U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service  260 FW 3, Salary and Allotments

FWM#:          243 (new)
Date:             March 22, 1996
Series:           Finance
Part 260:        Financial Management
Originating Office:  Division of Finance 

3.1 Purpose. This chapter defines responsibilities and procedures associated with salary payments, allotments, and assignments.

3.2 Responsibilities.

A. The Bureau of Reclamation processes the payroll and maintains adequate records of employment information for disclosure to the employee and outside sources as prescribed by law.

B. The Service Payroll Coordinators provide the Bureau of Reclamation Payroll Office with the necessary input to make salary payments, of allotments, and assignments.

C. Employees are responsible for reviewing their salary payments and submitting any errors or changes to their payroll coordinators.

3.3 Payment of Salary.

A. Direct Deposit. The preferred method of payment to employees is direct deposit to the individual's financial institution. New employees are required to use direct deposit; however, they may request waivers in unusual situations, such as intermittent appointments, remote location, or appointments of short duration.

B. Payments by Check.

(1) When an employee is paid by check, it is issued only in the name of the employee. No one else has the right, nor can an employee assign the right to receive payment. This should not be confused with a power of attorney, which an employee may execute as a personal matter to enable a bank or another person to cash the check for them.

(2) Checks are mailed by the Treasury Disbursing Office servicing the Regional Office to a home, bank, or other address designated by the employee (except their place of employment).

(3) If a check is not delivered in the mail or is otherwise lost or stolen, the payee should call the Regional Payroll Office and provide a brief statement describing what happened. The Regional Payroll Office will assist the employee in the completion of an unnumbered form for reporting the non-receipt of the hard copy salary check. The form is described in the Payroll Operations Client Interface manual and, when completed, is referred to the Bureau of Reclamation Payroll Section for resolution.

(4) The original check or bond may be cashed if it is found before the replacement has been cashed, but the employee must write to the Bureau of the Public Debt immediately and return the replacement when it is received. Likewise, the original must be returned after the replacement has been cashed. In case of the death of an employee, uncashed checks are returned to the Regional Payroll Office which issues instructions on filing claims for the amounts due.

C. Address Change. Whether paid by direct deposit or check, addresses for new employees and any subsequent changes should be entered on a Request for Official Correspondence, Residence, Net Check Information (Form 7-2214) and submitted to the appropriate Regional Payroll Office for processing. Current employees who change address and transferring employees should complete the same Form 7-2214. This form is available in the Regional Payroll Office.

3.4 Allotments.

A. Definitions. An allotment is a voluntary recurring specified deduction for a legal purpose from pay authorized by an employee to be paid to an allottee. Allottee means the person or institution to whom an allotment is made payable.

B. Purposes. Allotments are for many purposes such as regular deposits to an individual's savings account, premium payments to life insurance companies, residential mortgage payments, and U.S. savings bonds.

C. Who May Make Allotments. Employees under appointments not limited to 6 months or less may make allotments.

D. How to Apply. Employees should complete a Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form (SF-1199A), and have the form certified by their financial institution. The financial institution will send the Government copy to the employee's Payroll Office for processing. Applications for U.S. Savings Bonds are covered in paragraph 3.5 below.

E. Payroll Procedure. Allotments are noted on individual pay records as current deductions and scheduled as disbursement items. Funds are electronically transferred to the individual's financial institution.

3.5 United States Savings Bonds.

A. How to Apply. Employees must complete an Authorization for Purchase and Request for Change (SBD 1928) to apply for payroll deductions for savings bonds. A supply of these forms is available in the servicing payroll offices. The completed form should be returned to the appropriate Payroll Coordinator for processing.

B. Delivery. Savings bonds are mailed by the Treasury Department to the address printed on the bond. This address is fixed at the time the employee authorizes purchase of the bond. If the bond address should change, the employee should fill in the address section on another Form SBD 1928 and return it to the Regional Payroll Office.

