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DIRECTIVE: OLDER WORKER BULLETIN 98-13

TO: ALL SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM (SCSEP) SPONSORS

SUBJECT: Guidance on 1300-Hour Participation Limitation

1. Purpose: To provide guidance to SCSEP sponsors on the enrollee 1300-hour participation limitation requirement.

2. References: 20 CFR Part 641, Senior Community Service Employment Program regulations; Older Worker Bulletin 80-5.

3. Background: It has come to our attention that some SCSEP sponsors are unclear about the Department's interpretation of the requirement that enrollees may not exceed 1,300 hours of paid participation during a 12-month period.

4. Regulations on Participation: The pertinent regulations read as follows, at 20 CFR Section 641.310 (b) (1):

"Each enrollee's community service assignment shall not exceed 1,300 hours during a 12-month period specified in the grantee's agreement. The 1,300 hours includes paid hours of orientation, training, sick leave, and vacation and hours of enrollment provided by all grantees and sub-grantees. No enrollee shall be paid for more than 1,300 hours in any 12-month period. [Section 508(a)(2) of the OAA.]"

The reference to the Older Americans Act (OAA) establishes that enrollees are to be in part-time positions of at least 20 hours per week. Further, it is the desire of Congress that there be at least 70,000 part-time positions ("slots") on an annual basis for eligible individuals. Current unit cost considerations and the present Federal appropriation for the SCSEP limit the number of positions to approximately 61,500 positions, however. (For budgetary purposes, costs per position are calculated on the basis of 21 hours per week for a 52-week year.)

5. Discussion. The 1300-hour limitation serves to address both of the goals of the Act. If enrollees were to participate for only 20 hours per week, for a 52-week year, their participation would be for 1,040 hours. If all enrollees were permitted to participate for 25 hours per week, for a 52-week year, or for 1,300 hours, the current Congressional Budget Committee goal of at least 61,500 positions could not be achieved.

The regulatory provision permitting 1,300 hours for some enrollees provides flexibility for sponsors; further, we recognize that some enrollees serve more-or-less as "staff" for local projects at certain times of the year, working well over the 25 hours per week that would be associated with 1,300 hours of participation in a year. Moreover, there may be other situations when it may be necessary and appropriate to have enrollees temporarily work more than 25 hours in a week, such as natural disasters and emergencies, seasonal occupations, to accommodate the particular needs of an individual enrollee, and in some cases to use up underutilized funds.

It is not our intention that enrollees regularly exceed 25 hours per week to such an extent that they would also exceed the 1300-hour limitation in a 12-month period, however. The SCSEP is intended to be a part-time community service program. The more hours a few individuals work during a year, the fewer hours there are available for others. For instance, four persons working 1300 hours a year would completely eliminate one other position. Moreover, those persons working extra hours may be doing so for the convenience of the project or host agency, and not for the benefit of the enrollee or community. If a project or host agency needs a person for extra hours they should consider hiring that person with non-Federal or non-project funds.

6. 1,300 Hour Policy: The regulations permit sponsors to determine the 12-month period in which the 1,300 hours will be tracked and monitored. Sponsors may designate any one of the following 12-month period options:

(a) A "running" 12-month period that changes day-to-day, so that the 1,300 hour limitation would involve a "look-back" for each individual from the date of examination of the enrollee files;

(b) The 12-month grant year (program year) period;

(c) The 12-month period from enrollees' anniversary dates;

(d) The 12-month calendar year; or

(e) Any other 12-month period (e.g., fiscal year).

SCSEP sponsors should include the designated 12-month period for tracking and monitoring the 1,300 hour participation limitation in the grant agreement, and that period will be the basis for measuring compliance.

Sponsors who wish to modify the 12-month period included in the current grant agreement may do so by sending a notice of change to the Division of Older Worker Programs.

NOTE: The 1,300-hour participation limitation is not applicable to the experimental projects authorized under Section 502(e) of the Older Americans Act.

7. Inquiries: Questions should be directed to your Federal Representative at (202) 219-5904.

ATTACHMENT: None

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