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Deployment Pay and Incentives

The USACE mission to Support the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) is unprecedented in size and scope. USACE plays a large role in rebuilding Iraq's and Afghanistan’s infrastructures.

We have deployed approximately 9000 civilian employees to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, and more are deploying every week to fill positions critical to the success of our missions.

This article, with the accompanying chart, details the additional compensation and benefits that civilians can expect if they volunteer for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The information contained in this article and chart are current as of 1 June 2010, and are updated periodically.

Current Federal employees may be placed in a Temporary Duty (TDY) status for up to one year.  Employees may receive temporary, non-competitive promotions not to exceed 120 days or they may apply for longer-term promotions for longer tours.

Most current Federal employees who are TDY in Iraq or Afghanistan are temporarily reassigned from their home stations to the Transatlantic Division (TAD).  While in TDY status and assigned to TAD, an employee’s duty station remains the same and base and locality pay are not affected. This link will help you find your locality pay chart: http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/indexGS.asp

For longer tours of duty, current Federal employees may serve in Iraq or Afghanistan on a Temporary Change of Station (TCS) either six months or one year long. Unlike TDY, employees who opt for a TCS do not receive locality pay for the period of time they are on assignment, and will only receive the basic pay for their position as determined by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). This link will take you to the basic pay chart:  http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/html/gs.asp

Due to the nature of the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, additional compensation is also given to staff that serve there.

Employees who are hired from outside the Federal government (i.e., not current Federal employees) are eligible for many of the same benefits and entitlements as current Federal employees.  However, the tour lengths and entitlements are dependent on the country to which the employee is deployed.  Questions on benefits for employees outside the Federal government will be explained in detail at the time a tentative job offer is made.

Information

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Employees who serve on an overseas TCS assignment may accrue and carry over up to 45 days (360 hours) of annual leave each leave year. While they may carry this amount over from year-to-year for the remainder of their careers, once they drop below this number, that new amount becomes the maximum leave carryover.  

GENERAL SCHEDULE CIVILIAN PAY AND ALLOWANCE ENTITLEMENTS

 

                                                              TDY (Any length)

Nine Month TCS

One Year TCS

 

Pay or Allowance Entitlement

Basic General Pay Schedule, including Locality Pay

Basic General Pay Schedule without Locality Pay

Basic General Pay Schedule without Locality Pay

 

Overtime (All are exempt from FLSA under the foreign exemption rule)

1.5 x GS-10/1 or regular hourly rate, whichever is greater; below GS-10, 1.5 x regular hourly rate

Same

Same

 

Holiday Pay

2 x hourly rate for regularly scheduled hours

Same

Same

 

Post Differential*

After 42 consecutive days in country, Currently 35% of Base Pay (includes locality pay) for basic 40-hour workweek, retroactive to the 1st day

Currently 35% of Basic Pay (no locality pay) for basic 40-hour workweek, effective after one day in country

Currently 35% of Basic Pay (no locality pay) for basic 40-hour workweek, effective after one day in country

 

Danger Pay

In effect from 1st day, Currently 35% of Base Pay (includes locality pay) for 40 Hour workweek

In effect from 1st day, Currently 35% of Basic Pay (no locality pay) for basic 40-hour workweek

In effect from 1st day, Currently 35% of Basic Pay (no locality pay) for basic 40-hour workweek

 

Promotions

Opportunities must be applied for by interested parties

Opportunities must be applied for by interested parties

Opportunities must be applied for by interested parties

 

Night Shift Differential

10% for all regularly scheduled hours from 1800-0600

Same

Same

 

Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA)

None

Annual Rate varies based upon salary and number of family members.  Amount is pro-rated based upon length of tour

Annual Rate varies based upon salary and number of family members.  Amount is pro-rated based upon length of tour

Relocation Incentives

Up to 18.75% of annual salary for a 9 month tour (includes locality pay); 25% of annual for 12-month tour; 12.5% for a 6-month tour (must be approved by TAD Deputy Commander on case-by-case basis).

Up to 18.75% of annual salary (no locality pay)

Up to 25% of annual salary (no locality pay)

Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Leave

Same as TCS  NOTE: Six month tours must be approved by TAD Deputy Commander on a case-by-case basis and received zero R&R trips.

Eligible for 1 R&R trip.  Employees must serve a minimum of 60 days in country to be eligible.

Employees who sign up for 12 consecutive months are eligible for 2 R&R trips within the 12 month service period.  Employees must serve a minimum of 60 days in country to be eligible.

Reintegration Leave

5 days of excused absence with successful completion of at least 6 consecutive months of OCO service.