C. Undelivered Bonds. If a bond is not received after 30 days from the expected date of delivery, the employee should contact, in writing, the Bureau of the Public Debt, Division of Bonds and Currency, Parkersburg, West Virginia 26106-1328. If the lost bond is found, it should be handled in accordance with paragraph 3.3B(4) above.

3.6 Assignments.

A. Definitions. Assignment is an allotment established to satisfy a mandated deduction from pay such as a garnishment, levy, or recovery of advances for travel expense. A garnishment is an involuntary deduction from an employee's salary such as overpayments of salary, the recovery of advances for travel expenses and for debts owed to creditors. A levy is a deduction from an employee's pay for unpaid Federal and/or State and local income taxes.

B. Debts Due to the United States. All payments due an employee are available for offset by debts due the Government. However, offsets against current salary are prohibited without the employees consent except for:

(1) Recovery of advances for travel expenses.

(2) Formal General Accounting Office notices of exception against the employee.

(3) Internal Revenue Service levies for unpaid Federal income taxes.

(4) Erroneous payments made by the Service or elsewhere in the Department.

C. Private Creditors. An employee's salary can be garnished or attached to satisfy claims of private creditors.

D. Child Support. Payroll Offices may deduct money owed by individuals for child support to satisfy the indebtedness.

3.7 Internal Revenue Service Levies. Levies may be made on an employee's salary for delinquent income taxes. Notices of levies are served on Regional Payroll Offices. Such levies are on take home pay only, and an employee cannot increase deductions, such as for bonds, to avoid payment. If the levy is less than the take home pay, the employee is paid the difference. A new notice must be issued for the balance due if the entire salary payment is insufficient. An employee may arrange with the Internal Revenue Service to liquidate the tax liability by periodic payroll deductions and avoid levies.

3.8 Overpayment to Employees. The service may initiate the recovery of erroneous payments to employees by deductions from current salary. The Servicing Payroll Office will refer the matter to the Bureau of Reclamation Payroll Office for the necessary adjustment procedures.

A. Notifying Employee. The Regional Payroll office will determine indebtedness and notify employees of the amount of indebtedness

B. Plan of Repayment.

(1) If the amount of the indebtedness is relatively small, the Regional Payroll Office will notify the employee that the amount of the indebtedness is being recovered by payroll deduction.

(2) If the amount of the indebtedness is relatively large, the Regional Budget and Finance Officer will consult with the employee for the purpose of planning a schedule for liquidating the indebtedness within a reasonable time, either by cash payments or payroll deductions. The plan must provide for repayment within the anticipated period of employment and as promptly as possible without undue hardship to the employee. However, an outstanding travel advance repayment is exempt from the plan repayment method and must be collected from the employee on a lump sum payment basis.

(3) The plan for repayment must not provide for deducting more than two-thirds of the gross pay per pay period unless it is necessary to collect the erroneous payment within the period of employment. If the employee retires, resigns, or is otherwise terminated before the indebtedness is completely repaid, the balance is deducted from amounts due the employee from any source including FERS or CSRS retirement plan funds.

C. Employee's Right to Protest. Each employee is advised of his/her right to question the determination of indebtedness, the proposed plan of liquidation, or to ask for a review by the Regional Director. The employee is also informed of the right to submit a claim for refund of any amount deducted from his/her salary if it is believed that the determination of indebtedness was incorrect.

D. Recoveries from Separated Employees.

(1) When an employee transfers to another bureau or office within the Department before liquidation of the debt is completed, a copy of the liquidation plan is sent to the receiving bureau or office, which should proceed in recovering the debt according to the plan.

(2) When an erroneous payment is discovered after an employee has been transferred from the Department, the employee is billed for the amount of the erroneous payment and the employee's new agency is requested to assist in the recovery of the amount due.

(3) If the employee is separated from the Government, he/she is billed for the amount of the erroneous payment and, if applicable, the Civil Service Commission is asked to hold the retirement payments until the debt is paid. If the debt exceeds $25, the agency may request that the Internal Revenue Service collect the amount from tax refunds due the employee.

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