Bureau of Indian Education | HR FAQs
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Frequently Asked Questions

Employee & Labor Relations:

Employee Awards and Recognitions:

Employment:

Ethics:

Individual Development Plans (IDP):

Performance Management:

Position Description & Classification:

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Employee & Labor Relations:

  • Where can I find the procedures for reporting child abuse and/or neglect?

    SCAN and Critical Incident Reporting

    All Critical Incident and Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Reports need to be made to Michelle Begay, SCAN Program Specialist at the number below. The SCAN Office will then immediately notify ELO's and ADD's of all reports and current disposition.

    P:505-563-5290 F:505-563-5292 C:505-917-1492 EMAIL:
     
  • Where can I find information on Federal Labor-Management Relations?
    Information on Federal Labor-Management relations is found in the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code) and in the specific provisions in agreements negotiated between the employing Agency and the labor union that represents the employees.
     
  • Who should a supervisor contact in the Human Resources Office for advice and guidance on dealing with employee problems?
    Follow this link to an Employee/Labor Relations contact list!
     
  • Where can I find information on Unfair Labor Practice Charges?
    The Employee & Labor Relations Staff has prepared an Unfair Labor Practice information sheet for supervisors here. Follow this link!
     
  • What is the policy of the Department of the Interior on employee use of government equipment?
    The Department of the Interior policy on employee use of government equipment was outlined in a memorandum dated June 14, 2000, available here.
     
  • What is a probationary period and why is it important?
    A probationary period is an extension of the hiring process that allows a supervisor an opportunity to assess and employee's character and ability to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position. It is used, as fully as possible; to determine the fitness of an employee for the position that he or she was hired to perform. If the supervisor determines during the probationary period that an employee has failed to demonstrate an ability to satisfactorily meet the requirements of the position or is otherwise not suitable for continued employment, the supervisor can terminate the employee with a written notice two (2) weeks prior to the effective date. This notice must be coordinated with the Human Resources Office. A probationary employee who is terminated has no statutory adverse action appeal rights and can appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in only very limited circumstances.

    The length of the probationary period for OIEP employees is:
    Status of EmployeeProbationary Period Determined by:
    Bargaining Unit CoverageNegotiated Agreement or Applicable Memorandum
    Title 5 Employees (including Supervisors)Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations
    Contract Supervisors & Managers62 BIAM 11.25

    For more detailed information on the probationary period, please contact the Human Resources Office.
     
  • What is the difference between Leave Without Pay (LWOP) and Absence Without Approved Leave (AWOL)?
    LWOP and AWOL are both non-pay leave categories. However, there is a significant difference between the two. LWOP is a temporary absence from duty in a non-pay status that is officially approved and granted at the employee's request. For contract employees, an immediate supervisor can approve up to one (1) week of LWOP. AWOL is absence without leave from work for which the employee did not otherwise receive approval for leave. The employee's immediate supervisor is responsible for seeing that each employee is charged as AWOL when the employee is absent from work without proper authorization. The supervisor should coordinate with his or her Business Manager/Business Technician and the Human Resources Office to determine if disciplinary action against the AWOL employee is appropriate.
     
  • Where can I find the procedures that cover renewal and non-renewal of a contract employee's employment contract?
    Some procedures cover both renewal and non-renewal of an employee's employment contract. These are found in 62 BIAM 11.26. The specific procedures that cover non-renewal of an employee's employment contract are located in 62 BIAM 11.27.
     

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Employee Awards and Recognitions:

  • What is the purpose of the Awards and Recognition Program?
    To acknowledge employee/team contributions that lead to achievement of organizational, team or individual results.
     
  • What are the objectives of the Awards and Recognition Programs?
    The program objectives are to encourage all employees to share actively in improving government operations, enhance productivity and creativity and optimize person job satisfaction.
     
  • What are the different types of employee awards and employee recognitions?
    On-the-Spot Award (OTS)
    Special Thanks for Achieving Results (STAR) Award
    Quality Step Increase (QSI)
    Time Off Award (TOA)
    Length-of-Service Recognition
    Group/Team Awards
     
  • Who is eligible for a Quality Step Increase (QSI)?
    To be eligible for a QSI, the employee must achieve all critical results in their Employee Performance Plan and display exceptional performance that is expected to continue. Specific examples of how expectations were exceeded must be provided in the justification. A QSI is the only award linked directly to the employee's rating of record and should be granted in a timely manner following receipt of that rating. Only one QSI may be granted in a 52-week period and must be recommended by the supervisor.
     

