U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Was this page helpful?

Premium Pay Definitions

Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) Pay – Premium pay to an employee as a percentage of their annual rate of basic pay for hours of duty consisting of substantial amounts of irregular or occasional overtime work with the employee generally being responsible for recognizing, without supervision, circumstances which require them to remain on duty (Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 550.151).  The percentage of AUO to which an employee is entitled is initiated, changed, or terminated for employees on the Time & Attendance (T&A) record.  Actual hours of AUO worked are not recorded on the T&A except for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) non-exempt (covered) employees.  AUO hours count against the weekly overtime standard but not the daily overtime standard. 

Administrative Workweek - means any period of seven consecutive days designated in advance by the head of the agency (5 CFR 550.103).

Annual Premium Pay - pay at a percentage of the General Schedule (GS) employee's annual rate (instead of the hourly overtime rate) for standby duty, administratively uncontrollable overtime work, or availability hours (5 CFR 550). 

Availability Pay - is pay for outside a criminal investigator's (GS-1811 series) 40-hour workweek during which an investigator is placed in availability status by being directed to be available during designated periods to meet agency needs.  Annual premium pay at 25 percent of a criminal investigator's basic rate for hours in excess of the basic workweek which average a minimum of 2 hours daily (over the course of a year) during which the investigator is designated to be available to perform unscheduled duty (Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 550.182-185).   

Basic Work Requirement - is the number of hours (excluding overtime hours) that an employee is required to work or is required to account for by leave or otherwise (5 U.S.C. 6121(3)).  For a full-time employee, the basic work requirement is 80 hours in a biweekly pay period.

Basic Workweek - for full-time employees, the 40-hour workweek which does not extend over more than six of any seven consecutive days and officially prescribes the days and hours during which the employee is entitled to basic pay.  When it is impractical to prescribe a regular schedule of definite hours of duty for each workday of a regularly scheduled administrative workweek, management may establish the first 40-hours of duty performed within a period of not more than six days of the administrative workweek as the basic workweek. 

Call-back Overtime Pay - is pay for irregular or occasional overtime work performed by an employee on a day when no work is scheduled, or at a time which requires the employee to return to the place of employment from an off-duty status.  Call-back overtime work is deemed not less than two hours (the minimum entitlement) in duration for pay or compensatory time (5 U.S.C 5542(b)(1)).  The minimum of two hours must be paid regardless of whether any work is performed.  Call-back on a holiday is payable at not less than 2 hours of holiday pay-total holiday pay not to exceed the non-overtime hours of the employee’s day.  

Compensatory Time - time off from an employee's tour of duty instead of irregular or occasional overtime pay for an equal amount of irregular or occasional overtime work (5 CFR 550.114).  

Credit Hours - are hours that an employee elects to work, with supervisory approval, in excess of the employee’s basic work requirement under a flexible work schedule.  Credit hours are not compensable by overtime, compensatory time off, holiday pay, or Sunday differential and may not be used to establish a premium pay entitlement.  Credit hours are liquidated at the employee's basic rate of pay when an employee moves to an organization not covered by the same flexible work schedule.

Duty Overtime - an informal term used by foreign service personnel to describe the requirement to perform compensable overtime duty outside the normal workweek periodically as the officer of the day, e.g., on one Saturday a month.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - 29 U.S.C.; a Federal labor law which establishes a minimum standard for wages and a method for computing the overtime entitlement of non-exempt (covered) employees.

Fire Protection Employee Covered by 5 U.S.C. 8331(21) or 8401(14) - a firefighter who is eligible for early retirement under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS); an employee whose duties are primarily and directly related to the control and extinguishment of fires when the duties are so rigorous as to require a young and physically vigorous individual; also an employee transferred directly to a supervisory or administrative position after performing the duties just described for at least 3 years.

Fire Protection Employee Subject to Section 7(k) of the FLSA - FLSA non-exempt (covered) employees who are properly classified to the GS-0081 Fire Protection and Prevention series; non-exempt (covered) employees who are employed by an organized fire department or fire protection district; who have been trained in fire prevention, control, and extinguishment; who have authority to perform these activities; and who perform these and directly related activities, regardless of level of position, job specialty, or length of tour; firefighters having a slightly higher overtime standard than the 40-hour standard under Section 7(a) of the FLSA (29 CFR 553.210). See pay policy titled “Annual Premium Pay Under Section 7(k) of FLSA.”  

FLSA Exempt Employee - an employee not covered by the FLSA; an employee whose work is performed with a level of independence, responsibility, and judgment meeting the exemption criteria under FLSA; generally, a bona fide executive, professional and administrative employee or a Federal Wage Service (FWS) employee above the general foreman level. (Determinations on FLSA coverage are made by servicing classification specialists who apply the exemption criteria to each position and designate the FLSA status on Commerce Department Form “CD-516,” Classification and Performance Management Record, Block C (Individual Position.) 

FLSA Non-Exempt Employee - an employee who is covered by the FLSA; generally, FWS, clerical, technical, and paraprofessional employees; an employee whose overtime entitlement is computed under FLSA rules only.

