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    Frequently Asked Questions::What is the maximum length allowable for appraisal periods?

    What is the maximum length allowable for appraisal periods?

    Technically, there is no maximum length. The regulations specify that appraisal periods shall generally be designated so that employees are provided a rating of record annually. Also, the legislative history of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the statute that prescribes the current performance appraisal system, indicates that Congress expected appraisals to be done annually. In addition, an important consideration when choosing the length of the appraisal period is its relation to the annual rating of record required for reduction in force purposes. Agencies must look at the nature of the work done by various organizations and determine what length of time is appropriate as the basis for measuring employee performance. Agencies are encouraged to designate a single appraisal period (i.e., 1 year) as the standard appraisal period throughout the agency, with the built-in flexibility to accommodate individual or mass transitions between programs. Otherwise, an agency system must define any limits (maximum length, minimum length, or acceptable range) within which it will permit appraisal programs to select their appraisal periods.

    Furthermore, agencies may establish different appraisal cycles (starting and ending dates) for different employees under the same appraisal period.

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