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CPM 2009-11
Office of the Director
United States
Office of Personnel Management
Washington, DC 20415-1000


John Berry

Review of Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentives

This is a follow-up to my May 27, 2009, memorandum to agencies concerning the effective use of recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives (3Rs).  (See CPM 2009-10 at  I informed agencies that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) planned to review agency use of the 3Rs in more detail and may consider further steps to strengthen and improve the administration of the 3Rs program. 

Recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives are important human resources tools that help agencies attract and retain employees for a model civilian workforce.  However, these incentives must be used consistent with the law and OPM’s regulations and paid only when necessary to support agency mission and program needs.  OPM will engage agencies in the following ways to help strengthen the effectiveness of the 3Rs program:

  1. I request each agency review and, if needed, update its 3Rs plans, as well as approval and internal monitoring procedures to ensure they meet the requirements in 5 CFR part 575, subparts A, B, and C.  Please certify that you have completed these actions by signing the attached certification form and submitting it to your OPM Human Capital Officer within 45 days from the date of this memorandum.
  2. I request the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council establish a work group to develop recommendations for improving the administration and oversight of the 3Rs authorities with a special emphasis on developing approaches for measuring the cost-benefit of the 3Rs program to the Government.  As part of this cost-benefit analysis, I ask the work group to evaluate what the impact would be on recruitment and retention efforts if agencies were to scale back their funding of the 3Rs.  The purpose of this evaluation is to improve our understanding of the return on investment we obtain when we use these discretionary authorities.  I will ask the work group to report back to the full CHCO Council as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days from the date of this memorandum.
  3. OPM will provide information on the results of our detailed review on the use of the 3Rs in agencies where the incentives are paid most often and the metrics we used in our analysis to the CHCO Council during an upcoming meeting.  The information we share may be helpful as agencies review and strengthen their own 3Rs programs and identify ways to improve the administration and oversight of the 3Rs authorities.

If in your work you detect any potential improprieties in the oversight or use of this incentive program, I ask you to please flag them immediately to OPM.  I understand and appreciate the time and effort these actions will take.  However, this special review of the 3Rs program is essential to ensure these incentives are paid appropriately and are cost effective.  I anticipate preparing and sharing a report of the results of all actions with the Executive Office of the President.

Additional Information

Additional information and instructions on the actions requested are found in the attachment to this memorandum.  Please also consult OPM’s regulations at 5 CFR part 575, subparts A, B, and C, and Web guidance at for further information and complete details on the 3Rs program.  If you have questions or need additional information, please contact your OPM Human Capital Officer.  Employees should contact their agency’s human resources offices for assistance.


cc:  Human Resources Directors


Certification of Agency Review of
Recruitment, Relocation, and Retention Incentive Plans

Please read the information below and check one of the two boxes to certify your agency’s review of its recruitment, relocation, and retention incentive (3Rs) plans.  Sign and date the form and provide the contact information requested below.  This certification form must be signed by the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), Human Resources Director, or an official at your agency’s headquarters level who is authorized to sign on behalf of the CHCO or HR Director.  (Each agency should submit only one certification form.)  Email a copy of the completed certification form to your agency’s U.S. Office of Personnel Management Human Capital Officer.

My agency has reviewed and updated, as needed, its recruitment, relocation, and retention incentive (3Rs) plans required by 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754 and its 3Rs approval and internal monitoring procedures. Our plans and procedures meet the requirements in 5 CFR part 575, subparts A, B, and C.
My agency does not have the 3Rs plans required by 5 U.S.C. 5753 and 5754 because (check any of following that apply)—

  • My agency does not use the 3Rs authorities.
  • My agency or employees are not covered by the 3Rs authorities.
  • My agency has independent authority to make recruitment, relocation, and retention payments.

Certifying Official

Signature______________________________________            Date______________

Name [printed] ____________________________________________

Title _____________________________________________________


Agency Contact Point



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