District government agencies shall eliminate or reduce to the lowest level possible all hazards, physical hardships, and working conditions of an unusual nature. When such action does not overcome the unusual nature of the hazard, physical hardship, or working condition, local environment pay is warranted. The purpose of this instruction is to provide the procedural guidance for the payment of local environment pay.
NOTE: This issuance supersedes DPM issuance I-11B-90 effected April 11, 2017.
Local Environment Pay
District employees at the grade level 14 and below may qualify for local environment pay when performing duties involving unusually severe working conditions or hazards.
- The unusually severe working conditions or hazards for which local environment pay may be authorized must fall within a local environment pay category authorized in the Schedule for Local Environment Pay Categories and Rates (Schedule) (see Attachment 1). Positions authorized to receive local environment pay are contained in the Approved Positions Eligible for Local Environment Pay (see Attachment 2).
- Local environment pay is not limited to wage grade (blue-collar) positions.
- Local environment pay is paid for the hours in which the employee is in a pay status on the day the environmental duty is performed, and only for the hours in which the employee is exposed to the unusually severe working conditions or hazards.
- Local environment pay will be paid either on the basis of full-time exposure or part-time exposure.
- Payment for local environment work will not exceed 27% for any category
Requesting Local Environment Pay
Agencies, labor organizations, or employees must receive approval from the Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) in writing before payment of local environment pay. Agencies submitting a LEP request must use the LEP Request Form. The request must contain the following:
- Inclusion of information on the positions(s) and working condition(s); such as:
- The position title, series, grade, position number for which the local environment pay authorization is desired;
- The number of employees to whom the local environment pay would apply;
- A detailed description of the specific exposure (hazard or physical hardship) that is new or different from what is described in the position description; and
- Written confirmation that based on the duties and responsibilities of the position(s), neither the agency nor the employee can control the hazard or physical hardship; thus, the risk is not reduced to a less than significant level.
- Requests received by labor organizations and employees must be submitted through the employee’s agency for review. The request must include the information specified in section 1(a) above in addition to any other information outlined in the LEP Request Form. The request must also include the labor organization’s or employee’s recommendation, and agency’s recommendation.
Submission of Request to DCHR
If an agency wishes to request Local Environment Pay (LEP) for a position(s), the following steps must be completed:
- All requests for local environment pay for agencies under the personnel authority of the Mayor must be submitted to DCHR using the LEP Request Form.
- DCHR shall review the request and supporting documentation to determine whether local environment pay is warranted.
- DCHR shall coordinate requests for local environment pay with the Office of Risk Management (ORM), as needed. ORM shall conduct an evaluation of the worksite-based on the request to assess existing environmental conditions (hazards or physical hardships) at the worksite. After the assessment has been completed, a written report on ORM’s findings shall be completed that includes the worksite conditions, workers practices, and recommendations for reducing risks or hazards to acceptable levels, if applicable. The written report shall be submitted to DCHR upon completion.
- The time period for completion of the assessment will vary based on ORM’s determination of the type of assessment that must be conducted. ORM will work with agencies to determine the timeline for completing the assessment and submission of the report.
- The Director of DCHR shall make a final determination, and notify the requestor, upon receipt of the written report from the ORM.
DUTY INVOLVING PHYSICAL HARDSHIP: Duty that may not in itself be hazardous, but causes extreme physical discomfort or distress and is not adequately alleviated by protective or mechanical devices, such as duty involving exposure to extreme temperatures for a long period, arduous physical exertion, or exposure to fumes, dust, or noise that causes nausea, skin, eye, ear, or nose irritation.
HAZARDOUS DUTY: Duties performed when an accident could result in serious injury or death, such as duty performed on a high structure where protective facilities are not used or on an open structure where adverse conditions exist.
Positions Approved for Local Environment Pay
- Employees in positions approved to receive local environment pay shall be paid at the rate listed on the attached Schedule.
- Local environment pay shall not be paid to an employee when the environmental duty has been taken into account in the classification of his or her position, without regard to whether the environmental duty is grade controlling; unless, payment has been approved as specified in this instruction.
- Each employee who is officially occupying a position where local environment pay is authorized, or who is temporarily assigned to perform work involved in that position, shall be paid the local environment pay only when performing duties that expose him or her to an applicable environmental situation.