Same.

 

Same.

Leave Accrual

No change to regular accrual and carryover

Employees may carry up to 360 hours (45 days) of annual leave to next leave year.

Employees may carry up to 360 hours (45 days) of annual leave to next leave year.

Nontemporary Storage (NTS) of Household Goods

None

At government expense. NTS stops at the beginning of the second month upon return to the States.

At government expense. NTS stops at the beginning of the second month upon return to the States.

Transportation of Dependents and Shipment of Household Goods

None

At government expense

At government expense

Annual Premium Pay Waiver (Includes Overtime, Night, Holiday, and Sunday pay)  Eligible employees will be entitled to premium payments to the extent the employee's combined payable amount of basic pay and premium pay for CY 2011 does not exceed the annual rate of the salary payable to the Vice President, which is $230,700 CY 2011. Employees assigned to Iraq and/or Afghanistan for at least 42 consecutive days are deemed to meet the eligibility requirements for the increased premium pay cap effective January 1, 2011. SECARMY has delegated authority to USACE, which has been redelegated to USACE MSC Commanders, to determine when employees not assigned to Iraq/Afghanistan are eligible for the Premium Pay Waiver.  Same Same
Aggregate Pay Limitation (Includes Premium Pay, Basic Pay, Bonuses, etc.)  Eligible employees (see "Premium Pay Waiver" for eligibility standards) are limited to base pay and premium pay payable in CY 2012 not to exceed $230,700 but all other compensation  will be paid as it is earned.  Same Same

NOTES: * After 42 consecutive days in country, pay is retroactive to the 1st day; **Schedule A Appointments of 13-months are eligible for a recruitment incentive of 25% and are eligible for two R&R trips.
Employees are eligible to receive danger pay beginning on the date of arrival in Iraq. The amount is determined by the Department of State, and is currently 35 percent of base pay for a basic 40-hour workweek. It is not earned for overtime or weekends, and is subject to change without notice. This additional compensation counts against the aggregate (higher) annual pay cap.
For purposes of Federal income tax, civilian employees are not entitled to the Combat Zone Tax Exemption (CZTE) of military members. Employees should contact the local Internal Revenue Service's Taxpayer Assistance Center or a tax advisor with questions concerning tax exemptions. DoD, the Department of the Army, and USACE continue to pursue legislation that would give civilian employees serving in combat areas the same tax exemption the military receives under those circumstances.
If a deployed employee's permanent position is exempt from FLSA, that individual continues in that manner for travel, overtime, and other pay entitlements. If an employee's permanent position is a nonexempt position, that individual converts to exempt status for all workweeks spent entirely in an area subject to the foreign exemption.

Being sent to a combat zone does not cancel Federal Employee's Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) coverage. Civilian employees sent to a war zone or combat zone in a support capacity keep their FEGLI coverage, including Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. Being sent to a combat zone does not affect the amount of FEGLI coverage, provided the employee is not engaged in combat. (Combat is not defined as including self-defense.)

 

If a federal employee working in a war zone is killed, regular death benefits are payable to the beneficiaries. In addition, accidental death benefits are also payable under Basic insurance (and Option A, if the employee had that coverage), unless the employee was in actual combat or nuclear weapons were used at the time of death.

 

The Office of Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance decides whether to pay AD&D benefits only after thoroughly studying the facts and documentation surrounding an employee's death and OPM makes such determinations case-by-case. While we cannot say that in 100 percent of civilian deaths AD&D benefits will be payable, it is highly unlikely for a civilian to be in actual combat.

 

If an employee is not covered under FEGLI, and is deployed overseas, there is an opportunity to enroll for Basic FEGLI, plus Option A and/or Option B coverage based on the designation of deployment positions as emergency-essential.

 

If an employee is covered under Basic FEGLI, and is deployed overseas, there is an opportunity to enroll for Option A and/or Option B, or to increase coverage under Option B, based on the emergency-essential designation.

 

Death Gratuity Payment under Section 1105 of Public Law 110-181 - - If a Federal civilian employee dies of injuries incurred in connection with his or her service with an Armed Force in a contingency operation, his or her eligible survivors may receive a death gratuity payment up to $100,000.  The gratuity is a one-time payment disbursed to the highest ranked survivor or survivors of the employee.

Rest and Recuperation Leave (R&R)

 

TDY and TCS: Any Length

Nine Month TDY/TCS: Employees who serve 9 or more months but fewer than 12 months are eligible for 1 R&R trip. Employees must serve a minimum of 60 days in country to be eligible. 

