Business & Marketing

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments

An Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments (5 CFR 334) permit the temporary assignment of skilled career employees to positions with Federal Agencies, State, local governments, Indian tribes, institutes of higher learning, and other eligible organizations. The assignment must be for specific work beneficial to both entities. The assignment should be used to achieve one of the following objectives: [1]

  1. Strengthening the management capabilities of Federal agencies, State, local and Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations;
  2. Assisting the transfer and use of new technologies and approaches to solving governmental problems;
  3. Facilitating an effective means of involving state and local officials in developing and implementing Federal policies and programs; and,
  4. Providing program and developmental experience which will enhance the assignee’s performance in his or her regular job.

Length of Assignment

Assignment agreements can be made for up to two years and may be intermittent, part-time, or full-time. The agency head, or his or her designee, may extend an assignment for an additional two years when the extension will be to the benefit of both organizations.

An employee who has served for four continuous years on a single assignment may not be sent on another assignment without at least a 12-month return to duty with his or her regular employer. Successive assignments without a break of at least 60 calendar days will be regarded as continuous service under the mobility authority.

The regulations prohibit a Federal agency from sending on assignment an employee who has served on mobility assignments for more than a total of six years. The Office of Personnel Management may waive this provision upon the written request of the agency head.

Reimbursement for Assignment

Cost-sharing arrangements for mobility assignments are negotiated between the participating organizations. The Federal agency may agree to pay all, some, or none of the costs associated with an assignment. Costs may include basic pay, supplemental pay, fringe benefits, and travel and relocation expenses.

Agencies may consider the income from certain private consulting work as part of the academic pay of university employees. Specifically, when the regular tour of duty for a university employee includes an allotment of time for consulting, or when the employee is performing any job-related consulting that cannot be continued during the assignment, the income received from the consulting may be regarded as part of the employee’s academic pay.

Cost-sharing arrangements should be based on the extent to which the participating organizations benefit from the assignment. The larger share of the costs should be absorbed by the organization which benefits most from the assignment. Exceptions might occur when an organization’s resources do not permit costs to be shared on a relative benefit basis.

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Updated: 8/3/2021