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    Employment:

    • What is the Indian Preference Policy?
      Preference in filling vacancies is given to qualified Indian candidates in accordance with the Indian Preference Act of 1934 (Title 25, USC Section 472). Verification Form BIA-4432 must be submitted with the application if claiming Indian preference. Consideration will be give to non-Indian applicants (status or reinstatement eligibles) in the absence of qualified Indian Preference eligibles.
       
    • I am a teacher looking for a job, what is the process and what must I do to apply?
      The Bureau of Indian Education 185 schools in 23 states and located on or near 63 reservations. Vacancy announcements may be found in several places. You can follow the "Jobs" link at the top of each page in this web, or you can find information on all government jobs through the Office of Personnel Management's website at www.opm.gov. In addition, applicants may apply directly to the school for vacancies at that location. To view schools by state, try this link in this website.
       
    • I am interested in a Federal job with the Bureau of Indian Education, how do I apply?
      To search for a Federal job, go to website www.usajobs.opm.gov and click on agency. Select the Bureau of Indian Affairs listed under the Department of the Interior and select the state where you would like to be employed. Click on submit and view the jobs available from that state. You may build your resume and submit your application on line or follow the instruction on the job announcement.
       
    • What type of format can I use to apply for a Federal government job?
      You may apply for most jobs with a resume or the OF 612, Optional Application for Federal Employment, or any other written format consistent with OPM OF510. Although the Federal government does not require a standard application form for most jobs, we do need certain information to evaluate your qualifications and determine if you meet legal requirements for Federal employment. If your resume or application does not provide all the information requested in the job vacancy announcement, you may lose consideration for a job. Help speed the selection process by keeping your resume or application brief and by sending only the requested material.
       
    • I need more information on how to apply for a job on the website USAJOBS, what should I do?
      Once you are at the website www.usajobs.opm.gov select Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on main menu. There you will find information on how to apply, employment initiatives, employment issues, compensation, veteran's preference and student opportunities.
       
    • What incentives and bonuses are available to Office of Indian Education Programs employees?
      There are several Federal incentive and bonus programs available to recruit and retain employees. They are: Federal Student Loan Repayment Programs; Recruitment Bonus; Relocation Bonus, Retention Bonus and a Referral Bonus. Applicants must check with the hiring agency to see if the agency offers these programs and if the applicant qualifies.
       
    • What is a recruitment bonus, and who is eligible for one?
      A recruitment bonus is a lump-sum payment of up to 25% of basic pay that an agency may pay to an employee newly appointed to a position that would otherwise be difficult to fill. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to fulfill a period of service with the Agency. Agencies may pay recruitment bonuses to eligible individuals who are appointed to general schedule (GS), prevailing rate (WG), senior-level and scientific or professional, Senior Executive Service (SES) and Executive Schedule positions.
       
    • Who may receive a relocation bonus?
      Agencies may pay relocation bonuses to eligible employees who are appointed to general schedule, prevailing rate, senior-level and scientific or professional, senior executive service and executive schedule positions.
       
    • What are retention allowances and who may be paid one?
      Retention allowances are continuing (i.e., bi-weekly) payments of up to 25% of basic pay that an agency may pay to help retain an employee. Agencies may pay retention allowances to an eligible employee holding a general schedule, prevailing rate, senior level and scientific or professional, senior executive service and executive schedule position.
       
    • What is the Student Loan Repayment Program, and what is the minimum period of service an agency may require an employee to fulfill in order to receive student loan repayment benefits.?
      Any employee (as defined in 5 USC § 2105) who is highly qualified is eligible to receive a student loan repayment, except those employees who currently occupy or will occupy a position excepted from the competitive service because of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. Under the provisions of 5 CFR § 537.104 agencies may offer loan repayment benefits to:
      Temporary employees who are serving on appointments leading to conversion to term permanent appointments;
      Term employees with at least three years left on their appointments;
      Permanent employees (including part-time employees); and
      Employees serving on excepted appointments with conversion to term, career, or career conditional appointments (including, but not limited to, career intern or Presidential Management Intern appointments).
      A service requirement must be set for a period of time not less than 3 years. Agencies may require service agreements of more than 3 years.
       
    • What is the purpose of New Employee Orientation and what is the Supervisory/Managerial responsibility for the new employee orientation?
      The main objective is to provide information that will help new employees understand the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, an overview of employee programs and benefits, the mission, vision and strategic plan for the BIE, the function and responsibilities of their position and organization, and the conditions of Federal Employment. Supervisors and managers have the ultimate responsibility for orienting new employees. The success of new employees may depend on how well supervisors and managers carry out this responsibility. New employees must be provided sufficient time for participation in and completion of orientation activities and programs. Supervisors and managers must assign a sponsor, complete a checklist, and provide feedback on how well the orientation program prepares their employees for their new jobs.
       

