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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • No. Time-in-grade restrictions apply only to competitive service positions. See 5 CFR § 300.603).
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  • For white-collar employees, basic pay is usually set under the General Schedule (GS), which is adjusted annually. Employees in GS positions in the continental United States also receive locality pay (there are 32 defined locality pay areas). Employees outside the continental United States in non-foreign areas (i.e., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) do not receive locality rates, but rather receive cost-of-living allowances. Vacancy announcements include pay ranges for the advertised positions. The current salary tables for the GS and locality pay areas are available at http://www.opm.gov/oca/06tables/index.asp. For blue-collar employees, basic pay is set under the Federal Wage System (FWS). There are 132 appropriated fund and 125 non-appropriated fund local wage areas. For current FWS rates, please visit http://www.opm.gov/oca/wage/Wagesch.asp and select a state and county for the corresponding wage schedule. White-collar and blue-collar employees in certain occupations and/or geographic areas may receive special rates. Special rates are higher rates of pay than GS and locality rates. Some agencies have statutory authority to administer their own pay systems. Employees in these agencies are compensated through alternative pay systems established by their employing agency.
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  • If you have questions regarding a position to which you are applying or to find out the status of your application, please speak to the point-of-contact listed for each job opportunity announcement  (JOA).  The contact information can be found at the lower portion of the JOA and also on the floating menu located on the right hand side.  If the JOA has closed and no longer appears on the USAJOBS® website, you can contact the human resources office of the hiring agency for additional information and assistance. If you are looking for a way to contact the agency headquarters, please visit http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml.  
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  • OPM has delegated most of its examining authority for competitive service positions to agencies. This authority includes making qualification determinations for agency jobs. The hiring agency evaluates your application against OPM-issued minimum qualification requirements (e.g., related work experience, education, licensure, if required) to determine your eligibility for the advertised position.
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  • Students are classified to an appropriate GS or Wage Grade (WG) series and grade and paid according to that classification. See 5 CFR § 213.2302(a)(11).
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  • The area of consideration describes the individuals from whom the agency will accept applications to compete for the position. It may be a broad or a limited group of individuals. The area of consideration may also be referred to as “Who May Apply” within the vacancy announcement. If you are not within the area of consideration and you are not eligible for a non-competitive or special hiring authority, the agency will not consider your application.
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  • Applicants with disabilities must have an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability or a psychiatric disability; have proof of the disability; and meet all required qualifications for the position.
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  • OPM does not publish qualification standards for positions in the Excepted Service. Therefore agencies have the option of (1) developing their own qualification standards or (2) using OPM competitive service qualification standards. If an agency chooses option (1), it may develop its own standards or adopt or modify the former Schedule B student trainee qualification standard as their own. If an agency chooses option (2), it may use the competitive service qualification standard for the target position, or the competitive service student trainee qualification standards. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(12) and 213.3202(b)(15).
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  • Under the new 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointing authority, a hiring agency may also, in addition to the temporary appointments identified in the question above, make:
    • A time-limited appointment of an individual who provides proof of disability, when the duties of the position do not require it to be filled on a permanent basis. (Refer to 5 CFR 213.104 for the definition of time-limited appointment.)
    • A permanent appointment of an individual who provides proof of disability.  Note to hiring agencies: the intent of Executive Orders 12125 and 13124 is to permit these deserving individuals (upon meeting the requirements) to obtain civil service competitive status which is obtained through conversion to the competitive service rather than remaining in the excepted service.
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  • Yes. An individual participating in the Student Career Experience Program who otherwise meets the program requirements for conversion (i.e., work hours, satisfactory performance, educational requirements, etc.) may be converted to a position that has an established career ladder. For instance, a SCEP GS-0201-04 Human Resources Trainee may be noncompetitively converted to a GS-0201-05/7/9/11 Human Resources Specialist career ladder position. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(b)(11).
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