Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if it is snowing on the day of my class?

Our class policy follows the NIH Operating Status per OPM’s guidance.  Please monitor the class status on the NIH Training Center Government Closure or Delay page.

How can an employee become a member of the Leave Bank?

An eligible employee can enroll during an enrollment period using the “Leave Bank Membership” tab in ITAS. Existing employees may enroll during the annual fall open enrollment, which runs from mid-November to mid-December. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.  A membership contribution of one pay period’s accrual of annual leave is required.  Visit our membership page for more information.

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides covered employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave without pay (LWOP) during any 12 month period for certain family and medical needs.

Where is my certificate from the class I just attended?

Course completion certifications from the NIH Training Center are in your LMS Account under Learning in Completed Learning. Here are some helpful guides to get you through LMS. If you have any technical difficulties with access, please see the LMS Helpdesk.

What is the Leave Bank?

A Leave Bank is a pooled fund of donated annual and restored leave. Eligible members draw leave from the bank to cover time out the office due to a personal or family medical emergency.

Our IC wants a class for just our employees at our location. What do I do to make this happen?

Great! The NIH Training Center offers training to ICs at their locations. This is called Customized Training. We can provide you with all the pertinent information discuss what training best fits your needs. Contact the NIH Training Center to arrange a consultation with one of our Program Managers at 301-496-6211 or send an email.

If an employee is unable to make the Leave Bank membership contribution, are they unable to join?

If the applicant doesn't have sufficient leave to make the membership contribution or they're a VLTP or Leave Bank recipient, the membership contribution is automatically waived.

Who may donate leave to the Leave Bank?

Any Federal civilian employee. Visit our Leave Bank donation page for more information.

When can I enroll and become a member of the Leave Bank?

During the annual open enrollment period, which runs from mid-November through mid-December. The open enrollment period will last for at least 30 calendar days. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.

How much leave must I contribute to join the Leave Bank?

The yearly contribution amount will be one pay period’s worth of annual leave based on the employee’s annual leave category. This minimum contribution requirement also applies to part-time employees.

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming a Leave Bank recipient?

An applicant must:

  • Be a current Leave Bank member;
  • Experience a qualifying medical emergency, which is projected to result in at least 24 hours of non-pay status; and
  • Complete and submit a Leave Recipient package to the Leave Bank Office no later than 30 calendar days following the termination of the medical emergency.
Can an employee apply to be a recipient in both the Leave Bank and the VLTP?

Yes. Since the Leave Bank provides 100% of the medical need up to the yearly hourly caps (480 hours for personal medical emergencies and/or 240 hours for family medical emergencies), the only time a recipient would need leave under VLTP, in addition to the Leave Bank, is if he/she exceeds the cap.

Will I need to join the Leave Bank each year to continue my membership?

Once you join the Leave Bank, you will automatically be re-enrolled each year unless you take action in ITAS to opt out during the open enrollment period.

Who is eligible to become a member of Leave Bank?

Federal civilian employees of the NIH.

How do I request a retirement estimate from my Benefits Specialist?

A request for a retirement estimate must be submitted on-line.  Upon entering your information, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Submit" to submit your request.  Upon receipt of your request, your Benefits Specialist will prepare a retirement annuity estimate and send it to you. 

What is the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey?

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is an annual survey administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It is a tool that measures Federal Government employees' perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions characterizing successful organizations are present in their agencies. This is an opportunity for our employees to candidly share their perceptions about their work experiences, organizations, and leaders. The ultimate goal of the survey is to provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with information to build on strengths and improve challenge areas.

NIH Training Center’s Retirement Seminars

Pre-Retirement Seminar - FERS

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Pre-Retirement Seminar-FERS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

Pre-Retirement Seminar - CSRS

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Pre-Retirement Seminar-CSRS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

Mid-Career Financial Planning Seminar-FERS

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Mid-Career Financial Planning Seminar-FERS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

What are NIH plans for implementing competencies?

