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    Frequently Asked Questions::What is a "retention standard"?

    What is a "retention standard"?

    As defined in the Handbook for Measuring Employee Performance, a retention standard describes the level of performance necessary to be retained in a job (i.e., the standard written for performance one level above the Unacceptable level). In appraisal programs where a Minimally Successful or equivalent level exists for appraising elements, the retention standard is the Minimally Successful or equivalent standard. In appraisal programs that do not have a Minimally Successful or equivalent level available, the retention standard is the Fully Successful standard.

    The Merit Systems Protection Board and the courts have held that an agency must ensure that retention standards:

    • are reasonably attainable
    • are not impermissibly absolute (allow for no error)
    • inform the employee of the level of performance needed to retain his or her job

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