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e-CFR data is current as of September 25, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XIVPart 1650 → Subpart A


Title 29: Labor
PART 1650—DEBT COLLECTION


Subpart A—Procedures for the Collection of Debts by Salary Offset


Contents
§1650.101   Purpose.
§1650.102   Delegation of authority.
§1650.103   Scope.
§1650.104   Definitions.
§1650.105   Notice of Debt.
§1650.106   Right to inspect and copy records related to the debt.
§1650.107   Voluntary repayment agreements.
§1650.108   Waiver.
§1650.109   Hearing.
§1650.110   Implementation of salary offset.
§1650.111   Recovery from other payments due a separated employee.
§1650.112   Interest, penalties, and administrative costs.
§1650.113   Non-waiver of rights by payments.
§1650.114   Refunds.

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§1650.101   Purpose.

This subpart sets forth the procedures to be followed in the collection by salary offset of debts owed to the United States under 5 U.S.C. 5514. The general standards and procedures governing the collection, compromise, termination, and referral to the Department of Justice of claims for money and property that are prescribed in the regulations issued jointly by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General of the United States, the Federal Claims Collection Standards (31 CFR Parts 900-904), apply to the administrative collection activities of the EEOC. Debts owed by current federal employees to Government travel charge card contractors will be collected in accordance with the regulations issued by the General Services Administration at 41 CFR part 301-54.

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§1650.102   Delegation of authority.

The Chair delegated to the Chief Human Capital Officer the authority to collect debts owed by current EEOC employees, and to the Chief Financial Officer the authority to collect debts owed by former EEOC employees and non-EEOC employees.

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§1650.103   Scope.

(a) This subpart applies to the collection of certain debts by salary offset against an employee's disposable pay.

(1) This subpart applies to collections by the EEOC from:

(i) Federal employees who are indebted to the EEOC; and

(ii) EEOC employees who are indebted to other agencies.

(2) This subpart does not apply:

(i) To debts or claims arising under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), the Social Security Act 42 U.S.C. 301 et seq., or the tariff laws of the United States;

(ii) In any case where collection of a debt is explicitly provided for or prohibited by another statute (e.g., travel advances in 5 U.S.C. 5705 and employee training expenses in 5 U.S.C. 4108).

(b) Nothing in this subpart precludes the compromise, suspension, or termination of collection actions where appropriate under the standards implementing the Federal Claims Collection Act, 31 U.S.C. 3711, namely, 31 CFR Parts 900-904; or the waiver of a debt where appropriate under 5 U.S.C. 5584 or 5 U.S.C. 5524a.

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§1650.104   Definitions.

For the purpose of this subpart, terms are defined as follows:

(a) Agency means:

(1) An Executive agency as defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, including the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Postal Rate Commission;

(2) A military department as defined in section 102 of title 5, United States Code;

(3) An agency or court in the judicial branch, including a court as defined in section 610 of title 28, United States Code, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation;

(4) An agency of the legislative branch, including the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives; and

(5) Other independent establishments that are entities of the Federal Government.

(b) Commission means those officers, employees, and agents of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who are responsible for debt collection activities.

(c) Debt means money owed by an employee of the Federal Government to an agency of the Federal Government, including direct loans, loans insured or guaranteed by the United States and all other amounts due the Government from fees, leases, rents, royalties, services, sales of real or personal property, overpayments, penalties, damages, interest, fines and forfeitures (except those arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice), erroneous salary payments, and all other similar amounts owing to the Federal Government.

(d) Disposable pay means that part of current basic pay, special pay, incentive pay, retired pay, retainer pay, or, in the case of an employee not entitled to basic pay, other authorized pay remaining after the deduction of any amount required by law to be withheld. Deductions described in 5 CFR 581.105(b) through (f) will be used to determine disposable pay subject to salary offset.

(e) Employee means a current employee of an agency, including a current member of the Armed Forces or a Reserve of the Armed Forces (Reserves).

