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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

  • Governmentwide regulations do not specify a minimum amount of time a supervisor must be on the job before he/she may rate an employee.  Agency performance appraisal programs may require a minimum amount of time the supervisor must be on the job before rating an employee.
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  • No. Each program must use a single pattern of summary levels. To use different summary patterns, agencies must define separate programs and employee coverage to which a single pattern applies. However, more than one program can use the same summary pattern.
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  • A non-critical element is a dimension or aspect of individual, team or organizational performance, exclusive of a critical element, used in assigning a summary level. It may include, but is not limited to, objectives, goals, program plans, work plans, and other means of expressing expected performance.
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  • Governmentwide performance management regulations do not specifically designate who has the authority to assign a rating of record.  The agency will determine who has this authority.
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  • Under no circumstances may a political appointee receive an award in the form of cash or a time-off award during a Presidential election period.  An agency may grant a political appointee an honorary or informal recognition award during a Presidential election period, provided that the form of the award avoids the appearance of replacing a bonus.
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  • Yes. Agencies can authorize the development of separate appraisal programs under the framework of their appraisal system. This would allow their various subcomponents or subpopulations to determine how best to address their needs and cultures and more effectively manage individual and organizational performance by tailoring specific appraisal procedures and requirements to mission and work technology.
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  • The "currency" of a time-off award is time, not money. Agencies have the authority to grant cash awards when they feel that is the appropriate form of recognition or incentive.
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  • No, but they are  similar.  A performance rating is the appraisal of the employee's performance compared to the elements and standards established in the performance plan.  The rating of record is a specific performance rating done at the end of the appraisal period that includes the appraisal of the elements and standards and also must include the assignment of a summary level (Levels 1-5).  A summary level is an ordered category of performance from Level 1 through Level 5, with Level 1 as the lowest and Level 5 as the highest.  Performance ratings assigned at times other than the end of the appraisal period (such as at the mid-year review, for promotion panels, or similar situations) do not require a summary level to be assigned, although one is permitted.
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  • Yes. Federal employee appraisal law requires Federal agencies to establish one or more appraisal systems. If an agency finds a need to describe different general policies and parameters for different groups of employees, it can develop more than one appraisal system. However, the Office of Personnel Management anticipates that most agencies will not find it necessary to develop more than one set of general policies and guidelines.
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  • Yes. OPM is required by statute to approve performance appraisal systems to ensure they meet statutory and regulatory requirements.
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