One Year TDY/TCS: Employees who sign up for 12 consecutive months are eligible for 2 R&R trips within the 12 month service period. Employees must serve a minimum of 60 days in country to be eligible. This program provides funded transportation to Frankfurt, Germany; Baltimore, or other R&R destinations only as authorized by the command. Employees are required to pay for travel to all alternate locations.

 

Each of these R&R breaks may include up to 10 workdays of excused absence, not to exceed a total of 20 workdays during any 12 consecutive months.  An employee may use these excused workdays in lieu of leave during his or her travel time to and from his or her duty station and/or while at their R&R break location.  An employee may use any type of approved leave to make up the gap between the total number of calendar days (up to 21) that he/she may be away from his or her duty location for each R&R break (up to 10, not to exceed 20 during any 12 consecutive months).

All benefits and entitlements are subject to change without notice. Information provided on this website is current as of 1 May 2011.

 

Field conditions are the same for civilians as the military personnel, commensurate with grade and rank equivalency as identified in the Geneva Convention.

 

There may be a general lack of privacy and limited opportunity for recreation during non-duty hours.

 

Housing may consist of tents or other communal structures.

 

Rental cars are not normally authorized.

 

Food may be prepackaged rations or served in a military dining facility, which means special diets may be unavailable.

 

Showers may be communal.

 

Military chaplains provide religious services.

General Schedule (GS) employees have an annual limitation on premium pay. Their base salary and premium pay cannot exceed either GS-15, step 10 ((including any applicable locality payment or special rate supplement), or Executive Schedule V (set at $145,700 for 2011), whichever is greater. This category includes only base pay, locality pay, and premium pay as defined above.

 

Additionally, aggregate pay cannot exceed Executive Schedule I in any calendar year ($199,700 for 2011). This category includes all discretionary compensation, such as relocation bonuses, awards, and post allowance.

 

The yearly National Defense Authorization Act normally contains guidance to allow the Secretary of Defense to increase the annual limitation on premium pay.  For CY 2011, the annual premium pay limitation is $230,700.  Employees covered by the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) are also authorized this increase.

The non-traditional work environment in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it more of a challenge to schedule and monitor hours worked by employees.  It is imperative that employees and supervisors schedule work in a manner that does not cause employees to work without compensation.  Even if the limitation on premium pay is increased, employees and their supervisors must be aware of the problems that excessive overtime causes and have plans in place to protect against potential overpayment situations.

Post Differential is designed to provide additional compensation to employees for service at places in foreign areas where conditions of environment differ substantially from conditions in the continental United States. Normally, post differential begins on the date of arrival at post for employees on TCS, and on day 43 of duty for employees on TDY. However, effective March, 23, 2003, employees assigned to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Kuwait for 42 consecutive calendar days or more will receive post differential for the number of days served, beginning with the first day of detail. The amount is also determined by the Department of State, and is also currently 35 percent of base pay for a basic 40-hour workweek, separate from the danger pay mentioned above. It is also not earned for overtime or weekends, and is subject to change without notice.  This additional compensation counts against the aggregate (higher) annual pay cap.

Employees are additionally compensated for time worked outside of their regular shift.

Overtime. Paid for hours authorized and worked in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. For employees in grades 10 and above, the overtime rate is either 1.5 times the GS-10 Step 1 hourly rate, or the employee's hourly rate, whichever is greater. For all others, it is 1.5 times their hourly rate.

Night Differential. Paid for hours regularly scheduled and worked between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The amount is the hourly base salary rate, plus 10 percent.

Holiday Pay. Employees who work on a federal holiday are paid twice their normal salary for the number of hours scheduled in the normal tour of duty.

As of 21 September 2013 returning employees who have successfully completed an OCO assignment of at least 6 consecutive months duration will be provided three (3) days of excused absence (i.e., administrative leave) for the purpose of reintegration.  An employee who has been deployed away from their home station for at least 90 days, but less than 6 months, is covered by the Department of Army Deployment Cycle Support (DCS) Directive of 26 Mar 2007, but is not entitled to the three (3) days of excused time off.
This is an allowance to assist an employee on TCS status who is compelled by reason of dangerous, notably unhealthful, or excessively adverse living conditions at the post of assignment in a foreign area, or for the convenience of the Government, to meet the additional expense of maintaining family members elsewhere than at such post. The amount varies by the number of family members maintained at the location other than the post of TCS assignment. Information regarding the amounts and process for requesting SMA can be found at http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=215&menu_id=81.  Employees deployed under TDY conditions are not eligible for SMA.