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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

Performance Management - Reduction in Force

  • There are agencies and organizations within the Federal Government that are not covered by the performance appraisal provisions in the law and regulations. However, many of them have adopted these procedures or developed their own procedures to evaluate the performance of their employees. The regulations give agencies the basic guidelines by which they can review the performance evaluations employees bring with them from other Federal organizations and determine whether they qualify as equivalent ratings of record that can then be used as the basis for assigning additional service credit in a reduction in force.
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  • The possible effect of performance-based additional service credit is most likely to appear in the second round of the reduction in force process, when employees exercise their bump (into positions held by employees in lower tenure groups for which they meet the basic qualification standard) and retreat (to previously held positions) rights.  Even at this stage, experience suggests that the performance-based additional service credit often has no impact on the actual final result of the reduction in force.
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  • No. A rating of record does not change when an employee moves to another agency or organization, whether or not they use a different summary pattern. However, an employee will not know how many years of additional service credit will be given for a specific rating of record until an agency is getting ready to run a reduction in force.
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  • Additional years of service credit are added to an employee's length of service based on the employee's three most recent ratings of record during the four years prior to the reduction in force. In a competitive area where all the ratings of record being credited were done under a single pattern of summary levels, the additional service credit is computed by averaging the three most recent ratings of record given in the previous four years using the following values: 20 years of service for each Level 5 (Outstanding or equivalent rating); 16 years of service for each Level 4; and 12 years of service for each Level 3 (Fully Successful or equivalent rating). In an agency where employees in a competitive area have ratings of record being credited for reduction in force that were done under more than one pattern of summary levels, the agency can establish the values for the summary levels (within 12 to 20 years) so that performance crediting will be as fair and equitable as possible. Within a competitive area, the agency must use the same number of years additional retention service credit for all ratings of record with the same summary level in the same pattern of summary levels.
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  • No, the regulations require that agencies look at the situation and make a determination on what, if anything, should be done regarding the credit assigned for ratings of record when there is a mix of rating patterns among the ratings of record being credited for reduction in force. If the agency decides that the best course of action is to still use the 12/16/20 assignment of credit, they may do so.
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  • If an employee has fewer than three ratings of record during the last four years, the actual rating(s) of record available would serve as the sole basis of the employee's credit (no assumed ratings would be used). Consequently, if an employee has received only two actual ratings of record during this period, the value assigned to each rating would be added together and divided by two to determine the amount of additional retention service credit. If an employee has only one actual rating of record, the value assigned to that rating would be used. If, however, the employee has no ratings of record during the last four years, the modal rating for the appraisal program that covers the employee's position of record at the time of the reduction in force is used to grant performance credit.
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  • The modal rating is the latest rating of record summary level given most often within a single pattern to the employees in a specified group that is no smaller than the competitive area and no larger than the agency undergoing a reduction in force. It is important that the employees undergoing a reduction in force understand the basis used to determine the modal rating.
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  • Once an agency determines how it will assign the amounts of additional service credit based on performance, everyone who has ratings of record with the same summary level within the same pattern in the same competitive area will get the same amount of additional service credit. This is a uniform and consistent application of service credit for everyone who meets the specified criteria (i.e., level, pattern, and competitive area).
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  • Yes. Each competitive area must be looked at individually to analyze what the situation is regarding the ratings of record being credited.
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  • No, there is no comparison across competitive areas to determine if a mix of patterns exists. Only if there is a mix of patterns within a single competitive area can an agency vary credit.
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