U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Variations to Compensation

Nature and Purpose of a Variation

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is authorized by rule V [5 CFR 5.1] to permit a variation (i.e., an exception) from the strict letter of its regulations whenever compliance with them would impose practical difficulties and unnecessary hardship and when no other remedy exists within the regulations. A variation may be granted if it is within the spirit of the regulations and would promote the efficiency of the Government and the integrity of the competitive service. Erroneous advice or actions by an agency do not, by themselves, justify the granting of a variation of a pay-setting rule. Generally, a variation is not granted where the rule at issue clearly and specifically establishes how an employee's pay is set, since granting such a variation would be contrary to the spirit of the regulation and would undermine the objective of ensuring consistent and equitable treatment of all employees.

All variation requests must be submitted to OPM by an agency's headquarters level. While 5 CFR 5.1 authorizes variations that affect requirements established by OPM's regulations, OPM has no legal authority to modify requirements established by law, Executive order, court decision, or matters outside of its jurisdiction.

Index of Variations to Compensation Regulations

OPM Notice 98-7 February 2, 1998 Variation of the Requirement to Make a Prior Determination to Pay a Recruitment Bonus
OPM Notice 98-32 July 2, 1998 Variation to Allow the Use of a Former Locality Rate of Pay in Determining the Highest Previous Rate of Employees Participating in an Upward Mobility Program


Updated 14 July 1998