Technician Handbook

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For FERS employees, 6.2% pays for the Social Security portion of retirement The information provided in this handbook is intended to give you only the

    Technician Handbook


Welcome to the National Guard Technician Program!

    Congress established the Technician Program in “The Technician Act of 1968,” which is also known as Public Law 90-486. The Technician Program is a critical component of the

    National Guard in all fifty-four states, territories and District of Columbia. This program was

    established to provide National Guard technicians with fair and just compensation, employment

    benefits, and entitlement to a retirement system that is equitable to other federal employees. The

    law also designates, through the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force, The Adjutant Generals

    of each state, to employ and administer the Technician Program. This authority is further

    delegated to the Human Resources Officer (HRO). It is the HRO’s responsibility to review and

    administer human resource policies and procedures for the National Guard Technician Program.

    The HRO staff is committed to administering these policies and implementing systems that

    ensure fair and equitable treatment, job satisfaction, just compensation, and recognition for work

    well done.

    Our National Guard members continue to face many new and exciting challenges. We are accepting new roles and missions and are transforming to stay abreast with the constant

    changes in weapon systems, technology, military doctrine, and the mobilization of soldiers and

    airmen. New legislation and reduced funding levels continue to challenge the Technician


     This Technician Handbook is intended to guide and assist you in answering many of your

    questions involving working conditions and benefits. It is designed to serve as a quick reference

    resource. The Handbook outlines procedures that are applicable, but detailed procedures may

    vary. For those of you in a labor bargaining unit, this handbook is not intended to replace the

    negotiated agreement. If there is a difference in language between the agreement and this

    handbook, the negotiated agreement language will take precedence.

    I am especially grateful to the Employee Relations Committee of the Human Resources Advisory Council and the NGB Employee Relations Team in compiling this handbook. We

    dedicate the design and development of this handbook to these outstanding human resource

    professionals! We consider it a privilege to provide this very important handbook to our

    technicians. We encourage you, our customers, to contact your Human Resources Office should

    you have any questions regarding technician career and benefits.



     Colonel, USAF

     Chief, Office of Technician Personnel

    10 November 2004

    Table of Contents

     Chapter Page

     Chapter 1 Background 5

     Chapter 2 Excepted Service 6

     Veteran’s Preference

     Military Membership Requirement

     Military Uniform

     Compatible Military Assignment


     Civil Service Competitive Status

     Overtime Pay

     Compensatory Time 7

     Permanent Employment

     Indefinite Employment

     Temporary Employment

     Employment Tenure Group

     Tenure Group 0

     Tenure Group 1

     Tenure Group 2

     Tenure Group 3 8

     Chapter 3 Official Personnel Records 8

     Chapter 4 Pay Administration 8

     General Information

     Earnings Statements 9

     Premium Pay

     Environmental Differential Pay 9

     Hazardous Duty Pay

     Pay Adjustments

     Within Grade Increases

     Severance Pay

     Chapter 5 Hours of Duty 10

     Chapter 6 Absence and Leave 10

     Annual Leave

     Advancement of Annual Leave

     Sick Leave

     Advancement of Sick Leave 11

     Intermittent Use of Leave

     Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Page 1

     Chapter Page

     Chapter 6 Absence and Leave (Continued)

     Leave Transfer Program 11

     Bone Marrow or Organ Donor

     Military Leave

     22 Day Leave

     44 Day Leave 12

     Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

     Court Leave

     Excused Absences

     5 Days Excused Absences

     Adverse Weather Dismissals

     Absence Without Leave

     Chapter 7 Performance Evaluations 13

     General Information

     Performance Appraisals

     Performance Feedback

     Unacceptable Performance


     Chapter 8 Incentive Awards 14

     Cash Award

     Quality Step Increase (QSI)

     Time-Off Award

     Suggestion Award

     Honorary Award

     Length of Service Award

     Chapter 9 Federal Employee Group Life Insurance 15


     Leave Without Pay Status


     Chapter 10 Federal Employee Health Benefits 15



     Who Is Covered 16


     Changing Plans

     Choice of Plans and Options

     Leave Without Pay Status

     Temporary Continuation of Coverage


    Page 2

     Chapter Page

     Chapter 11 Additional Optional Programs 17

     Flexible Spending Accounts

     Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

     Chapter 12 USERRA 17

     General Information


     Military Leave

     Annual Leave 18

     Leave Without Pay

     Health Benefits

     Life Insurance


     Thrift Savings Plan 19

     Return to Civilian Duty

     Appeal Rights 20

     Chapter 13 Injury Compensation 20

     General Information

     Injured At Work

     False Claims


     Chapter 14 Retirement 21

     General Information

     Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)

     Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

     Withdrawals Upon Separation 22

     Prior Federal Service Time

     Military Deposit Service

     Interest Accrual Date

     Chapter 15 Thrift Savings Plan 23

     General Information

     Withdrawal from Your TSP Account

     Chapter 16 Political Activities 24

     What Technicians May Do

     What Technicians May Not Do

     Chapter 17 Standards of Conduct 25

    Page 3

     Chapter Page

     Chapter 18 Discipline and Adverse Action 26

     Disciplinary Actions

     Adverse Actions

     Appeal and Grievance Procedures

     Chapter 19 Voluntary Separation from the Technician Program 26

     Chapter 20 Life Events 27

     Change in Family Status

     Survivor Benefits

     Designation of Beneficiary

     Chapter 21 Classification 27

     General Information

     Classification Appeals

     Chapter 22 Merit Promotion and Placement 28

     General Information

     Chapter 23 Reduction-in-Force 28

     Chapter 24 Training and Development 29

     Individual Development Plan

     Chapter 25 Labor-Management Relations 29

     Chapter 26 Equal Employment Opportunity 30



     Chapter 27 Employee Assistance Program 30

     Alcohol and Drug Abuse 31

     Chapter 28 Miscellaneous 31

     Physical Fitness

     Smoking Policy


     Acronyms and Abbreviations 32

     Index 33

    Page 4

    Chapter 1


    The National Guard grew out of the various State militias that have been a significant part of American defense history since the late 17th Century. With your selection as a National

    Guard Technician, you have become a federal employee covered by the National Guard

    Technician Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-486). Because of this law, you are referred to as a

    military technician. Your primary mission as a military technician is to provide day-to-day

    continuity in the operation and training of Army and Air National Guard units.

    Military Technicians are employees of the Department of Army or Department of the Air Force. Military Technicians are required to maintain military membership in the National Guard

    in order to retain employment. These military technicians are referred to as dual-status

    technicians. However, unlike other Federal employees, the State Adjutant General has the

    authority to affect employment and is the level of final appeal for most personnel actions. With

    few exceptions, a military technician enjoys the same benefits, privileges and rights as other

    federal employees.

    The National Guard also employs non-military technicians referred to as competitive technicians or Non Dual Status (NDS) technicians. If you are an NDS technician, your terms

    and conditions of employment are very similar to those described in this handbook, but not

    identical in all cases. Because the vast majority of our technicians are military technicians (not

    NDS), this handbook primarily addresses the military technician workforce. For additional

    information on the NDS Technician Program, please contact the Human Resources Office.

    Page 5

    Chapter 2


    Positions in the National Guard Technician Program that require military membership in

    the National Guard as a condition of technician employment are in the excepted service under

    the provisions of 32 USC 709. This status means you are “excepted” from the rules that govern

    civil service employees in the areas of tenure and competitive requirements for appointments.

    Loss of military membership for any reason will cause termination of technician employment.

    VETERAN’S PREFERENCE: This is not applicable in the National Guard Technician Program.

    MILITARY UNIFORM: You are required to wear the uniform while performing technician duties. Additionally, compliance with established grooming, weight management and

    physical fitness requirements is essential. While in uniform, even after duty hours, proper

    customs and courtesies will be extended as appropriate.

    COMPATIBLE MILITARY ASSIGNMENT: You are required to be assigned to a

    military position and unit compatible with your military technician position. Failure to maintain

    military compatibility is grounds for termination.

    TRAVEL: When travel in connection with your duties is required, travel and per diem

    will be authorized in accordance with Department of Defense Joint Travel Regulations. If you

    are required to travel, you may be issued a government credit card. This card may be used to

    obtain a cash advance (within per diem limits) from an ATM for travel and other travel expenses

    such as airfare, lodging, meals, etc.

Under no circumstance should a government travel card be used for personal use. It is

    your responsibility to promptly pay your credit card bill. Disciplinary action will result

    from abuse or improper use of your government travel card.

Upon completion of TDY travel, submit a travel voucher (DD Form 1351-2) to the appropriate

    reimbursement office within five days. You are required to furnish receipts for any official

    miscellaneous expenses over $75. These receipts should be attached to your travel voucher

    claim. If you need assistance in completing your voucher, ask your supervisor. A correctly

    completed voucher will assist the Comptroller Travel and Voucher Section in promptly

    processing your claim.

    CIVIL SERVICE COMPETITIVE STATUS: Employment as a military excepted

    service technician does not result in civil service competitive status.

