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371 FW 3
Certification of Required Occupancy

Supersedes 371 FW 3, FWM 259, 06/28/96

Date:  October 26, 2010

Series: Facility Management

Part 371: Quarters Management

Originating Office: Division Contracting and Facilities Management

 

 

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3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes:

 

A. How we certify required occupancy for a position,

 

B. What documentation is necessary,

 

C. How employees can appeal decisions about required occupancy, and

 

D. What the criteria are for employees to claim tax exemptions because of required occupancy.

 

3.2 What is required occupancy and when does the Service use it?

 

A. Required occupancy is when an employee must live in Government furnished quarters to hold a position at a duty station.

 

B. The Project Leader/supervisor must complete a Certificate of Required Occupancy, Form DI 1872 for each new and existing tenant who must live in Government furnished quarters.

 

C. We use required occupancy of quarters when there is:

 

(1) A requirement for after‑hours service or protection of Service property or resources, or

 

(2) A lack of available suitable housing, which could be because of:

 

(a) Remoteness (30 or more miles from nearest established community of at least 1,500 with doctor and dentist), or

 

(b) Scarcity during periods of high housing demand caused by a short tourist or harvest season.

 

D. Local hires (employees who reside within 30 miles of the duty station when hired) do not qualify for required occupancy based on the lack of available suitable housing. They may qualify for required occupancy based on the need for after-hours service or protection of Service property or resources.

 

3.3 What documentation is necessary to establish required occupancy? When a position requires occupancy of Government furnished quarters as a condition of employment, we must document the employee's status as follows:

 

A. Official Personnel Folder. The Official Personnel Folder (OPF) must include the documentation shown in Table 3-1.

 

Table 3-1: Documentation that must be in the OPF

Situation

Documentation Required

Other Requirements

A position requires occupancy of Government furnished quarters

SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action

Describe required occupancy

DI 1872, Certificate of Required Occupancy

The Regional Director approves the requirement.  The approved form is kept at the Regional Quarters office.

An employee assumes or vacates quarters

SF-52,  Request for Personnel Action

Immediate supervisor sends this form through supervisory channels to the servicing Human Capital office and the Regional Quarters Officer within the same pay period the action is effective.

 

Form should indicate the change in the employee’s status. For example:

 

·        For tax exempt quarters—“Employee is/is no longer required to occupy tax exempt Government furnished quarters”

OR

·        For quarters that are not tax exempt—“Employee must occupy/no longer occupies lodging that is not tax exempt”

 

B. Position Classification. A requirement to occupy Government furnished quarters must be in the position description.

 

(1) New Positions: When we establish a new position requiring occupancy as a condition of employment, the Project Leader/supervisor must include the requirement in the position description.

 

(2) Established Positions: When occupying quarters becomes a requirement of an existing position, the servicing Human Capital office must amend the position description as a condition of employment. They use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criteria for tax exempt lodging to determine if the lodging is tax exempt (also see section 3.7).

 

(3) When Required Occupancy is for an Ad Hoc Assignment: The Human Capital office will not amend the position description when required occupancy is for an ad hoc assignment and not a position requirement.

 

C. Vacancy Announcements. When announcing a position for which we require or may require occupancy in Government furnished quarters as a condition of employment, we must include the requirement in the vacancy announcement.

 

D. Written Offers of Employment/Confirmation Letters. When we hire someone for a position that requires or may require occupancy in Government furnished quarters, the letter offering employment or confirming selection must state the required or potentially required occupancy as a condition of employment.

 

3.4 What are the procedures for requesting reconsideration of or appealing required occupancy of quarters?

 

A. When the occupancy requirement is in the initial position description:

 

(1) Because the employee who we hire for the position has advance knowledge of this requirement, he or she is usually obligated to continue as a tenant until vacating the position.

 

(2) The immediate supervisor provides the newly hired employee information about the right to appeal such a determination. The employee completes the Employee Certification of Appeal Rights for Required Occupancy (FWS Form 3-2411) to record the notification.

 

(3) If the employee for personal reasons decides at a later date that he/she does not want to occupy quarters as required or feels that the requirement is not valid as a condition of employment, he/she may request in writing that the Project Leader/supervisor:

 

(a) Reconsider the need for required occupancy and document the reasons why it is not a valid requirement, or

 

(b) If the required occupancy is to perform after-hours duties, survey other employees at the station who can perform the required after‑hours duties to ascertain if one would be willing to assume required occupancy and perform the duties assigned to the required occupant.

