DCPAS FAQ

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Planning FAQs

What is Planning & Accountability’s role in DCPAS?

Planning & Accountability (P&A) Directorate’s role is critical to the Department in ensuring that we plan for the right civilian talent in order to meet DoD’s ever-demanding missions. Our work impacts more than 900,000 DoD civilians and is done through workforce planning, competency and skills management, analytics, and accountability. P&A takes the responsibility seriously and are committed to the role in supporting the Department.

What are the Statutes, Directives, and Instructions that guide your work?

Planning & Accountability (P&A) Directorate is guided by DoDI 1400.25 Volume 250, 5 CFR 250 Part B, 5 USC 1104 and Strategic Guidance for providing consulting and advisory services to the Components, Defense Agencies and Activity offices. Our CHCO and DCPAS Director maintain effective partnerships with the Components, Defense Agencies and Activity offices, supported by functional communities, to ensure our strategies and initiatives are met. Customer engagement is key for successful collaboration and negotiation and we engage with functional community and component customers on quarterly basis.

What does your work entail?

Provide advisory/consulting services for DoD human capital planning and policy development; strategic workforce planning, competency management, workforce analytics, and the accountability/evaluation of HR practices within DoD. Planning & Accountability (P&A) ensures that the right civilian skills, capabilities and competencies are identified across DoD to support recruitment, retention and succession planning. P&A works collaboratively to ensure proper design and implementation of key activities.

What is the CSPR MilSuite address?

CSPR MilSuite
CAC enabled, Our MilSuite is an open group that does not require you to get Administrator permission to join or view the content. Our page is used to share relevant content with our customers. In it you can find Quarterly Data Decks, the Forecast Tool, Competency Models, the Functional Community Maturity Model, HCOP & HRSTAT, the Strategic Workforce Planning Guide, and much more. We encourage you to check out the content!

How does Planning & Accountability calculate Loss Rate?

We calculate loss rate as a percent of the population’s Begin Strength for the period, normally Fiscal Year. The formula is simply: Total Losses / Begin Strength = Loss Rate. For example: The population Begin Strength is 10,000. The total losses for the period were 1,000. 1,000 / 10,000 = 0.10 or 10% loss rate.

What data products does Planning & Accountability produce for my use?

Our regularly occurring data products include: Quarterly Data Decks for Functional Communities, Special Groups, Mission Critical Occupations, and 4th Estate Agencies. The Forecast Tool. We also provide customers with a vast array of ad hoc and custom data products and analyses.

How does Planning & Accountability formally interact with HR and other communities?

We rely heavily on our well-established governance structure to reach our customers. With engagement at the action officer level through the CPAG and WPAG, followed by senior executive level communication through the CPPC and FCMEC, we stay informed on who our key points of contact are on both the component and the functional community side. Beyond communication during these venues, we frequently engage through email communication, access to products through our MilSuite site, and through reciprocal invitations to participate in our customers’ events/venues. Also, we release a quarterly newsletter to our functional community and component customers, which provides insights on how strategic planning plays a pivotal part of their daily mission.

What is the Functional Community Maturity Model?

In the 2018 USD(P&R) Lethality Report to DEPSECDEF and VCJCS, USD(P&R) approved and endorsed development of the Functional Community Maturity Model (FCMM) as an initiative to collectively improve the functional communities' ability to increase lethality and readiness of the Department. The FCMM consists of four pillars: Leadership and Governance, Workforce Planning, Resource Planning, and Workforce Development. A supporting Assessment Tool outlines requirements and guides functional communities through four stages of maturity (Reactive, Emerging, Advanced, Optimized) in each pillar to inform an overall maturity assessment.

Accountability FAQ

What is Delegated Examining (DE)?

Delegated Examining is the method used to fill competitive service positions with applicants that may or may not have prior Federal service.

How does the P&A Directorate evaluate DE for effectiveness in hiring talent in DoD?

In the P&A Directorate, Account Program Managers (APMs) conduct Staff Assistance Visits (SAVs) to ensure DoD Delegated Examining Units staffing programs operates in accordance with law and established regulations. DoD currently has 26 Delegated Examining Units (DEUs).

How often are Staff Assistance Visits (SAVs) conducted?

Staff Assistance Visits are generally conducted every two years.

Who participates in a Delegated Examining Staff Assistance Visit (SAV)?

Account Program Managers and Human Resources Specialists from the DCPAS P&A Directorate, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the DoD Activity.

Would you like to hire well-qualified and highly skilled transitioning Service members, Wounded warriors, Veterans and Military spouses?

If so, Please contact the DoD Hiring Heroes Team at DoD.Applicants@mail.mil or 1-888-363-4872

How can I participate in DoD sponsored Hiring Heroes Career Fairs?