(f) Salary Offset means the collection of a debt under 5 U.S.C. 5514 by deduction(s) at one or more officially established pay intervals from the current pay account of an employee without his or her consent.

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§1650.105   Notice of Debt.

(a) Timing and contents of notice. Notice of the Commission's intent to collect a debt by salary offset shall be given at least 30 days before salary offset deductions are to begin. The written notice shall include the following:

(1) The Commission's determination that a debt is owed, including the origin, nature, and amount of the debt;

(2) The Commission's intention to collect the debt by means of deduction from the employee's current disposable pay account until the debt and all accumulated interest, penalties, and administrative costs are paid in full;

(3) The estimated amount, frequency, beginning date, and duration of the intended deductions;

(4) An explanation of the Commission's policy concerning interest, penalties, and administrative costs;

(5) The employee's right to inspect and copy the Commission's records pertaining to the debt or to receive copies of such records if the employee is unable personally to inspect the records, due to geographical or other constraints;

(6) The opportunity to propose a voluntary repayment schedule and agreement that is acceptable to the Commission in lieu of the proposed offset;

(7) The employee's right to a hearing conducted by an impartial hearing official (an Administrative Law Judge or an individual not under the supervision or control of the Chair) with respect to the existence and amount of the debt claimed or the repayment schedule (i.e., the percentage of disposable pay to be deducted each pay period); the method and time period for requesting a hearing; that the timely request for a hearing will stay the commencement of collection proceedings; and that a final decision will be issued at the earliest practical date, but not later than 60 days after receipt of the hearing request;

(8) The employee's right to request a waiver under 5 U.S.C. 5584 or 5 U.S.C. 5524a, or compromise under 31 U.S.C. 3711;

(9) The making of any knowingly false or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence may subject the employee to:

(i) Disciplinary procedures appropriate under 5 U.S.C. chapter 75, 5 CFR part 752, or any other applicable statutes or regulations;

(ii) Penalties under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., or under any other applicable statutory authority; or

(iii) Criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. 286, 287, 1001, and 1002 or under any other applicable statutory authority; and

(10) Unless there are applicable contractual or statutory provisions to the contrary, amounts paid on or deducted from debts that are later waived or found not to be owed to the United States will be promptly refunded to the employee.

(b) Exception to the advance notice requirement. Advance notice under paragraph (a) of this section is not required:

(1) Where an adjustment to pay arises out of an employee's election of coverage, or change in coverage, under a Federal benefits program requiring periodic deductions from the employee's pay and the amount to be recovered was accumulated over four pay periods or less;

(2) Where a routine intra-agency adjustment of pay is made to correct an overpayment of pay attributable to clerical or administrative errors or delays in processing pay documents, if the overpayment occurred within the four pay periods preceding the adjustment and, at the time of such adjustment, or as soon thereafter as practical, the individual is provided written notice of the nature and the amount of the adjustment and a point of contact for contesting such adjustment;

(3) Where any adjustment of pay to collect a debt amounting to $50 or less is made, if, at the time of such adjustment, or as soon thereafter as practical, the individual is provided written notice of the nature and the amount of the adjustment and a point of contact for contesting such adjustment; or

(4) Where an employee consents to withholdings from his or her current pay account.

(c) Receipt of notice of debt. The Notice of Debt will be sent by certified mail, return-receipt requested. The date on which the return-receipt is signed is the date on which the employee is deemed to have received the Notice of Debt.

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§1650.106   Right to inspect and copy records related to the debt.

An employee who desires to inspect or copy Commission records related to the debt must send a request to the official designated in the Notice of Debt. In response, the Commission will notify the employee of the location and time when the employee may inspect and copy the records or send copies of such records to the employee.

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§1650.107   Voluntary repayment agreements.

(a) In response to a Notice of Debt, an employee may propose a written repayment schedule in lieu of the proposed salary offset. Any proposal under this subsection must be received by the office of the official designated in the notice within 15 calendar days after receipt of the Notice of Debt.

