United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 02, 2023
Availability pay for criminal investigators
For purposes of this section—
the term “available” refers to the availability of a criminal investigator and means that an investigator shall be considered generally and reasonably accessible by the agency employing such investigator to perform unscheduled duty based on the needs of an agency;
the term “criminal investigator” means a law enforcement officer as defined under section 5541(3) (other than an officer occupying a position under title II of Public Law 99–399, subject to subsection (k)) who is required to—
possess a knowledge of investigative techniques, laws of evidence, rules of criminal procedure, and precedent court decisions concerning admissibility of evidence, constitutional rights, search and seizure, and related issues;
recognize, develop, and present evidence that reconstructs events, sequences and time elements for presentation in various legal hearings and court proceedings;
demonstrate skills in applying surveillance techniques, undercover work, and advising and assisting the United States Attorney in and out of court;
demonstrate the ability to apply the full range of knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for cases which are complex and unfold over a long period of time (as distinguished from certain other occupations that require the use of some investigative techniques in short-term situations that may end in arrest or detention);
possess knowledge of criminal laws and Federal rules of procedure which apply to cases involving crimes against the United States, including—
knowledge of the elements of a crime;
evidence required to prove the crime;
decisions involving arrest authority;
methods of criminal operations; and
availability of detection devices; and
possess the ability to follow leads that indicate a crime will be committed rather than initiate an investigation after a crime is committed;
the term “unscheduled duty” means hours of duty a criminal investigator works, or is determined to be available for work, that are not—
part of the 40 hours in the basic work week of the investigator; or
overtime hours paid under section 5542; and
the term “regular work day” means each day in the investigator’s basic work week during which the investigator works at least 4 hours that are not overtime hours paid under section 5542 or hours considered part of section 5545a.
The purpose of this section is to provide premium pay to criminal investigators to ensure the availability of criminal investigators for unscheduled duty in excess of a 40 hour work week based on the needs of the employing agency.
Each criminal investigator shall be paid availability pay as provided under this section. Availability pay shall be paid to ensure the availability of the investigator for unscheduled duty. The investigator is generally responsible for recognizing, without supervision, circumstances which require the investigator to be on duty or be available for unscheduled duty based on the needs of the agency. Availability pay provided to a criminal investigator for such unscheduled duty shall be paid instead of premium pay provided by other provisions of this subchapter, except premium pay for regularly scheduled overtime work as provided under section 5542, night duty, Sunday duty, and holiday duty.
A criminal investigator shall be paid availability pay, if the average of hours described under paragraph (2)(A) and (B) is equal to or greater than 2 hours.
The hours referred to under paragraph (1) are—
the annual average of unscheduled duty hours worked by the investigator in excess of each regular work day; and
the annual average of unscheduled duty hours such investigator is available to work on each regular work day upon request of the employing agency.
Unscheduled duty hours which are worked by an investigator on days that are not regular work days shall be considered in the calculation of the annual average of unscheduled duty hours worked or available for purposes of certification.
An investigator shall be considered to be available when the investigator cannot reasonably and generally be accessible due to a status or assignment which is the result of an agency direction, order, or approval as provided under subsection (f)(1).
Each criminal investigator receiving availability pay under this section and the appropriate supervisory officer, to be designated by the head of the agency, shall make an annual certification to the head of the agency that the investigator has met, and is expected to meet, the requirements of subsection (d). The head of a law enforcement agency may prescribe regulations necessary to administer this subsection.
Involuntary reduction in pay resulting from a denial of certification under paragraph (1) shall be a reduction in pay for purposes of section 7512(4) of this title.
A criminal investigator who is eligible for availability pay shall receive such pay during any period such investigator is—
attending agency sanctioned training;
on agency approved sick leave or annual leave;
on agency ordered travel status; or
on excused absence with pay for relocation purposes.
Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(A), agencies or departments may provide availability pay to investigators during training which is considered initial, basic training usually provided in the first year of service.
Agencies or departments may provide availability pay to investigators when on excused absence with pay, except as provided in paragraph (1)(D).
Section 5545(c) shall not apply to any criminal investigator who is paid availability pay under this section.
Availability pay under this section shall be—
25 percent of the rate of basic pay for the position; and
treated as part of the basic pay for purposes of—
sections 5595(c), 8114(e), 8331(3), and 8704(c); and
such other purposes as may be expressly provided for by law or as the Office of Personnel Management may by regulation prescribe.
The provisions of subsections (a)–(h) providing for availability pay shall apply to any employee of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, or any successor organization, who is a law enforcement officer as defined under section 5541(3). For the purpose of this section, section 5542(d) of this title, and section 13(a)(16) and (b)(30) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 213(a)(16) and (b)(30)), such employee shall be deemed to be a criminal investigator as defined in this section. The Office of Personnel Management may prescribe regulations to carry out this subsection.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any Office of Inspector General which employs fewer than 5 criminal investigators may elect not to cover such criminal investigators under this section.
For purposes of this section, the term “criminal investigator” includes a special agent occupying a position under title II of Public Law 99–399 if such special agent—
meets the definition of such term under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) (applied disregarding the parenthetical matter before subparagraph (A) thereof); and
such special agent satisfies the requirements of subsection (d) without taking into account any hours described in paragraph (2)(B) thereof.
In applying subsection (h) with respect to a special agent under this subsection—
any reference in such subsection to “basic pay” shall be considered to include amounts designated as “salary”;
paragraph (2)(A) of such subsection shall be considered to include (in addition to the provisions of law specified therein) sections 609(b)(1), 805, 806, and 856 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980; and
paragraph (2)(B) of such subsection shall be applied by substituting for “Office of Personnel Management” the following: “Office of Personnel Management or the Secretary of State (to the extent that matters exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Secretary are concerned)”.
(Added Pub. L. 103–329, title VI, § 633(b)(1),
Sept. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 2425; amended Pub. L. 104–19, title I, §§ 901, 902(a), July 27, 1995, 109 Stat. 230; Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, § 101(f) [title VI, § 659 [title II, § 206(b)(2)]], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–314, 3009–372, 3009–378; Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, § 101(b) [title IV, § 407(a), (c)(1)], div. G, subdiv. B, title XXIII, § 2316(a), (c)(1), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–50, 2681–101, 2681–102, 2681–828; Pub. L. 114–250, § 1(a), Dec. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 1001.)
cite as: 5 USC 5545a