One question I asked about this is about mobility agreements. Some workers must sign mobility agreements as a condition of employment. If the worker refuses to move, he or she may be dismissed because he or she does not meet a condition of employment. This leads to the mistaken belief that only workers with mobility contracts can be asked to relocate. Other staff may also be asked to relocate. An agency cannot enter into an agreement on relocation incentives during a period of service defined by the service contract to encourage the hiring of a staff member or by a previously authorized relocation incentive service contract. An agency may set up a moving incentive service contract during a period of service established by a previously approved retention incentive service contract, or a staff member receives pre-approved retention incentive payments without a service agreement. Before paying an incentive to relocate, an agency must develop an incentive plan for relocation. The plan must include the appointment of officials authorized to verify and approve the payment of relocation incentives, the appointment of officials entitled to waive the reimbursement of an incentive to relocate; categories of workers who may not receive relocation incentives, documents necessary to determine that a position may be difficult to fill, requirements for determining the level of relocation incentive, authorized payment methods, service agreement requirements (including criteria for determining the length of a period of service) , the terms of termination of a service contract and the obligations of the Agency and the worker if a service contract is terminated), as well as documentation and registration requirements. Unless the Head of the Agency decides otherwise, an incentive plan to relocate the Agency must apply uniformly throughout the Agency.
An agency may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the authorization requirement if the worker is a member of a group of workers subject to a mobility agreement or when a larger organizational unit is transferred to a new service. In the context of such a waiver, an agency must indicate the group of covered workers, the conditions under which the waiver is allowed and the period during which the waiver can be applied. Categories of workers must be allowed for incentives to relocate according to the same criteria as those that apply to individuals. (see 5 CFR 575.208 (b).) In addition to installing a residence on the new geographic site prior to payment of a relocation incentive, a worker must reside at the new geographic site for the duration of the service contract. A relocation incentive is terminated for employees who do not have a residence on the new geographic site for the duration of the service contract. At regular intervals during the service contract, staff may be required to provide proof of residence. Examples of proof of residence are a rental agreement, proof of the purchase of a property, an electricity bill or a similar document to ensure that the employee is still on the new site. When agencies move a small number of employees, the effect is usually not serious. If an officer wants to move three employees and two say no, the job opening is not serious.
If the trains contain a large number, the problems may increase. If an agency has 1,000 jobs moving and there are only 300 people involved, the impact on the mission can be considerable. The occupation of hundreds of jobs can be an excessive increase for some agencies and certain types of jobs. Agencies can take steps to mitigate the damage by gradually moving over a period of years, not just months, and increase telework for jobs that do not need to be located in a specific location.