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While employees must receive a rating of record at the highest summary level used by the program and meet the agency-specified criteria for qualifying for a quality step increase, a separate written justification is not required. However, the Office of Personnel Management strongly encourages agencies to require some form of recorded justification. Assuring compliance with agency-established criteria for quality step increase eligibility would be difficult without recorded justifications. The agency should be able to show that the proposed recipient has performed at a truly exceptional level to justify a permanent increase in his or her rate of basic pay.
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