Contact the DoD Hiring Heroes Team at DoD.Applicants@mail.mil or 1-888-363-4872 Please provide your organizations Human Resources hiring managers/Recruiters point of contact information (Company Name, POC Name, Email and Phone Number) and we will send you an invite to our Free DoD Hiring Heroes Career Fair events.

Who can I contact to get recruitment best practices and advice and assistance on developing a comprehensive Strategic Recruitment Plan?

Please, contact the Strategic Outreach and Recruitment (SOAR) Team at DoD.Applicants@mail.mil or 1-888-363-4872

Who can I contact to assist with recruiting candidates for Cybersecurity positions?

Please, contact Mr. Jimmy Clark at CyberSTEM or 1-888-363-4872

Are you interested in hiring a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF)?

If so, please contact Ms. Tina James at DoD.Applicants@mail.mil or 1-888-363-4872

What is the Vets to Feds (V2F) Program and how do Hiring Manages and Recruiters participate?

The Vets to Feds (V2F) Career Development Program offers veterans the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job training and experiences related to mission critical fields while developing their skills. The V2F program not only provides career development opportunities for veterans, but also assists agencies in filling mission critical positions. Since 2011 the program has focused on occupations such as IT, Contracting, HR and in 2018 the V2F Program targeted Veterans for Information Technology (2210) Cybersecurity positions. This inter-agency program was designed to recruit and support the development of our Nation’s Veterans for careers with the Federal Government. For participation in the program, please contact Mr. Bruce Bixby at DoD.Applicants@mail.mil or 1-888-363-4872

How to determine if an applicant is eligible for veterans preference?

In general, veterans preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge) are eligible for veterans preference. In accordance with title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 (5 USC 2108), please know that not all active duty service may qualify for veterans preference.

Is there a limit to the number of times an applicant can use my veterans preference when applying for Federal jobs?

No. There is no limit to the number of times you can use veterans preference.

Can an applicant claim veterans preference when applying to merit promotion jobs?

No. Veterans preference does not apply when the agency is using merit promotion procedures to fill a position.

Can an applicant that is a current Federal employee; use veterans preference when applying for job opportunity announcements open to all U.S. citizens?

Yes.

Do veterans receive preference when applying to Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) eligible positions?

No. Veterans preference does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

Can an officer, O-4 and above, receive veterans preference unless disabled?

No. In 1978, the Civil Service Reform Act amended the employment preference for retired officers by denying it to those retiring at the rank of major (O-4) and above.

What are the different veterans preference groups?

Preference eligibles are divided into five basic groups as follows:

  • CPS - Disability rating of 30% or more (10 points)
  • CP - Disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30% (10 points)
  • XP - Disability rating less than 10% (10 points)
  • TP - Preference eligibles with no disability rating (5 points)
  • SSP - Sole Survivorship Preference (0 points) These codes are used to designate on rating sheets and certificates the category of veterans preference to which an applicant is entitled.

Can an applicant work for the Federal Government while on terminal leave?

Yes. A service-member who is on terminal leave pending separation from active duty under honorable conditions may accept a civilian position in the Federal government.

Is there a limit to the number of times an applicant can use 30% or more disabled appointing authority?

No. There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for positions when agencies are accepting applications as a 30% or more disabled veteran.

Can an applicant still on active duty, start applying for a Federal job?

There are no regulations that dictate when a service member can apply for a position with the Federal Government. However, agencies typically will not adjudicate veterans preference unless the service-member has a DD-214 or "certification" that is a written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

How many types of preference eligibles are there?

There are basically three types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible), non-disabled (5 point preference eligible) and sole survivorship preference (0 point preference eligible).

What is 5-point preference and who is eligible?

5-point preference eligible is a veteran whose discharge or release from active duty in the armed forces was under honorable conditions and service meets the following criteria: During a war; or During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including Afghanistan (Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF)), Bosnia (Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, and Joint Forge), Global War on Terrorism, Persian Gulf, and others may qualify for preference.

Where can I get a “Certification?

You can request ‘certification’ through your Military Personnel Office.

What are the criteria to be eligible for a VRA appointment?

To be eligible, the veteran must be: in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; OR a disabled veteran, OR in receipt of an Armed Forces Service Medal or Global War on Terrorism Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR a recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), AND separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge).

My spouse is a disabled veteran, am I eligible for veterans preference?

I believe that a Federal agency is conducting prohibited personnel practices. Will OPM investigate my complaint against this agency?

Does veterans preference apply in the selection process for employment under the Pathways Programs?

I don’t have veterans preference, am I still eligible for a special appointing authority?

What is a Reduction in Force?

In the Federal government, layoffs are called reduction in force (RIF) actions. When an agency must abolish positions, the RIF regulations determine whether an employee keeps his or her present position, or whether the employee has a right to a different position.

Where can I find a listing of available Federal jobs?