Future plans include:

  • A competencies dictionary containing all of the NIH specific competencies will be available to use in 2010. Employees and supervisors will be able to customize their competency models to identify the competencies that are needed for success in a position.
  • Suggested competency models are being created for occupation specific models. These competency models are available as an example of what competencies are commonly found in certain positions.
  • Rolling out the use of competencies in nine administrative areas: The Training Center will work with the champions of nine occupational areas to develop and implement a roll-out plan that encourages and supports the use of competencies. (See question 23 for a list of the nine occupational areas.)
  • Tying recruitment to competencies: The Strategic Programs Division has begun to ensure that the questions in HHS careers (used to rate applications for jobs) are linked to competencies. Interview guides have been developed for all of the 10 job occupations and for leadership and management positions to help supervisors in selecting job applicants who possess competencies that are most needed by their organizations. These guides can be used now. After supervisors understand the gaps in their organizations (gaps should be clearer after reviewing the results of individual employee assessments), they will be able to search for applicants to fill the identified gaps. Also, this fall, a group of Administrative Officers, Presidential Management Fellows, Client Services Division personnel, and other Human Capital Group staff will recommend how competencies can be further linked to the recruitment process.
  • Communication: NIH will continue to communicate and educate NIH staff about competencies. We will continue to get input on what more should be done to ensure that employees and supervisors have the tools and knowledge needed to use competencies to meet our organization’s goals.
What is the relationship between performance and competencies?

The relationship between competencies and performance is indirect. As employees increase their proficiency levels, their performance outputs would generally be expected to improve. Organizations whose employees have high proficiency levels are organizations that would be expected to have superior organizational performance. However, this is not always the case. An individual may possess the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors but may be performing at a lower level than expected due to various factors, e.g., personal problems, lack of focus, job dissatisfaction, negative reaction to organizational change, lack of organizational resources, etc.

Employees are rated on performance in relation to how well they have accomplished the tasks set out in their performance plans. Performance plans establish specific tasks and expectations for various positions and employee grade levels and this is the basis for performance evaluation.

What if there are other competencies that are relevant for my job but are not included in the models?

The NIH occupational models describe the global competencies required for all employees in a specific occupation. The occupational models do not describe every competency relevant to a job. If there are other competencies important to your specific job/role, you should discuss them with your supervisor and determine the best approach for incorporating them into your overall career development plan.

How do NIH and HHS competencies relate to each other?

HHS competency models were reviewed during the development process of NIH competency models. The two models are compatible. Although there are differences in some of the names of the competencies and key behaviors, the NIH competencies incorporate the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) described in the HHS competencies.

Why are competencies useful to employees?

Competencies help employees to:

  • understand the competencies expected in their job, the key behaviors they should demonstrate, and the steps needed to increase their proficiency levels
  • discuss with their supervisors the employee’s strengths, areas for growth, and suggested training, and developmental activities
  • focus on specific training and development opportunities that will help them grow and strive for excellence
  • understand the competencies they would be expected to have to move into a new job, particularly for employees who are interested in becoming supervisors and managers or in changing careers
Why are competencies useful to supervisors?

Competencies help supervisors to better:

  • screen prospective employees during the hiring process, which results in better hiring decisions
  • discuss with employees their strengths, areas for growth, training, and developmental activities
  • distribute work more efficiently by using the knowledge of employees’ proficiency levels.
  • acquire training and development opportunities systematically and efficiently, e.g., develop training partnerships between organizations, bringing tailored training to employees, etc.
  • determine what type of skill sets are needed in the future, which helps support succession planning.
Why are competencies important to ICs?

ICs can systematically identify their competency gaps in occupational areas. In turn, this can lead to more focused hiring decisions and succession planning, better strategic assignment (alignment) of tasks and functions; and cost-effective training that is tailored for employees who have common needs.

Why is NIH developing competencies?

NIH is investing in competencies to improve: 1. recruitment and hiring; 2. career development of NIH employees; and 3. strategic organizational planning. One goal is to develop vacancy announcements that more clearly state the competencies that NIH expects employees to possess. Competency development is also essential to developing behavioral-based interview guides, which in turn will allow hiring officials to better select talent from a pool of job candidates. Overall, the use of competencies will result in better recruitment of talent that will improve the quality of the NIH workforce. Developing competency based tools will also support the career development of NIH employees. Assessment tools highlight the areas in which employees are most proficient and areas in which they can focus developmental activities. The competency training maps help employees choose training that will help them develop. Finally, managers and supervisors who understand the competency gaps within their organizations will be able to strategically address these gaps.

Pages