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Notice

2015 Rate Changes for the Basetime, Overtime, Holiday, and Laboratory Services Rates

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AGENCY:

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing the 2015 rates that it will charge meat and poultry establishments, egg products plants, and importers and exporters for providing voluntary, overtime, and holiday inspection and identification, certification, and laboratory services. The 2015 basetime, overtime, holiday, and laboratory services rates will be applied beginning the first FSIS pay period approximately 30 days after the publication of this notice. This pay period begins on February 22, 2015.

DATES:

FSIS will charge the rates announced in this notice beginning February 22, 2015.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For further information contact Michael Toner, Director, Budget Division, Office of Management, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 2159, South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-3700; Telephone: (202) 690-8398, Fax: (202) 690-4155.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On April 12, 2011, FSIS published a final rule amending its regulations to establish formulas for calculating the rates it charges meat and poultry establishments, egg products plants, and importers and exporters for providing voluntary, overtime, and holiday inspection and identification, certification, and laboratory services (76 FR 20220).

In the final rule, FSIS stated that it would use the formulas to calculate the annual rates, publish the rates in a Federal Register notice before the start of each calendar year and apply the rates on the first FSIS pay period at the beginning of the calendar year.

This notice announces the 2015 rates, which will be applied starting on February 22, 2015.

2015 Rates and Calculations

The following table lists the 2015 Rates per hour, per employee, by type of service:

Service2015 Rate (estimates rounded to reflect billable quarters)
Basetime$55.60
Overtime70.28
Holiday85.00
Laboratory70.52

The regulations state that FSIS will calculate the rates using formulas that include the Office of Field Operations (OFO) and Office of International Affairs (OIA) inspection program personnel's previous fiscal year's regular direct pay and regular hours (9 CFR 391.2, 391.3, 391.4, 590.126, 590.128, 592.510, 592.520, and 592.530). In 2013, an Agency reorganization eliminated the OIA program office and transferred all of its inspection program personnel to OFO. Therefore, pay and hours of inspection program personnel are identified in the calculations as “OFO inspection program personnel's” pay and hours.

FSIS determined the 2015 rates using the following calculations:

Basetime Rate = The quotient of dividing the OFO inspection program personnel's previous fiscal year's regular direct pay by the previous fiscal year's regular hours, plus the quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage of cost of living increase, plus the benefits rate, plus the travel and operating rate, plus the overhead rate, plus the allowance for bad debt rate.

The calculation for the 2015 basetime rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 OFO Regular Direct Pay divided by the previous fiscal year's Regular Hours ($396,361,959/13,707,069)] = $28.91 + ($28.91 * 1.7% (calendar year 2015 Cost of Living Increase)) = $29.41 + $8.78 (benefits rate) + $.79 (travel and operating rate) + $16.61 (overhead rate) + $.02 (bad debt allowance rate) = $55.60.

Overtime Rate = The quotient of dividing the Office OFO inspection program personnel's previous fiscal year's regular direct pay by the previous fiscal year's regular hours, plus that quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage of cost of living increase, multiplied by 1.5 (for overtime), plus the benefits rate, plus the travel and operating rate, plus the overhead rate, plus the allowance for bad debt rate.

The calculation for the 2015 overtime rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 OFO Regular Direct Pay divided by previous fiscal year's Regular Hours ($396,361,959/13,707,069)]= $28.91 + ($28.91 * 1.7% (calendar year 2015 Cost of Living Increase)) = $29.41 * 1.5 = $44.11 + $8.78 (benefits rate) + $.79 (travel and operating rate) + $16.61 (overhead rate) + $.02 (bad debt allowance rate) = $70.30 (rounded to $70.28).[1]

Holiday Rate = The quotient of dividing the OFO inspection program personnel's previous fiscal year's regular direct pay by the previous fiscal year's regular hours, plus that quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage of cost of living increase, multiplied by 2 (for holiday pay), plus the benefits rate, plus the travel and operating rate, plus the overhead rate, plus the allowance for bad debt rate.