    OVERTIME PAY: National Guard technicians are not entitled to overtime pay.

    Compensatory time off for pre-approved overtime work to include travel time will be granted.

    Page 6

    COMPENSATORY TIME: In lieu of overtime pay, you will be granted compensatory time. The amount of time off given is equal to the time you spent outside your normal duty

    hours or irregularly scheduled work. In order to be compensated, you must receive your

    supervisor's approval before performing such work. Compensatory time must be used within 26

    pay periods from the pay period in which it was earned or the time will be forfeited.

    PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT: All National Guard technicians who must maintain military membership as a condition of employment are appointed in the excepted service and

    must serve a one-year trial period. The technician may be removed during this trial period if

    performance and/or conduct do not measure up to expected standards.

    INDEFINITE EMPLOYMENT: Indefinite employment is temporary in nature that will normally last more than one year. Benefits are the same as a permanent technician with the

    exception of tenure. Indefinite technicians are in Tenure Group 3. Indefinite technicians may

    be separated after a 30-day written notice memorandum is issued by the HRO.

    TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT: Technicians may be employed for short periods of time with a not to exceed ending date. Temporary limited employees are in Tenure Group 0.

    These temporary appointments do not confer the same benefits as permanent or indefinite

    appointments and the employee may be separated at any time.

    EMPLOYMENT TENURE GROUP: Tenure is the period of time you as an employee may reasonably expect to serve under your current appointment. It is granted and governed by

    the type of appointment under which you are currently serving. It is used to determine rank

    order in cases of reduction-in-force. There are four Excepted Service tenure groups: Tenure 0

    (Temporary appointment), Tenure 1 (Permanent), Tenure 2 (Trial or Probationary Period), and

    Tenure 3 (Indefinite appointment). Usually the order of release would be employees with

    Tenure 0 before any others, then Tenure 3 employees before Tenure 2 employees, then Tenure 2

    before Tenure 1.

    TENURE GROUP 0: If you were employed in a temporary status with a “Not to Exceed” date, you were placed in Tenure Group 0. As a tenure group 0 employee, you will not

    receive an advance written notice prior to your release from service. Also as a tenure Group 0

    employee, you do not have any appeal rights.

    TENURE GROUP 1: If you were employed in a permanent status, you were placed in Tenure Group 1. As a permanent employee, your appointment carries no restriction or condition

    such as conditional, indefinite, specific time limitation, or trial period.

    TENURE GROUP 2: If you are serving on a trial or probationary period, you were placed in Tenure Group 2. As a Tenure 2 employee, you must serve a 12-month trial period in

    which your job performance and behavior are monitored by your supervisor. Your supervisor

    will recommend your retention or non-retention at the end of 12 months. You can be released

    anytime during the trial or probationary period if your performance or behavior falls below the

    required expectations without the right to an appeal.

    Page 7

    TENURE GROUP 3: If you were employed as an indefinite employee, your appointment is normally expected to last more than one year. As an indefinite employee, you

    were placed in Tenure Group 3. As such, you must receive a 30-day written notice prior to your


    Chapter 3


    Official Personnel Folders (OPFs) are established and maintained in the Human

    Resources Office and are for official use only. This folder will contain official documents

    pertaining to your technician employment. You are encouraged to periodically review your OPF.

    If an employee decides to leave federal employment, the OPF is forwarded to the Federal

    Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

    Supervisors are required to maintain an employee work-folder and NGB Form 904 or its

    election equivalent. This folder may be reviewed at any time by the technician.

    Technicians are furnished copies of all Standard Form 50s (Notification of Personnel

    Action). You are strongly encouraged to maintain these SF 50s together with other personnel

    documents such as your job application and resume.

    Chapter 4


    GENERAL INFORMATION: Technicians are paid bi-weekly via electronic funds transfer (EFT). Allotments may be deducted from your pay for the following purposes:

    • Union dues

    • Savings bonds

    • Allotments to financial institutions

    • Charitable institutions such as the Combined Federal Campaign

    EARNINGS STATEMENTS: A Department of Defense Civilian Leave and Earnings

    Statement (LES) is available to each technician every pay period. The statement shows current

    and year-to-date earnings and deductions, TSP contributions, and leave balances. Technicians

    should review each LES and assure calculations and accruals are correct. You may view your

    LES via DFAS, MY PAY system. Check with your HRO on how to obtain access to MY PAY.

    After reviewing your LES and you find an error or you have questions about the information,

    such as incorrect earnings, leave accumulation, taxes or other listings; you should contact your

    supervisor immediately for assistance.

    Page 8

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