(b) It is within the Commission's discretion to accept or reject a voluntary repayment proposal. The Commission shall send the employee a written decision.

(c) If the Commission decides that the proposed repayment schedule is unacceptable, and that the written proposed repayment schedule was timely received, the employee shall have a further 15 days from the date he or she received the decision on the proposed repayment schedule in which to file a request for a hearing.

(d) If the Commission decides that the proposed repayment schedule is acceptable, the agreement shall be put in writing and signed by both the employee and the Commission.

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§1650.108   Waiver.

The Commission may waive debts, to the extent authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5584, arising out of erroneous payments of pay, when collection would be against equity and good conscience and not in the best interests of the United States, and so long as there is no indication of fraud, fault, or lack of good faith on the part of the employee. Interest, penalties, and administrative costs may also be waived under 31 U.S.C. 3717(h) and 31 CFR 901.9(g), on a case-by-case basis, if collection would be against equity and good conscience and not in the best interests of the United States.

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§1650.109   Hearing.

(a) Request for a hearing. An employee who wants a hearing on the existence of the debt, its amount, or on the proposed offset schedule must send a written request to the official designated in the Notice of Debt. The request for a hearing must be received by the designated office on or before the 15th calendar day following receipt by the employee of the Notice of Debt. The request must be signed by the employee and must contain a brief summary of the facts, evidence, and witnesses, if any, that the employee believes support his or her position. If the employee wants an oral hearing, the request must also explain why the matter cannot be resolved by review of documentary evidence alone (e.g., how an issue of credibility or veracity is involved). Because proof of the existence or amount of a debt rarely requires an evaluation of the credibility of witnesses, oral hearings will only rarely be granted. The timely filing of a request for hearing shall automatically stay the commencement of collection proceedings.

(b) Failure to timely submit. If the request for hearing is late, the Commission may still grant the request if the employee can show that the delay was the result of circumstances beyond his or her control or that he or she failed to receive actual notice of the filing deadline.

(c) Procedure—(1) Hearing official. The hearing official will be an Administrative Law Judge or an individual who is not under the supervision or control of the Chair.

(2) Notice. The hearing official shall notify the employee whether the hearing will be oral or documentary. If the hearing will be oral, the notice shall set forth the date, time, and location of the hearing, which must occur no more than 30 days after the request is received. If the hearing will be conducted by examination of documents, the employee shall be notified that he or she should submit evidence and arguments in writing to the hearing official by a specified date after which the record shall be closed. This date shall give the employee reasonable time to submit documentation.

(3) Oral hearing. The hearing official may grant a request for an oral hearing if he or she determines that the issues raised by the employee cannot be resolved by review of documentary evidence alone (e.g., when credibility or veracity are at issue). An oral hearing is not required to be an adversarial adjudication, and the hearing official is not required to apply rules of evidence. Oral hearings may take the form of, but are not limited to:

(i) Informal conferences with the hearing official in which the employee and agency representative are given a full opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and argument;

(ii) Informal meetings in which the hearing examiner interviews the employee and, as necessary, others with relevant evidence; or

(iii) Formal written submissions followed by an opportunity for oral presentation. Witnesses who testify in oral hearings shall do so under oath or affirmation.

(4) Documentary hearing. If an oral hearing is not necessary, the hearing official shall make the determination based upon a review of the written record.

(d) Record. The hearing official shall maintain a summary record of any hearing conducted under this section.

(e) Date of decision. The hearing official shall issue a written decision as soon as practicable after the hearing, but not later than 60 days after the date on which the request for hearing was received by the Commission, unless the hearing was delayed at the request of the employee, in which case the 60 day decision period shall be extended by the number of days by which the hearing was postponed.

(f) Content of decision. The written decision shall include:

(1) A summary of the facts concerning the origin, nature, and amount of the debt;

(2) The hearing official's findings, analysis, and conclusions; and

(3) The revised terms of any repayment schedule, if applicable.