The calculation for the 2015 holiday rate per hour per program employee calculation is:

[FY 2014 OFO Regular Direct Pay divided by Regular Hours ($396,361,959/13,707,069)] = $28.91 + ($28.91 * 1.7% (calendar year 2015 Cost of Living Increase)) = $29.41 * 2 = $58.82 + $8.78 (benefits rate) + $.79 (travel and operating rate) + $16.61 (overhead rate) + $.02 (bad debt allowance rate) = $85.00.[2]

Laboratory Services Rate = The quotient of dividing the Office of Public Health Science (OPHS) previous fiscal year's regular direct pay by the OPHS previous fiscal year's regular hours, plus the quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage cost of living increase, plus the benefits rate, plus the travel and operating rate, plus the overhead rate, plus the allowance for bad debt rate.

The calculation for the 2015 laboratory services rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 OPHS Regular Direct Pay/OPHS Regular hours ($24,061,554/551,995)] = $43.59 + ($43.59 * 1.7% (calendar year 2015 Cost of Living Increase)) = $44.33 + $8.78 (benefits rate) + $.79 (travel and operating rate) + $16.61 (overhead rate) + $.02 (bad debt allowance rate) = $70.52.Start Printed Page 1887

Calculations for the Benefits, Travel and Operating, Overhead, and Allowance for Bad Debt Rates

These rates are components of the basetime, overtime, holiday, and laboratory services rates formulas.

Benefits Rate: The quotient of dividing the previous fiscal year's direct benefits costs by the previous fiscal year's total hours (regular, overtime, and holiday), plus that quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage cost of living increase. Some examples of direct benefits are health insurance, retirement, life insurance, and Thrift Savings Plan basic and matching contributions.

The calculation for the 2015 benefits rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 Direct Benefits/(Total Regular hours + Total Overtime hours + Total Holiday hours) ($140,056,558/16,226,581)] = $8.63 + ($8.63 * 1.8% (calendar year 2015 Cost of Living Increase) = $8.78.

Travel and Operating Rate: The quotient of dividing the previous fiscal year's total direct travel and operating costs by the previous fiscal year's total hours (regular, overtime, and holiday), plus that quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage of inflation.

The calculation for the 2015 travel and operating rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 Total Direct Travel and Operating Costs/(Total Regular hours + Total Overtime hours + Total Holiday hours) ($12,514,065/16,226,581)] = $.77 + ($.77 * 1.8% (2015 Inflation) = $.79.

Overhead Rate: The quotient of dividing the previous fiscal year's indirect costs plus the previous fiscal year's information technology (IT) costs in the Public Health Data Communication Infrastructure System Fund plus the previous fiscal year's Office of Management Program cost in the Reimbursable and Voluntary Funds plus the provision for the operating balance less any Greenbook costs (i.e., costs of USDA support services prorated to the service component for which fees are charged) that are not related to food inspection by the previous fiscal year's total hours (regular, overtime, and holiday) worked across all funds, plus the quotient multiplied by the calendar year's percentage of inflation.

The calculation for the 2015 overhead rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 Total Overhead/(Total Regular hours + Total Overtime hours + Total Holiday hours) ($264,700,950/16,226,581)] = $16.31 + ($16.31 * 1.8% (2015 Inflation) = $16.61.

Allowance for Bad Debt Rate = Previous fiscal year's total allowance for bad debt (for example, debt owed that is not paid in full by plants and establishments that declare bankruptcy) divided by previous fiscal year's total hours (regular, overtime, and holiday) worked.

The 2015 calculation for bad debt rate per hour per program employee is:

[FY 2014 Total Bad Debt/(Total Regular hours + Total Overtime hours + Total Holiday hours) = ($365,480/16,226,581)] = $.02.

Additional Public Notification

Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​federal-register.

FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/​subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/​sites/​default/​files/​docs/​2012/​Complain_​combined_​6_​8_​12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

Mail

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

Fax

(202) 690-7442.

Email

program.intake@usda.gov.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

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Done, at Washington, DC, on January 9, 2015.

Alfred V. Almanza,

Acting Administrator.

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Footnotes

1.  FSIS can bill basetime, overtime, and holiday rates on the quarter hour. Accordingly, the 2015 overtime and holiday rates were rounded down so that rates can equally be divided by 4 (to 2 decimal places).

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2.  Ibid.

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[FR Doc. 2015-00432 Filed 1-13-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P