- When an employee who is receiving local environment pay on the basis of exposure is temporarily assigned to perform work involved in another position for which a higher or a lower local environment pay rate is authorized, the following shall apply:
- He or she shall be paid the higher or lower local environment pay rate for those hours of duty, or fraction thereof, that he or she is exposed to the environmental situation specified for the other position; and
- He or she shall be paid the local environment pay authorized for his or her position for those hours of duty, or fraction thereof, that he or she is exposed to the environmental situation specified for his or her regular position.
- The Director of the DCHR shall conduct periodic audits of the positions for which local environment pay is authorized to assure that payments are being made in conformance with the regulations.
Local Environment Pay Categories and Rates
- Local environment pay rates are authorized only when the exposure is under the circumstances described in the category listed on the attached Schedule. The examples included for some of the categories in the attachment are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be exclusive of other exposures that may be encountered under the circumstances that describe the listed category.
- The Director of the DCHR will be responsible for any amendments to the Schedule, and requests for amendment(s) to the categories in the Schedule shall include the following:
- The type of exposure that creates a severe hazard or working condition of an unusually severe nature;
- The degree to which the employee is exposed to the severe hazard or working condition of an unusually severe nature;
- The length of time in which the exposure will continue to exist;
- The degree to which control may be exercised over the severe hazard or working condition of an unusually severe nature; and
- The request shall also include a recommended local environment pay rate to be established, the position(s) to which the particular environmental situation applies, the number of employees involved, and estimated annual cost to the agency if the request is approved.
- Any amendments made to categories in the Schedule shall:
- Become effective on the first day of the first biweekly pay period following the adoption thereof; and
- Be incorporated in the District Personnel Manual (or any other procedural manual developed) of the positions for which local environment pay rates are authorized.
Payment of Local Environment Pay
Each agency must evaluate its situations against the guidelines in the Schedule to determine whether the situation is covered by one or more of the defined categories.
- When the situation is determined to be covered by one or more of the defined categories (even though not covered by a specific illustrative example), the authorized local environment pay is paid for the appropriate category.
- When the situation is not covered by one of the defined categories but is unusual in nature so as to warrant payment of a local environment pay, a request must be submitted to the DCHR for consideration and approval of payment of local environment pay.
Computing Local Environment Pay
- Computation of local environment pay consist of
- The local environment rate is determined by multiplying the percentage authorized for the exposure by the 2nd step for grade RW-10 on the current Regular Non-Supervisory Wage Service Rate Schedule for Compensation Unit 2, counting ½ cent and over as one cent.
- The amount of local environment pay is determined by multiplying the local environment rate specified in section 1(a) above by the number of hours of exposure to the environmental situation.
- Local environment is paid for a minimum of 1 hour plus each additional ½ hours increment.
- An employee that is exposed to a situation for which local environment pay is authorized shall be entitled to pay regardless of whether he or she has a full-time, part-time, or intermittent tour of duty; is on regular assignment or detail; or is exposed during straight-time or overtime hours of work.
- An employee subjected at the same time to more than one (1) applicable environmental situation shall be paid for that exposure that results in the highest local environment pay rate but shall not be paid more than one (1) local environment pay rate for the same hours of work.
- Local environmental pay shall not be considered basic pay for any purpose except for computing overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Termination of Payment of Local Environment Pay
Payment of the local environment pay to an employee will be terminated:
- When authorization for the local environment pay is removed from his or her position;
- When he or she leaves the position for which local environment pay was authorized; or
- During a temporary assignment to perform work involved in another position for which local environment pay has not been authorized.
Authority and Applicability
- Authority: § 1136 of Chapter 11B of the D.C. personnel regulations, Compensation.
- Applicability: The provisions of this instruction apply to those District agencies that are subordinate to the Mayor’s personnel authority. Other personnel authorities or independent agencies may adopt any or all of these procedures to provide guidance to employees under their respective agencies.
Collective Bargaining Agreement
The provisions of a collective bargaining agreement shall take precedence over the provisions of this instruction for those employees covered by the agreement, to the extent that there is a conflict.
For additional information concerning this instruction, employees are encouraged to contact DCHR’s Policy and Compliance Administration, Compensation Unit, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Attachment 1 - Schedule for Local Environment Pay Categories and Rates
- Attachment 2 - Approved Positions for Local Environment Pay
Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on May 9, 2022, midnight