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Training and Development Training & Development FAQs

  • Agencies are authorized to pay or reimburse an employee for all or part of necessary expenses incurred for training (5 U.S.C. 4109, 4110, and 5 CFR 410.403). Training expenses may include:
    • Course or workshop registration fee
    • Purchase or rental of books, magazines, and other materials
    • Professional certifications, licenses, and certificates
    • Laboratory and library services
    • Conference registration fees
    For more information on training expenses, go to pp. 22-27 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • An academic degree program is part of a planned, systemic and coordinated agency employee development program linked to accomplishing the strategic goals of the agency, meeting an identified agency training need or accomplishing goals in the strategic plan. Employees must undergo a competitive process, consistent with 5 CFR 410.308(c), before selection to an academic degree program.  Agencies should only establish academic degree programs under the conditions of 5 U.S.C 4107. Agencies may NOT select employees for academic degrees for the sole purpose of providing the degree or to qualify for appointment to a position where the academic degree is a basic requirement.   Tuition assistance programs, including individual courses, are NOT considered part of an agency’s academic degree program. Within a tuition assistance program, agencies pay for individual courses/classes. Employees are not required to undergo a competitive process. Supervisors should adhere to the definition of training (5 U.S.C 4101(4)) when choosing which classes/courses to pay for. For more information on academic degree programs and tuition assistance, go to pp. 17-21 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • No.  It’s up to the agency to establish the number of supervisory training hours considering the needs of the supervisor/s. By regulations, agencies are required (under 5 CFR 412.202) to provide:
    • Initial supervisory training within one year of the new supervisor’s appointment
    • Retraining at least once every three years
    • Training on mentoring employees
    • Training on improving employees’ performance and productivity
    • Training on conducting performance appraisals; and
    • Training on identifying and assisting employees with unacceptable performance
    Agencies must also provide training when employees make critical career transitions, for example, from a non-supervisory to a supervisory position.  Most agencies offer additional training to new supervisors on topics such as:
    • Recruiting and Hiring
    • EEO
    • Working with Leave
    • Developing Others
    • Strategic Leadership
    • Prohibited personnel practices
    • Diversity and inclusion
    • Reasonable accommodation
    • Labor and employee relations
    • Union participation rights
    • Collective bargaining agreements
    • Financial management
    • Upper management expectations         
    • Key leadership competencies from OPM’s Leadership Journey Models, including continual learning, integrity/honesty, interpersonal skills, oral communication, public service motivation, and written communication
    You should include guidance on Supervisory Training in your agency training policy manuals. For more information on supervisory training, go to pp. 42-45 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, 5 U.S.C. 5757 allows agencies to pay for professional credentials including professional certification. For more information on certifications, go to p. 60 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • The intent of the SF-182 is to approve and record completion of employee training—not for use as a procurement document.   However, agencies that choose to use the SF-182 to procure training should consult with the agency contracting office for agency specific policies on the use of SF182 as a training procurement option.  You should include guidance on use of the SF-182 as a procurement document in your agency training policy manual.  For more information on procurement and the SF-182, go to pp. 15 and 16 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, those agencies covered under the Government Employee Training Act still operate under the Act. The following types of government agencies operate under the provisions of GETA (5 U.S.C. 4101) -an Executive Branch department, independent establishments, government corporations, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office. Among the agencies that are NOT covered by GETA are privately held corporations supervised by the Farm Credit Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Postal Service (5 U.S.C. 4102). For more information on agencies covered under GETA and Chapter 41 of title 5, go to pp. 8 and 9 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • There is no regulatory requirement for IDPs. However, it is good management practice, and many agencies already require their employees to have an IDP.  In addition, many employee development programs require participants complete IDPs as part of the program (e.g. PMF program, SES CDP program) OPM has an IDP wiki page on the OPM Training and Development wiki. The wiki page provides examples of agencies IDP policies and templates. All Senior Executives are required in 5 CFR 412.401 to have an Executive Development Plan (EDP). You should include guidance on use of IDPs in your agency training policy manual. For more information on EDPs, go to p. 49 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • Yes, the SSN is PII information; however, we ask that agencies submit SSN and DOB for each training event so that we can uniquely identify the employee for record maintenance, training reporting, etc.
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  • Yes.  An agency can pay for training for a political appointee.  Supervisors of political appointees must approve training for these employees when it:
    • Meets the definition of training in 5 USC chapter 41, and
    • Will provide a demonstrable return to the department/agency during the tenure of the employee.
    Political appointees may not participate in academic degree programs (5 USC 4107(b)(3)).