 

(4) The decision of the Project Leader, or his/her immediate supervisor if the required occupant is the Project Leader, is final. Employees may appeal the final decision (see sections 3.5 and 3.6).

 

B. When an occupancy requirement is added to a position description:

 

(1) When a Project Leader/supervisor plans to add an occupancy requirement to an existing, occupied position, he/she must inform the position's incumbent in writing of the intention to send Form DI 1872 to the Regional Quarters Officer to request approval from the Regional Director. The Project Leader/supervisor must inform the incumbent at least 30 days before submitting the DI 1872.

 

(2) The Project Leader/supervisor’s written notification to the employee must:

 

(a) Describe the reason(s) for the planned change,

 

(b) Identify the duties the employee must perform while occupying Government furnished quarters, including those that could only be performed by a required occupant,

 

(c) Describe the employee’s right to request a reconsideration of the required occupancy determination and to appeal such a determination,

 

(d) Identify the procedures for requesting a reconsideration or initiating an appeal, and

 

(e) If the reason for the required occupancy is to perform after-hours duties, include a statement indicating that he/she has approached other employees who were qualified to perform the after‑hour duties and has asked for volunteers for required occupancy.

 

3.5 What does the Regional Director or Director have to do if an employee files a Request for Reconsideration?

 

A. If an employee has filed a Request for Reconsideration, before the Regional Director can approve a DI 1872, he/she must convene a panel to review the matter and recommend appropriate action. The panel should be composed of:

 

(1) The Regional Quarters Officer (attends meetings as an advisor, has no vote in the proceedings, and presents findings to the Regional Director),

 

(2) An employee in the same Program as the requesting station (e.g., Hatcheries, Refuges, etc.), and

 

(3) At least two disinterested employees from other Programs.

 

B. If after convening a panel the Regional Director certifies the DI 1872, the employee may file a written Request for Reconsideration with the Director.

 

C. If an employee wants to request reconsideration from the Director:

 

(1) The employee sends the request through supervisory channels to the National Quarters Officer.

 

(2) The National Quarters Officer is the technical authority and liaison for the reconsideration/appeal process. He or she convenes an advisory panel to review Requests for Reconsideration and sends the panel’s recommendations to the Director.

 

(3) The advisory panel should include:

 

(a) The National Quarters Officer (attends meetings as an advisor, has no vote on the proceedings, and sends recommendations to the Director through supervisory channels),

 

(b) A person from the same Program as the employee (e.g., Hatcheries, Refuges, etc.), and

 

(c) At least two employees from unaffected Programs.

 

D. If the Director reaffirms the Required Occupancy determination, the employee has the right to appeal this decision to the Office of Hearings and Appeals in accordance with provisions in the Departmental Housing Management Handbook. The National Quarters Officer will notify each affected employee in writing of any determination affecting him/her, and of his/her right to appeal through proper channels to a final administrative authority within the Department.

 

(1) The employee must send the appeal of a reaffirmed reconsideration in writing within 30 days of the receipt of a decision to:

 

               The Office of Hearings and Appeals

               801 N. Quincy Street, MS 300-QC

               Arlington, Virginia  22203.

 

(2) The employee does not have to move into the quarters until he/she is informed of the outcome of any Request for Reconsideration or appeal.

 

3.6 What are the reconsideration/appeal procedures for required occupants who belong to unions?

 

A. Satisfying labor management obligations. The Department's Office of Human Capital has responsibility for satisfying National Consultation Rights obligations with Federal employee unions. Servicing Human Capital offices will contact local unions representing affected employees and satisfy impact and implementation obligations for collective bargaining.

 

B. Appealing effect of required occupancy. Employees covered by a union have the right to appeal the effect of a required occupancy determination under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. We address appeals under bargaining agreements using normal labor management procedures. See the Department’s Housing Management Handbook for policy on required occupancy.

 

3.7 What criteria must a tenant meet for his or her rent to be exempt from Federal taxes?

 

A. For a tenant who must occupy Government furnished quarters to qualify for tax exemption for the rent, he/she must meet all the following IRS criteria (see 26 U.S.C. 119):

 

(1) The lodging must be furnished for the convenience of the Service,

 

(2) The employee must accept such lodging as a condition of employment, and

 

(3) The lodging must be on Service-owned or leased land.

 

B. The Regional Quarters Officer certifies IRS tax exemption eligibility on the payroll deduction input form, which means all rental payments are exempt from income and OASDI/Medicare taxes.

 

 


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  


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