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    Frequently Asked Questions::Are there any length requirements or limitations for the program's minimum period (i.e., the length...

    Are there any length requirements or limitations for the program's minimum period (i.e., the length of time before a performance rating can be prepared)?

    No. An agency program must specify the length of its minimum period and that minimum must fall within any limits established by the agency appraisal system. However, the outcomes of performance appraisals are applied in other personnel areas, and these applications create some practical limits for minimum periods.

    For example, the regulations and statutory waiting periods for granting the within-grade pay increase for General Schedule and Prevailing Rate System employees rely on a determination that the employee's performance merits the pay adjustment. Prevailing Rate System employees with a work performance rating of satisfactory or better are advanced from step 1 to step 2 after 26 weeks, which implies that their performance must be ratable before that. Consequently, and without taking into consideration the nature of the work itself, the practical outside limit for the minimum period for prevailing rate employees is roughly 180 days.

    In addition, the minimum period is one of the program features that may be subject to third-party review. Agencies are advised to be careful in determining the time limits to be used and avoid setting minimum periods that might be judged unreasonably short.

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