HARDSHIP TRANSFER REQUESTS
1. Any employee may request special consideration for transfer due to personal hardship. Management will consider all hardship transfer requests.
2. Hardships are situations outside of the employee's reasonable ability to control that affect the health and welfare of the employee or a family member. (“Family member” is defined in the HUD/AFGE Agreement at Article 2, Section 2(6).)
3. Examples of significant hardship include, but are not limited to:
a. A specific long-term medical situation where services or care are more accessible in a specific location.
b. Special education needs for children related to physical or mental disability.
c. Significant and recurring harassment or discrimination against the employee or his/her family at work or in the community.
d. Specific situations related to family member status, such as divorce, reconciliation, sibling care issues, spousal placement (dual career), etc.
4. Process for requesting a hardship transfer:
a. An employee seeking a hardship transfer shall present his/her case to the Director of his/her office (the Field Office Director, the Regional Director, or the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for employees in Headquarters) with copies to his/her immediate frontline supervisor and Program Director. Where confidentiality is a legitimate concern, the employee may bypass his/her immediate supervisor.
b. The Director will have authority to investigate whether a hardship exists. The Director can request additional information from the applicant. To protect the confidentiality of the requesting employee, once the Director is reasonably satisfied that a hardship exists, there shall be no further discussion of the nature of the hardship; provided, however, that once the transfer is approved, Management may advise the receiving office Management of the nature of the hardship, who shall respect the confidentiality of the matter and the employee.
c. The Director will notify the employee as quickly as possible, but no later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the request for transfer, that the hardship request has been received, whether or not Management believes there is a hardship, and what is being done to satisfy the request.
(i) If Management believes there is a hardship, they shall:
(A) offer the employee a 120 day detail to the appropriate office as an interim measure.
(B) advise the employee of a final decision within 45 days, detailing the reasons for the decision. In the event of a denial, Management shall offer to extend the detail for another 120 days, during which Management shall periodically review the circumstances of the denial to determine if permanent reassignment is possible. If a denial is based upon staff ceiling issues (for either the gaining or losing office), Management shall demonstrate that they have considered options including the possibility of outstationing from either the losing office or from Headquarters to the gaining office. Additionally, if a final decision is not provided within 90 days, the employee's detail shall be extended for an additional 120 days.
(ii) If Management does not believe a hardship exists, either party may seek mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service prior to filing any formal action. Seeking mediation will not extend any time limits for filing a formal action, except by mutual consent of the parties.
d. Employees shall be treated fairly and equitably in the administration of this policy. Hardship transfers shall not involve the loss of grade. Relocation assistance is not required, but if it is provided, it must be done in a fair and equitable manner.
e. Confidentiality regarding an employee's hardship situation will be maintained to the extent possible.
5. Assistance: The employee may request assistance and advice through the Union and/or the Employee Assistance Program, and may authorize them to share information regarding the hardship situation with Management.
6. Notice to the Union: Annually in January, Management shall provide the Union with a list of all hardship transfer requests, sanitized to remove the names of the employees and the office locations, that includes for each requesting employee: the nature of the hardship, the grade of the employee, the final decision, and whether relocation assistance was provided. The Union may seek additional information in accordance with law, rule, regulation or the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.