with payroll office instructions issued by OPM.

(c) If the correct withholding and/or Government contributions are not timely submitted to OPM for any reason whatsoever, including cases in which it is finally determined that past service of a current or former employee was subject to the higher deduction and Government contribution rates, the employing agency must correct the error by submitting the correct amounts (including both employee and agency shares) to OPM as soon as possible. Even if the agency waives collection of the overpayment of pay under any waiver authority that may be available for this purpose, such as 5 U.S.C. 5584,or,the.

(d) Upon proper application from an employee, former employee or eligible survivor of a former employee, an employing agency or former employing agency will pay a refund of erroneous additional withholdings for service that is found not to have been covered service. If an individual has paid to OPM a deposit or redeposit, including the additional amount required for covered service, and the deposit is later determined to be erroneous because the service was not covered service, OPM will pay the refund, upon proper application, to the individual, without interest.

(e) The additional employee withholding and agency contributions for covered service properly made are not separately refundable, even in the event that the employee or his or her survivor does not qualify for a special annuity computation under 5 U.S.C. 8415(d).

(f) While an employee who does not hold a primary or secondary position is detailed or temporarily promoted to such a position, the additional withholdings and agency contributions will not be made.

(g) While an employee who holds a primary or secondary position is detailed or temporarily promoted to a position that is not a primary or secondary position, the additional withholdings and agency contributions will continue to be made.

§ 842.908 - Mandatory separation.

(a) Effective on and after October 17, 1999, the mandatory separation provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8425 apply to all nuclear materials couriers including those in secondary positions. A mandatory separation under 5 U.S.C. 8425 is not an adverse action under part 752 of this chapter or a removal action under part 359 of this chapter.

(b) Exemptions from mandatory separation are subject to the conditions set forth under 5 U.S.C. 8425. An exemption may be granted at the sole discretion of the head of the employing agency or by the President in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 8425(c).

(c) In the event that an employee is separated mandatorily under 5 U.S.C. 8425,or.S.C. 8412 (d) or (e), and OPM finds that all or part of the minimum service required for entitlement to immediate annuity was in a position that did not meet the requirements of a primary or secondary position and the conditions set forth in this subpart or, if applicable, in part 831 of this chapter, such separation will be considered erroneous.

§ 842.909 - Review of decisions.

The following decisions may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board under procedures prescribed by the Board:

(a) The final decision of the Department of Energy issued to an employee, former employee, or survivor as the result of a request for determination filed under § 842.906; and

(b) The final decision of the Department of Energy that a break in service referred to in § 842.904(a)(2) did not begin with an involuntary separation within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 8414(b)(1)(A).

§ 842.910 - Oversight of coverage determinations.

(a) Upon deciding that a position is a nuclear materials courier position, the agency head must notify OPM (Attention: Associate Director for Retirement and Insurance) stating the title of each position, the number of incumbents, and whether the position is primary or secondary. The Director of OPM retains the authority to revoke the agency head's determination that a position is a primary or secondary position, or that an individual's service in any other position is creditable under 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).

(b) The Department of Energy must establish a file containing each coverage determination made by the agency head under § 842.903 and § 842.904, and all background material used in making the determination.

(c) Upon request by OPM, the Department of Energy will make available the entire coverage determination file for OPM to audit to ensure compliance with the provisions of this subpart.

(d) Upon request by OPM, the Department of Energy must submit to OPM a list of all covered positions and any other pertinent information requested.