Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program

Department of Army Delegation. By Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) memorandum of November 18, 1996, the IPA Mobility Program was delegated to the Major Army Commands (MACOMs) and Independent Reporting Activities (IRAs). The MACOMs and IRAs may redelegate the authority to the lowest practicable level.

General. By Executive Order 11589 of April 1, 1971, the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (USOPM) is permitted to issue regulations to administer the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal Government, State government, local government, institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments and other eligible organizations. The following guidance on Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program assignments between Federal agencies and non-Federal entities was effective May 29, 1997.

Definitions. The definitions for Federal agency, State government, local government, institution of higher education, Indian tribal government, and other eligible organizations can be found in 5 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 334, Section 334.102 (CFR 334). A list of automatically eligible Federally funded research and development centers are maintained by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Approval/Certification of Organizations. Federal agencies must approve and certify non-Federal entities for participation in the IPA Mobility Program and communicate directly with them. When a Federal agency approves and certifies a non-Federal organization, the certification is permanent and applicable throughout the Federal Government. Another agency has the discretion to accept the certification. If previous certification is not acceptable, the non-Federal entity must submit the appropriate paperwork for review. If a non-Federal entity is denied certification, it may appeal the denial to OPM. As of May 29, 1997, non-federal entities wishing to participate in the IPA Mobility Program must be certified or recertified when they enter into a new IPA agreement. Any non-Federal entity in a current assignment on May 29, 1997, may complete the assignments.

A Federal agency may consider the certification of a non-Federal entity made by another Federal agency, but must verify the certification before further action can be taken to proceed with a new, modified, or extended IPA assignment. The Federal agency is actually verifying "eligibility," not "notprofit status."

Presently a consolidated list of certified non-Federal entities is not available. However, each non-Federal entity should have in their possession a copy of their certification. If verification cannot be made, re-certification will be necessary.

Requirements for Certification, re-Certification. The Federal agency entering into an IPA Mobility Program assignment with a non-Federal entity is responsible for certifying the eligibility of the entity. Written requests for certification should include copies of the organization's:

(1) Articles of incorporation;
(2) Bylaws;
(3) Internal Revenue Service nonprofit statement; and
(4) Any other information which indicates that the organization has as a principal function of offering professional advisory, research, educational, or development services, or related services to governments or universities concerned with public management.

Federally funded research and development centers which appear on a master list maintained by the NSF are eligible to enter into mobility agreements.

Reconsideration of Certification. Any non-Federal entity that is denied certification may request consideration by OPM.

Requirements for Written Agreement. The Federal agency and the non-Federal entity and the assigned employee shall enter into a written agreement before an assignment is made. The written agreement shall record the obligations and responsibilities of the parties as specified in 5 U. S. Code 3373-3375. The Federal agency must maintain a copy of each new assignment agreement form as well as any extension or modification to the agreement. The meaning of assignment is addressed in Title 5, United States Code, Chapter 33, Subchapter VI.

Length of Assignment. Federal employees may be assigned for up to two years and extended for an additional two years by the appropriate official, or his or her designee, as defined by the MACOMs/IRAs. After four continuous years on an IPA Mobility Program, the Federal employee must be returned to his or her organization from which originally assigned for at least 12 months. Federal employees are limited to a total of six years on an IPA Mobility Program in their entire Federal career. The 6-year limitation does not apply to non-Federal employees.

Obligated Service Requirement. When a Federal employee accepts an IPA Mobility Program assignment, he or she agrees to a service obligation as a condition of acceptance. The length of the obligated service requirement with the Federal Government begins upon completion of the IPA Mobility Program assignment and is for a period equal to the length of the IPA assignment. If the Federal employee fails to fulfill the service obligation, he or she will need to reimburse the costs of the IPA Mobility Program assignment. Costs for salary and benefits are not included.

Waivers. Refer to Federal Register, Volume 62, Number 82, of April 29, 1997 and the references cited below for any specific exceptions to the requirements of the IPA Mobility Program. The 90 day employment requirement CANNOT be waived.

Appointment/Detail. An individual on an IPA Mobility Program assignment from a non-Federal entity can perform all duties without regard to whether he or she is appointed or detailed.

Detail/Leave Without Pay. A Federal employee assigned to a non-Federal entity is either on a detail or leave without pay.

Processing Actions. Follow the instructions in USOPM Operating Manual, The Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.

Content last reviewed: 6/8/2006-DLC

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This page was last revised: 9/29/2011