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Additional Post-Employment Restrictions and Exception for Government Senior Employees

All former employees of the Federal Government are subject to some post-employment restrictions, as outlined in various other documents listed on the main Seeking Employment and Post-Employment Prohibitions page.  This document provides additional information for those employees who are designated as “Senior” under the Government-wide definition.  The use of the term “Senior” in this context is not the same as “NIH Senior.”

Definition of Government-wide “Senior:” The term “Senior” in the Government-wide context refers to employees who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Executive Levels II through V;
  • Uniformed Service Pay Grades O-7 or above; and
  • Senior Executive Service (SES) and employees in other pay systems whose rate of basic pay (excluding locality-based adjustments) is equal to or greater than 86.5% of the rate for Level II of the Executive Schedule (Link to OPM Pay Tables).

Restriction:  The post-employment restrictions in Title 18 of United States Code section 207 detail several prohibitions applicable to all former employees (see the link above).  Section 207(c) adds another restriction for former “senior” employees.  For one year after service in a “senior” position ends, former “senior” employees may not knowingly make, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any officer or employee of their former agency on behalf of anyone seeking official action on any matter. This additional post-employment restriction applies for one year after service in a “senior” position ends.

Former agency” means the individual component within HHS where the former employee worked, as defined in the HHS supplemental regulation (5 CFR 5501.102). These restrictions are in addition to, among other provisions, the permanent and two-year official responsibility prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1) and (2) that apply respectively to representational communications or appearances with respect to particular matters involving specific parties in which you participated personally and substantially at any time during your government service or that were under your supervision during your last year of government service. 

Example: A former NIH employee who is “senior” based on the Government-wide definition may not communicate with or appear before any current employee of the NIH if that communication or appearance is made on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in an attempt to influence or obtain official action.

Exception: The restrictions in 18 USC 207(c) do not apply to acts done in carrying out official duties as an employee of and on behalf of the following U.S. institutions:

  1. a state or local government;
  2. a college or university; or
  3. a non-profit hospital or medical research organization. 

This means that the former NIH employee, designated as Government-wide senior, may represent the new employer back to the NIH if the representation is part of the individual's official responsibilities for the new employer, as long as the new employer is one of the three types of entities. Other exceptions may apply for certain types of testimony, uncompensated statements based on special knowledge, and scientific or technological information, and for certain contacts made on behalf of international organizations or political campaign organizations.

In addition, for one year after completing service in a "senior" position, former employees cannot knowingly represent, aid, or advise a foreign government or foreign political party with the intent to influence any officer or employee of the United States. 18 USC 207(f).

Former government attorneys and public officials with a law license are subject to additional post-employment restrictions under State Rules of Professional Conduct.  Political appointees are subject to additional post-employment pledge requirements under E.0. 13770.

For additional information or guidance on post-employment restrictions, see documents listed on the main Seeking Employment and Post-Employment Prohibitions page or contact your IC’s Ethics Official.

[Text from OGC/ED notices] (OGC/ED approved 2/13/12)



Updated: 2/6/21