FS, FE, FO, FP, and FC Pay Plans - FS designates the Foreign Service pay schedule whose statutory authority is 22 U.S.C. 3963. FS includes the Foreign Personnel (FP) and Foreign Service Officers (FO) pay plans.  FP indicates foreign service officer candidates serving under limited appointments prior to being commissioned as foreign service officers.  FO means a commissioned foreign service officer who is appointed by the President under Section 302(a)(1) of Title 22.  Senior Foreign Service (FE) employees are senior executive service equivalents: they are paid Senior Executive Service (SES) rates.  FC means "foreign compensation;” it is a rate on the General Schedule paid to Census employees on limited appointments who perform work authorized under a Participating Agency Service Agreement (PASA) for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

GG and GH Pay Plans - as used within the Department, GG is the decennial census employee equivalent of the GS pay plan; GH is the decennial Census employee equivalent of the former GM pay plan.  GG/GH rates parallel General Schedule rates but they are considered administratively determined since they have their authority in Section 23 of Title 13.  As a matter of policy, Census adopts General Schedule rates and pay practice without modification.

Holiday Premium Pay - sometimes called "double time.”  An employee who works a holiday is entitled to pay at their rate of basic pay plus premium pay at a rate equal to their rate of basic pay for non-overtime hours worked up to 8 except that an employee on a compressed (not flexible) schedule may be paid holiday pay for all non-overtime hours worked for that day.  Holiday premium pay is not overtime pay.  An employee who works overtime on a holiday gets the same overtime rate they would get on any other day for overtime hours worked. 

Irregular or Occasional Overtime Work - overtime that is announced after the beginning of the administrative workweek in which it is performed as opposed to being scheduled in advance of the employee's regularly scheduled workweek. 

Law Enforcement Officer Covered by 5 U.S.C. 8331(20) or 8401(17) - a law enforcement officer who is eligible for early retirement under CSRS or FERS; a law enforcement officer whose duties are primarily the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States when such duties are so rigorous they require young and physically vigorous individuals; also an employee transferred directly to an administrative or supervisory position after performing the duties just described for a minimum of 3 years. 

Law Enforcement Officer Subject to Section 7(k) of the FLSA - a FLSA non-exempt (covered) law enforcement officer who meets all the following criteria: (1) who is a uniformed or plain clothed member of a body of officers and subordinates who are empowered by State statute or local ordinance to enforce laws designed to maintain public peace and order and to protect both life and property from accidental or willful injury, and to prevent and detect crimes, (2) who has the power to arrest, and (3) who is presently undergoing or has undergone or will undergo on-the-job training and/or a course of instruction and study which typically includes physical training, self-defense, firearm proficiency, criminal and civil law principles, investigative and law enforcement techniques, community relations, medical aid and ethics (29 CFR 553.211); a law enforcement officer who has a slightly higher overtime standard than the 40 hour standard defined in Section 7(a) of the FLSA.  See the overtime policy titled “Annual Premium Pay Under Section 7(k) of FLSA” for specific overtime standards. 

Note: Law enforcement officers whose primary duty is compliance work are subject to the 7(a) overtime standard of FLSA.  Those in receipt of availability pay are exempt (not covered) from the FLSA. 

On-Call Status - for GS employees and FWS employees "on-call" means an off duty unpaid status in which an employee is ordered by management to be available to perform irregular or occasional overtime work, if necessary.  The employee may leave their quarters or home as long as they can be reached. "On-call status" should not be confused with "call-back overtime.”  An "on-call" employee has no pay entitlement of any kind until they perform work. 

"On-call" is used synonymously with "standby" in the prevailing rate statute (5 U.S.C. 5544) which leads to confusion.  The concepts of standby work and on-call status are the same for GS and FWS employees.  FWS and GS employees are paid differently for standby work.

Operating Unit - bureaus and offices designated by Department Organization Order 1-1 and, in addition, the Office of the Secretary.

Overtime - all work that is performed by an employee that has been officially ordered or approved in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in an administrative workweek which meets the criteria for hours of work under Title 5.  For a non-exempt (covered) employee, overtime (for hours over 40 in a week) also includes hours of work under Part 551 of the CFR.  For an employee on a flexible work schedule, overtime hours are hours of work ordered or authorized by management in excess of 8 in a day or 40 in a week not including credit hours.  For employees on compressed work schedules, overtime hours are all hours the employee is ordered to work in excess of the compressed schedule.  For firefighters or law enforcement officers covered by Section 7(k) of the FLSA, overtime is hours of work in excess of 53 and 42.75 hours in a week, respectively. For an employee on a first-40-hour tour (provided the employee is FLSA exempt), and provided the employee is engaged in professional or technical engineering or scientific activities or has a rate of basic pay in excess of GS-10, step 1, overtime is hours of work in excess of 40 in a week.  For non-exempt (covered) employees working a first 40-tour, overtime is all hours of work in excess of 8 in a day or 40 in a week. 

