OPM officials reminded agencies in a Thursday memo to implement a series of pay provisions enacted in the fiscal 2024 NDAA.

OPM officials reminded agencies in a Thursday memo to implement a series of pay provisions enacted in the fiscal 2024 NDAA. AndreyPopov / Getty Images

OPM reminds agencies of pay provisions in 2024 NDAA

The most recent iteration of the annual defense policy bill extends a number of temporary pay and benefits provisions for both civilian and military service members and allows veteran feds to credit active duty service toward paid parental leave requirements.

The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday sent a reminder to federal agencies about a number of provisions affecting the pay and benefits of federal workers and military service members included in the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.

The annual defense policy bill’s status as a must-pass piece of legislation means that it frequently serves as a vehicle for extending temporary programs and adding new government-wide policies related to the federal workforce’s pay and benefits. Paid parental leave for federal workers was enacted via the NDAA in 2019.

In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja highlighted the extension of several pay and leave provisions in the most recent NDAA. Additionally, the law included a tweak to the federal government’s fledgling paid parental leave program, which offers federal workers up to 12 weeks per year of paid leave upon the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, provided the employee has completed a year of service.

That change—allowing federal employees who are veterans to count active-duty service toward the 12 months of employment required to access parental leave through the Family Medical Leave Act—was first outlined by OPM in February.

“To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have completed 12 months of qualifying service,” Ahuja wrote. “Under the amended section [of the law], the qualifying service may be service (1) as an employee of the government of the United States, including service within the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission and a nonappropriated fund instrumentality . . . or (2) which qualifies as honorable active military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force or Marine Corps of the United States. The qualifying civilian service and qualifying military service are combined in applying the 12-month service requirement.”

The provision also applies to eligibility for FMLA parental bereavement leave, Ahuja wrote.

The law also exempts nonappropriated fund employees under military jurisdiction from federal dual pay limitations, which generally bar employees from holding two federal jobs at once.

“In applying the dual pay limitations, agencies should not consider basic pay for hours worked by employees in [nonappropriated fund instrumentality] positions under the jurisdiction of the armed forces,” Ahuja wrote. “This change allows a covered NAFI employee who is also employed in a dual pay covered position to receive pay for both positions for work exceeding an aggregate of 40 hours per week, despite the general prohibition.”

The list of temporary policies affecting federal pay that were extended in the law is extensive. The fiscal 2024 NDAA extends the Reserve Income Replacement Program, in which some reservists may receive income replacement payments if they experience “extended and frequent” mobilization to active-duty service, until the end of this year.

Another provision given a one-year extension is the temporary authority for agencies to grant allowances, benefits and gratuities to civilian federal workers working on official business in a combat zone. That program now is set to expire Sept. 30, 2025.

And the law contains a one-year extension—until Dec. 31—of a waiver on the annual premium pay and aggregate pay limits for some civilian federal employees working overseas. Though each agency is responsible for developing its own policy governing this program, the Defense and State departments and OPM have jointly developed a document to guide officials through the process.