AI is being implemented across all industries today as evidenced by the huge growth in most tech stocks over the past year. It is becoming a larger part of all that we do. These incentives are in addition to the exceptional benefits offered to those who work for the federal government.

The President signed Executive Order (EO) 14110 titled, “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence on October 30, 2023. This order directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take a number of actions to increase AI talent in the federal government within 120 days of the date of this order.

OPM Memorandum

A memorandum of instruction was released February 27 to provide guidance for agencies on pay flexibility, incentive pay, and leave and workforce flexibility programs for AI, AI enabling, and other key technical employees.

Agencies can use most of the flexibilities and authorities summarized in this guidance without OPM approval.

Pay and Retention Incentives

Agencies have considerable discretionary authority to use a variety of pay flexibility, incentive pay, and leave and workforce flexibility programs to support their recruitment, relocation, and retention efforts for AI, AI-enabling, and other key technical employees.

Recruitment Incentives

Agencies may offer newly appointed employees in difficult-to-fill positions up to 25 percent of basic pay multiplied by the number of years in the service agreement (up to 4 years).

This is a substantial bonus when you consider that a GS-11, Step 1 hired in Richmond, Virginia starts with an annual salary of $75,715. If he/she signs a 4-year service agreement their bonus would equal $75,715!

Relocation Incentives

Agencies may offer current employees who must relocate to difficult-to-fill positions up to 25 percent of basic pay multiplied by the number of years in the service agreement (up to 4 years).

This is in addition to full relocation costs that are paid under a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.  The government pays closing costs for your new home mortgage, additional leave for the relocation, plus they pay all transportation costs for your personal effects!

Retention Incentives

Agencies may offer highly qualified employees or employees filling a special agency need who are likely to leave the Federal service up to 25 percent of basic pay for an individual or 10 percent for a group.

Student Loan Repayment Program

Agencies may repay Federally insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of the agency, up to a maximum of $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year and a total of not more than $60,000 for any one employee.

Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay-Setting Authority

Agencies may set a new General Schedule (GS) employee’s pay above step 1 (up to step 10), because of the employee’s superior qualifications or the agency’s special need of the candidate’s services.

Maximum Payable Rate Rule

Agencies may set pay at a higher-than-normal GS rate based on a higher rate of pay the employee previously received in another Federal job (not to exceed step 10 of their grade).

Other incentives include certain special rates, critical position pay, and waivers of recruitment, relocation, and retention incentive payment limits.

Leave and Workforce Flexibilities

In addition to pay and retention incentives, many agencies are offering Alternative Work Schedules (AWS), Telework, and Remote Work. All of these incentives together offer current employees and new recruit’s options that are not available to most in either the private or public sectors.

Getting a Job With the U.S. Federal Government

There are abundant federal job opportunities in most occupational groups across America and worldwide. The pay and benefits are exceptional and the federal government is the largest employer in this country. In 2023, including postal workers, 86,000 federal jobs were filled, and in January of 2024 there were 11,000 new federal hires.

It should be noted that most of the incentives listed above have been available in the federal sector for decades. Any job that is hard to fill typically offers some incentives and new hires, before accepting an offer, should explore all that may apply, including the lucrative student loan assistance that is available.

You won’t find a more accommodating employer with the potential for AWS, telework, and remote work options, especially in the automation and technical fields. Search USAJOBs for openings in your field.

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Dennis V. Damp, the creator of and, is a retired federal manager, business owner, career counselor and veteran. Damp is the author of 28 books, his books were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and U.S. News & World Report.