Premium Pay - GS employees - additional pay authorized for overtime, night pay differential, holiday worked, Sunday work, standby duty, administratively uncontrollable overtime work or availability duty.

Premium Pay - Federal Wage System employees - additional compensation for overtime, holiday worked, Sunday work, or standby duty. 

Rate of Basic Pay for Premium Pay Purposes - for GS employees, the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position held by an employee, including any special pay adjustment for law enforcement officers under Section 302 or 404 of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990, respectively, or locality-based comparability payment under 5 U.S.C. 5304, before deductions and exclusive of additional pay of any kind.  For FWS employees, it is the scheduled rate of pay plus any night shift or environmental differential. 

Regular Rate - a term used in computing overtime entitlement for non-exempt (covered) employees under FLSA rules; the rate computed by dividing the total remuneration paid to the employee in a workweek by the total number of hours of work and leave in the workweek for which compensation was paid. 

Regularly Scheduled Administrative Workweek - the days and hours of each day within the administrative workweek during which the employee is regularly scheduled to work.  For full-time employees, it consists of the forty-hour basic workweek plus any periods of regularly scheduled overtime work; for part-time employees, it means the officially prescribed days and hours during which the employee is scheduled in advance to work; for GS employees paid annual premium pay for standby duty, it consists of the total number of regularly scheduled hours of duty in a workweek plus hours in which the employee remains at or within the confines of their duty station in standby status (i.e., without the requirement to perform any work), including eating and sleeping time; for employees on a flexible or compressed alternative work schedule, it consists of the basic work requirement, plus any periods of regularly scheduled overtime work.

Regularly Scheduled Overtime Work - overtime work that is officially ordered and approved in advance of the administrative workweek as part of an employee's regularly scheduled work for that workweek (5 CFR 550.111).  

Regularly Scheduled Work - non-overtime work, nightwork, or scheduled by management in advance of the administrative workweek in which it is performed. 

Standby Duty/Standby Pay - GS Employees - is defined as a scheduled tour of duty that regularly requires an employee to remain at, or within the confines of, their station during longer than ordinary periods of time, a substantial part (at least 25 percent) of which consists of remaining in a standby status rather than performing work (5 CFR 550.141).  One of three categories of premium pay paid to GS employees at an annual rate (the others being AUO and availability pay).  Standby hours are counted against the weekly overtime standard rather than the daily overtime standard.  For GS employees, time spent eating and sleeping is included in total standby hours. 

Standby Duty/Standby Pay - Federal Wage System Employees - a FWS employee who is regularly required to remain at or within the confines of their post of duty in excess of 8 hours a day in a standby or an on-call status is entitled to overtime pay only for hours of duty, exclusive of eating and sleeping time, in excess of 40 hours a week.  This is payable at the employee's usual overtime rate for actual hours worked.  

Straight Time Rate - a term used in computing overtime entitlement for non-exempt (covered) employees under FLSA rules.  An employee's “straight time rate of pay” is equal to the employee's rate of pay for their position (exclusive of any premiums, differentials, or cash awards or bonuses) except for an employee who is authorized annual premium pay under §550.141 or §550.151 (annual premium pay for standby or administratively uncontrollable overtime).  For an employee who is authorized annual premium pay, straight time rate of pay is equal to basic pay plus annual premium pay divided by the hours for which the basic pay plus annual premium pay is intended (5 CFR 551.512).  The straight time rate includes additional pay at the basic rate for work on a holiday.  This also includes locality-based comparability payment, special rate, special law enforcement officer adjusted rate of pay under sections 302, 403, or 404, of the Federal

Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 FEPCA - The straight time rate of pay, once obtained, is used to price all overtime hours, which is factored into the computation of total overtime pay under FLSA.

Suffered or Permitted Work – is a FLSA concept applicable only to non-exempt (covered) employees, and is not applicable to any employee working a flexible work schedule.  The concept of suffered or permitted work does not apply to overtime for non-exempt (covered) employee who participates in the flexible work schedule program.  For all practical purposes, in the rare cases of suffered or permitted overtime work, this work is only possible when employees are under a fixed, typically standard (40), work schedule.  It is any work performed by an employee for the benefit of an agency, whether requested or not, provided the employee's supervisor knows or has reason to believe that the work is being performed and has an opportunity to prevent the work from being performed.  Suffered or permitted is overtime for purposes of meeting the weekly overtime standard only. 

Tour of Duty - the hours of a day (a daily tour of duty) and the days of an administrative workweek (a weekly tour of duty) that constitute an employee’s regularly scheduled administrative workweek. 


Reviewed by OHRM, September 2020.

References: 5 CFR 550.151, 550.103, 550, 550.182-185, 550.114, 550.111, 550.141, 551.512; 29 CFR 553.210; 5 U.S.C. 6121(3), 5542(b)(1), 8331(20-21), 8401 (14, 17), 5544; 29 U.S.C.; 22 U.S.C. 3963