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    Ethics:

    • What post-employment restrictions apply to former Federal employees?
      A Summary of Post-Employment Restrictions may be found at: www.doi.gov/ethics/post_employment_activities.html. Additional information may be obtained from your Ethics Officer.
       
    • What is a prohibited source?
      A prohibited source includes any person, company or organization that has business with your agency, is seeking to do business with your agency, conducts operations that are regulated by your agency, or has any interests that may be affected by your official duties.
       
    • What is considered to be a gift?
      A gift may include but is not limited to a gratuity, favor, discount, cash, gift certificate, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other items having monetary value. It also applies to services as well as gifts or training, transportation, local travel, lodgings and meals. Some gifts may be waived, see your Ethics Officer for advice.
       
    • May I use my Government earned frequent flyer miles for personal use?
      Yes. Effective December 28, 2001, Congress signed into law that Federal employees may keep all frequent flyer points and the earned points may be used for personal travel. This includes points earned from lodging, car rental, meals and points earned and saved from past travels. In addition, Federal employees may keep any benefits the airlines may offer when an employee gives up their seat; provided that the employee's duties are not adversely affected and there is no additional cost to the Government.
       
    • May I accept payments from a non-federal source to attend training?
      A provision under Title 31, USC 1353, authorizes the acceptance by executive branch agencies of payments for travel subsistence, and related expenses from non-federal sources in connection with the attendance of employees at certain meetings or similar functions. Prior approval must be granted, see your Ethics Officer for further advice.
       
    • May I serve on a tribal election board or school board?
      If you are a BIE employee, the answer is NO. If you are employed by a grant or contract school, check with your business manager or supervisor for details.
       

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    Individual Development Plans (IDP):

  • What is an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and when should an IDP be prepared?
    An IDP is:
    • A clear statement of an employee's career goals
    • A map for attaining goals that specifies immediate and long-range developmental needs
    • An individually tailored action plan to develop specific competencies (knowledge and skills) needed to improve performance in present position or to prepare for new responsibilities
    • A written plan for scheduling and managing an employee's development
    • A tool for a supervisor to estimate resources needed for employee development training
    • An agreement between the employee and supervisor (based on funds available) to meet the goals of both the employee and organization, and
    • A tool for an organization to development its workforce to meet future needs
    • An IDP should be prepared annually at performance appraisal time for new permanent, full-time employees. An IDP must be completed within 90 days after the employee reports for duty.

     
  • Who is responsible for developing an IDP?
    Both the supervisor and the employee are responsible for developing an IDP. While the employee completes the IDP with the cooperation and assistance of the supervisor, it is the supervisor who approves individual activities on the IDP. The supervisor is responsible for performance improvement and the IDP process is an important tool to achieve critical job requirements and responsibilities; outline the knowledge and skills needed to perform the work; identify an employee's talents and needs; define individual job satisfaction; and improve both organizational and individual performance.
     

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Performance Management:

  • When is the performance appraisal rating period?
    The rating period begins on July 1st of each year. Supervisors have 60 days to develop a new performance plan for each employee. June 30th is the ending date of the rating period, and supervisors have 60 days to finalize the employee's appraisal.
     
  • What is an Employee Performance Appraisal Plan (EPAP)?
    A Performance Plan is the employee's critical results, standards and performance indicators.
     
  • What form is used to document the employee's performance?
    Use Employee Performance Appraisal Plan (EPAP), Form DI-3100 for Non-Supervisory personnel and a DI-3100S for Supervisors. Both forms are available on the Performance Management page of this website.
     
  • Does every employee have to receive training on the DOI Performance Management Training System?
    Yes. Employees must sign off on part A-3 of their EPAP that training has been provided and received. If employees are unable to attend a formal training, then use the Training Material - Understanding Performance Management, which is available on the Performance Management page of this website.
     
  • How often do supervisors have to meet with employees concerning their EPAP?
    At least twice during the rating period for bargaining unit employees and at least once during the rating period for non-bargaining unit employees.
     
  • How long must an employee serve in a position to become eligible for a rating?
    90 days from the date an employee is issued an EPAP.
     
  • How long must a supervisor serve in his or her position to rate employees?
    90 days from the date the supervisor establishes an EPAP for employees.
     
  • What is the difference between poor performance and misconduct?
    Performance is "I can't" and Misconduct is "I won't"
     
  • How do I address poor performance?
    1. Communicate expectations and performance problems.
    2. Provide employees with an opportunity to improve.
    3. What action to take? (Call your Employee/Labor Relations Specialist)
     
  • How do I issue a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)?
    Call your assigned ER/LR Specialist.
     