(g) Failure to appear. In the absence of good cause, if the employee or the representative of the agency fails to appear, the hearing official shall proceed with the hearing as scheduled, and make his or her determination based upon the oral testimony presented and the documentation submitted by both parties.

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§1650.110   Implementation of salary offset.

(a) Method of collection. A debt will be collected in a lump sum or by installment deductions at officially established pay intervals from an employee's current pay account, unless the employee and the Commission agree in writing to alternate arrangements for repayment.

(b) Source of deductions. Deductions will be made only from basic pay, special pay, incentive pay, retired pay, retainer pay or in the case of an employee not entitled to basic pay, other authorized pay.

(c) Duration of deductions. Debts will be collected in one lump sum when possible to minimize interest costs and administrative processing fees for the employee. If the employee is financially unable to pay in one lump sum and the amount of debt exceeds 15 percent of the employee's disposable pay for an officially established pay interval, collection by offset will be made in installments. Such installment deductions will be made over a period not greater than the anticipated period of active duty or employment of the employee and, except in rare circumstances, not to exceed 3 years.

(d) Limitation on amount of deductions. The size and frequency of installment deductions will bear a reasonable relationship to the size of the debt and the employee's ability to pay. The amount deducted for any period, however, will not exceed 15 percent of the disposable pay from which the deduction is made, unless the employee has agreed in writing to the deduction of a greater amount. Installment payments of less than $25 will be accepted only in the most unusual circumstances.

(e) When deductions may begin. (1) If the employee files a timely request for hearing, or a proposed voluntary repayment agreement, deductions will begin in the next bi-weekly salary payment after a final decision is issued on the request or repayment proposal.

(2) If the employee fails to submit a timely request for hearing or proposal for a voluntary repayment agreement, deductions will commence in the next bi-weekly salary payment after the expiration of 30 days following the employee's receipt of the Notice of Debt under 1650.105(c).

(f) Lump-sum deduction from final check. When the employee retires, resigns, or ends his or her period of active duty before the debt is collected in full, the employee's debt will be automatically deducted from the final payments (e.g., final salary payment, lump-sum leave, etc.) due the employee to the extent necessary to liquidate the debt. If the employee's final pay is not sufficient to permit all deductions to be made, the order of precedence for the deductions will be: Retirement and FICA; Medicare; Federal income taxes; health benefits; group life insurance; indebtedness due to the United States; State income taxes; and voluntary deductions and allotments.

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§1650.111   Recovery from other payments due a separated employee.

When a debt owed to EEOC has not been completely liquidated through salary offset and the employee has separated from EEOC, the Commission shall, pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3716 and the Federal Claims Collection Standards, 31 CFR parts 900-904, seek to offset the balance of the debt against any financial payment due the employee from the U.S. Government.

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§1650.112   Interest, penalties, and administrative costs.

Unless a debt is paid in full within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Debt, the Commission will charge interest at the rate established in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717 effective on the date of delinquency, and a processing charge pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3717. The Commission will charge a penalty, pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3717(e)(2) not to exceed 6 percent a year, on the amount due on a debt that is delinquent more than 90 days. This charge shall accrue from the date of delinquency. If an employee files a timely proposal for a repayment agreement, request for waiver, or a request for a hearing, interest, penalties, and administrative costs will be suspended during the time the Commission is considering such request(s).

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§1650.113   Non-waiver of rights by payments.

An employee's payment of all or any portion of a debt collected by salary offset will not be construed as a waiver of any right the employee may have under 5 U.S.C. 5514 or any other provision of contract or law, unless there are statutory or contractual provisions to the contrary.

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§1650.114   Refunds.

Amounts paid, or deducted by salary offset, by an employee for a debt that is waived or otherwise not found owing to the United States will be refunded promptly to the employee. Refunds do not bear interest unless required by law or contract.

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