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  • The limit for purchasing services and goods (including training) with a credit card is normally $3000; however, procurement policies differ among agencies due to their varying missions. Agencies should consult with the agency contracting office for agency specific policies on purchasing training with a credit card. You should include guidance on purchasing training with a credit card in your agency training policy manual. For more information procurement, go to pp. 15 and 16 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Agencies should conduct a needs assessment before establishing any training and development program. Agencies are required to periodically assess (at minimum annually) the overall agency talent management program to identify training needs (5 CFR 410.201(4)).  The purpose of conducting a needs assessment is to identify performance requirements and competencies needed by the agency in order to achieve the agency mission (5 CFR 410.201(d)).  Training Needs Assessments identify “gaps” in performance required and current performance.   For more information on Training Needs Assessments, go to p. 13 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Agencies may adjust an employee’s normal work schedule for educational purposes to allow employees to attend a college or university course (5 CFR 610.122). For more information on adjustment of work schedules, go to p. 19 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • If an employee pays for training that occurs during work hours, the employee may either: (1) Request the supervisor consider the time in training as “hours of work” (5 CFR 551.423).  The employee does not use leave if he or she is in a work status. If the training relates to the employee’s job, the supervisor may agree to the employee being in a work status to attend.   (2) Request the supervisor approve annual leave to attend the training.  If the training does not relate to the employees job, the supervisor may not agree to the employee being in a work status to attend. For more information on training expenses, go to pp. 22-27 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, Comptroller General Decisions B-233243, B-213141- O.M., and B-321296 determined that agencies may use current fiscal year’s funds to pay for training in the next fiscal year, if the training is deemed a bona fide need. In order to classify as a bona fide need, the training must meet the following requirements:
    1. The training provider requires the agency to register during the expiring fiscal year;
    2. There is only one date offered; and
    3. The time between registration and the training is not excessive.
    For more information on carrying over fiscal year funds, go to p. 27 of the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • You may not need to evaluate every course or program. To determine whether or not to evaluate a particular course or program, consider the following: Is the program/course important or significant enough to warrant evaluation?
    • Is there a legal requirement to carry out a program evaluation?
    • Will the results of the evaluation influence decision-making about the program/course?
    • Will the evaluation answer questions posed by your stakeholders or those interested in the evaluation?
    You should evaluate those courses or programs where you answer “yes” for one or more of these questions. Agencies are required to evaluate their training programs annually (5 CFR 410.202).  For more information on training evaluation, go to pp. 33 and 34 in the Training Policy Handbook. You may also reference the Training Evaluation Field Guide on OPM’s website and OPM’s Training and Development wiki. 
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  • If the employee’s supervisor does not approve the training, the supervisor can choose not to modify the employee’s work schedule to accommodate the coursework. Please see OPM’s website regarding scheduling and approving Annual Leave: http://www.opm.gov/OCA/LEAVE/HTML/ANNUAL.asp You will find that supervisors are ultimately responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and approving of their employees' annual leave so that the agency's mission and employees' needs are met. A supervisor has the right to approve or deny any request for leave. For more information on work schedules, go to pp. 30-32 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • The Government Employees Training Act (GETA) became law in 1958 giving Federal agencies general authority for employee training.  Under GETA agencies manage their own training, determine their own training needs, and select and fund training to meet those needs.    GETA is codified in Chapter 41 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.). We are often asked where employees can access GETA funds.  There is no central GETA fund. Agencies must use their own appropriated training funds to pay for agency training programs.  For more information on GETA and Chapter 41 of title 5, go to pp. 6-11 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • It is up to the agency to allow or not allow non-supervisory employees to attend training designated specifically for supervisors.  Some agencies limit attendance to supervisors based on the content and need.  For instance, if a supervisor would feel more comfortable discussing topics solely with other supervisors, then an agency might limit attendance.  In addition, some agencies open attendance to non-supervisory employees based on space availability, and often it is limited to employees in the team leader role. For more information on supervisory training, go to pp. 42-45 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • Yes, if an agency requires a CSA, an employee must enter into a CSA in writing before the training begins (5 U.S.C. 4108(a) and 5 CFR 410.309(b)). A Continued Service Agreement (5 U.S.C. 4108 and 5 CFR 410.309) is a written agreement between the employee selected for training and the sponsoring Federal agency.  In the agreement, the employee agrees to (1)continue in the service of his agency after the end of the training period for at least three times the length of the training, and (2) pay to the Government incurred training expenses if he is voluntarily separated before the period of service ends.  You should include guidance on CSAs in your agency training policy manual. For more information on CSAs, go to pp. 21 and 22 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • There is no regulatory requirement that says an employee is obligated to participate in the entire training.  However, 5 CFR 410.405 states, “the head of an agency shall establish such procedures as he or she considers necessary to protect the Government’s interest when employees fail to complete, or to successfully complete, training for which the agency pays the expenses”.  It is up to the agency to develop and communicate such policies and procedures to employees before the training event.
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  • Agencies should electronically report training data to OPM on a monthly basis. For more information on reporting training data, go to pp. 34-37 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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  • If the agency approves the training, the time spent in training during regular working hours is considered hours of work (5 CFR 551.423).  The employee does not use leave if he or she is in a work status.  For more information on work schedules, go to pp. 30-32 in the Training Policy Handbook.
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  • There are 27 data elements that agencies are required to report.  Section III of the Guide to the Collection and Management of Training Data, lists the required data elements. Additional information about the data elements can be found in Table 3-I of the Guide to Personnel Recordkeeping, (www.opm.gov/feddata/persdoc.asp) and in Chapter 4 and Appendix A of the Guide to Human Resources Reporting, (www.opm.gov/feddata/guidance.asp). For more information on reporting training data, go to pp. 34-37 in the Training Policy Handbook. 
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