  • Can an employee appeal his or her final EPAP rating?
    Yes. When possible, the employee and rating official should informally attempt to resolve any disagreement about the performance appraisal and/or rating. This informal discussion should take place within 7 calendar days of the employee's receipt of the EPAP form, and the rating official's decision must be communicated to the employee either verbally or in writing, within 7 calendar days of the informal reconsideration discussion.

    If an agreement cannot be reached informally, the employee may request a formal reconsideration of their rating through the servicing Human Resources Office.

    To request a formal reconsideration, the employee should send a written request to the Human Resources Office within 7 calendar days of receipt of decision of the informal meeting. Please refer to the Reconsideration Process located in the Performance Appraisal Handbook for appropriate formal reconsideration procedures.
     

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    Position Description & Classification:

  • How can a new job category standard be added?
    Pursuant to 62 BIAM 11.15, "New job categories may be established only by the Director. To request a new job category, an Education Line Officer must submit to the Director a proposed definition and statement of qualifications in the same format as existing job categories. Justification and rationale must also be submitted to support the establishment of the new category. If approved, the position category and qualifications will be issued for inclusion in the Education Position Categories and Qualification Handbook or will be authorized for a specific position only, at the discretion of the Director."

    To ensure sound and consistent job categorization system, the proposed new job category description along with the justification and rationale are to be submitted through the Education Line Officer to Human Resources Services, Albuquerque, NM. Human Resources Services will conduct an analysis of the proposal, survey the Education Line Officers for comments, and based on the results, recommend approval/disapproval of the new Job Category to the Director, OIEP. Once approved, it will be distributed for immediate use. Human Resources will maintain the original job category description.
     
  • Is a position description required for P.L. 95-561 Education Contract Personnel position?
    Virtually every nonpolitical position in the Federal Government requires a position description. For Contract Education positions, Education Line Officers as outlined in 62 BIAM 11.15 (C), are delegated the authority to establish education positions in approved job categories for their line office and schools. In reference to policy memorandum, "Position Descriptions" (dated September 25, 1997), is required for all positions in the Office of Indian Education Programs, including schools and dormitories.

    The supervisor is responsible for assigning duties and responsibilities, writing position descriptions, and maintaining accurate position descriptions. The position description should address the major duties and responsibilities, level of responsibility, education and experience requirements, and physical requirements. Any special requirements such as licenses or certificates, or pre-employment medical screening should be included. In addition to business managers locally, classification staff of Human Resources Services is available to offer technical advice and assistance, but they have only a general impression of what the duties of the position might be. Management must take the lead and provide the facts. In some cases, like a revision, an employee input is a valuable resource that should not be overlooked. The writing of a position description, therefore, is a cooperative effort with management, business managers and classification staff, and, in certain cases, the employee input to the final product.
     
  • Is an organization chart required to process position actions under P.L. 95-561?
    In 62 BIAM 11.17, there is a requirement for a current organizational chart to process position actions. According to this subpart, Education Line Officers are responsible for maintaining current organizational charts and functional statements. Organizational charts are to show the position number, title, pay plan, series or job category, and pay level or grade for each funded position. The school principal or other supervisor, school board, and appropriate Education Line Officer should sign it. The same section specifies, "No personnel action will be processed unless the position involved is covered by an organizational chart approved by the appropriate Education Line Officer."
     
  • How is a position of mixed job categories categorized?
    General classification concept governing position involving more than one kind of work (i.e., different job categories) is normally classified on the basis of the paramount requirements and the highest level of work performed. Often the appropriate series is based on the highest-pay level of work that is performed for a majority of the time, e.g., at least 51 percent of the time. However, the highest level of work may not be the most appropriate job category for the position. Therefore, a job category should be determined only after considering the purpose of the position, paramount qualification required, sources of recruitment and line of progression.
     
  • Under Title 5, if more work is assigned to a position, can it be upgraded?
    Each grade level represents a range of duties and responsibilities. The work of a position may expand and even become more difficult without affecting the grade. For example, several positions in a given organization may look identical on paper, sharing the same series and grade, but there may, in fact, be some variations in how the work is performed. One of the positions may be in the lower part of the grade range, another in the middle, and the third in the upper part of the range. To a limited degree, the standard used to evaluate the work will accommodate shades of difference from one position to another. Adding more of the same kinds of work or increasing the volume of work, will not raise the grade. The assignment of different kinds of duties or increased complexity in some cases may have an impact on the title, series or grade of the position.
     

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