Time in Grade Restrictions
Federal employees are appointed into positions that offer promotion potential within their position or can be appointed into non-promotable positions and will have to compete for future promotional opportunities. In either situation, Federal employees will have to meet time-in-grade restrictions prior to receiving a merit promotion. Federal employees who have qualifying experience at a higher pay grade can apply for positions that are open to the public without taking time-in-grade restrictions into consideration. There is often a misperception that service-connected disabled Veterans or individuals that qualify for special hiring authorities, are exempt from time-in-grade restrictions, which is not the case. When applying for Federal positions check with the agency Human Resources Office you are applying to for employment to find out how restrictions will apply in your case. Information regarding Time-in-Grade constraints can be located within Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Preference eligibles, including those with derived preferences, who served under career or career-conditional appointment for any period of time, have lifetime reinstatement eligibility to any competitive service position for which qualified. They have this eligibility regardless of whether their Armed Forces service occurred before or after career or career-conditional appointment. Competition under the agency's merit promotion plan is required if the position is at a higher grade level or has more promotion potential than a position previously held.
Standard Form 50 (SF-50) Notification of Personnel Action
The SF-50 is used government wide for employment and benefits programs. The SF-50 Form is composed of 3 sections:
- ACTION (First action, Second action)
- EMPLOYEE DATA
- POSITION DATA
The Standard Form 50 is used to document civilian Government service for Federal applications and is a written documentation of a personnel action that may influence position or pay.
The SF-50 is one of the most important pieces of documentation a Federal employee will be required to provide in order to verify their federal service. It is Your Federal Employment Birth Certificate! SF-50s are used to document appointments, to verify benefits and non-competitive status under Executive Order 12721 and must accompany all federal applications.
Veteran employees should take the time to check their SF-50s for accuracy and should pay particular attention to the following items:
- Check your name, SSN, DOB for accuracy (Items 1, 2, 3) – this information will follow you throughout the system, across all federal agency lines and should be accurate
- Check the nte (not to exceed) date of your appointment (Item 5B or 6B) if applicable
- Check your position title (Item 7 or 15)– if this information is not correct, request a title change through your supervisor
- Check your service computation date (Item 31) – if this is your first Federal appointment, the date will be the same as your entrance on duty date to your current position. This date may be adjusted based on prior Federal and military service. You will need to provide proof of military service and SF-50s documenting prior federal service. This is the date used to determine your leave annual leave accrual rate (1-3 years, 4 hours of annual leave per pay period, 4-14 years, 6 hours per pay period, 15 years plus, 8 hours per pay period)
- Check your work schedule (Item 32)– it will be either full time, part time, or intermittent
How do I obtain a copy of my SF-50?
Contact your agency personnel office for current agency SF-50s, otherwise, send your request to:
Federal Records Center
National Archives and Records Administration
Civilian Personnel Records
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Fax: (618) 935-3014
Inquiries should include the full name under which formerly employed, social security number, date of birth, and to the extent known, former Federal employing agencies, addresses and dates of such employment. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) and the Office of Personnel Management require a signed and dated written request for information from the Federal Records Center. No requests for information from personnel or any other type of records will be accepted by telephone or e-mail.
Lead Certificate Program
OPM's LEAD Certificate Program empowers leaders to take charge of their professional development by providing a clear path to leadership education that’s relevant at five different levels, from Project Team Lead through Executive. If you are already a Federal employee, LEAD offers "must have" leadership skills and provides interagency experience that puts you squarely on the path to career advancement. If you are a veteran, LEAD helps build skills to transition from a military career to a civilian career.
Now approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a non-college degree program, LEAD offers excellent leadership education at every level for career-oriented veterans.
Watch the video for more information.