Most positions within the Federal government can be found on the USAJOBS website: Additionally, individual agency websites may list employment opportunities.

I believe that a Federal agency is conducting prohibited personnel practices. What can I do?

Complaints alleging prohibited personnel practices should be directed to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of prohibited personnel practices. Information can be found at .

Who can I contact to learn about Schedule A for Persons with Disabilities opportunities?

Most Federal agencies have a Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC) who helps management recruit, hire and accommodate people with disabilities. Find a Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC).

Who do I contact if I have questions about a posted USAJOBS job opportunity announcement?

If you have questions regarding a position to which you are applying or to find out the status of your application, please communicate with the point-of-contact listed for each job opportunity announcement (JOA), usually contained in a block at the bottom of the JOA when you scroll down.

My spouse recently separated/retired from active duty, am I eligible for the Military Spouse Appointing Authority?

You may be eligible if your active duty spouse: 1. Retired under Chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code with a 100% disability rating from the military department; 2. Retired or was released from active duty and has a disability rating of 100% from the Department of Veterans Affairs or the military department.

I recently applied to a VEOA announcement and the agency did not give me preference, why not?

Veterans preference does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

Is there an end date for Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Yes. The President declared the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom August 31, 2010.

I never worked for the Federal government do I need to submit an SF-50 with my application?

No.

Can I submit a late application package after a closing date on a job posting?
A 10-point preference eligible may file an application under certain circumstances, after the closing date. If you want to apply after the closing date of the vacancy announcement, you should contact the agency that announced the position for further information.

I am currently on active duty and will not get my DD 214 until I am separated or retired. Is there any other official documentation that I can submit with an application package in lieu of the DD 214 to verify that I am eligible for veterans preference or one of the special hiring authorities for veterans?

Yes You can request a “certification”, that is a written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

I have never been in the military; however, my spouse is a veteran and currently works for the Federal Government. Am I able to claim veterans preference as a spouse when applying for Federal jobs?

No. You may not receive veterans preference in Federal employment as the spouse of a veteran if the veteran is living and qualified for Federal employment.

PPP Training Course for Personnelists Who Service Positions Overseas

We conduct this special 2-day PPP Training Course for stateside personnelists who work with the PPP and have servicing responsibility for positions overseas. This course covers only those policies and procedures that are unique to overseas areas. Students who attend must have attended the PPP Basic Course and must have a good working knowledge of the PPP. Note: We do not teach basic policies and procedures in this class. The focus is on two primary aspects of the PPP, clearing overseas positions through the Automated Stopper and Referral System (ASARS); and registering displaced and nondisplaced overseas employees, and nondisplaced overseas family members.

Federal Wage System (FWS) – FAQ

Why does the Federal Government conduct wage surveys?
Public law requires that wages for Federal blue collar employees be set in accordance with local prevailing rates. This policy ensures equity between the rates paid by the Federal Government and those paid by local employers.

Is participation in FWS surveys mandatory?
Participation is voluntary, however, private industry establishments are encouraged to participate.

Why can’t data already amassed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chamber of Commerce, or others be used?
There are several reasons for this. First, the types of jobs included in such surveys and the format in which data are presented are not compatible with our system. Second, while the Federal Government does not negotiate wages with the labor unions, labor does have a right under public law to participate in the collection and review of data prior to its use in determining a wage line. Thus the data we use must be collected with labor participation, a condition that does not apply to BLS and others when they collect their data.

How are companies selected for inclusion in FWS surveys?
To be considered for inclusion a company must meet the specifications for the survey in terms of size, geographic location, and type of industry.

What sort of information is required for the survey?
Data we seek falls into two general categories: (1) general information on the establishment, such as overtime, cost of living, and bonus pay provisions; and (2) for each job matched, a description of the duties and information on the number of employees, their rates of pay and their step rates.

How often are wage surveys conducted?
FWS Wage Surveys are conducted annually. During the first year of the two-year survey cycle, firms are visited by a team of Data Collectors who obtain data on the firms’ pay policies and specific information on company jobs comparable to our survey jobs. During the second year of the cycle, a phone contact is made to update the data obtained during the previous survey.

What kinds of businesses are surveyed?
Five industries are included in all FWS surveys. These are manufacturing, transportation, public utilities, communications, and wholesale trade. Additional industries are added when necessary to represent additional major industries in an area.

What kind of jobs are you interested in?
The survey includes only jobs typically associated with blue collar occupations that are commonly found in both industry and government.

How long will the interview last?
The length of the interview will vary depending on such factors as the number of job matches found and the availability of data at the company. Interviews typically range from 15-30 minutes at small firms with readily available data to 30-60 minutes at large companies. The following year a telephone contact is made to update the rates reported the preceding year. This call will normally not exceed 15 minutes.

Why can’t the data be collected by phone or simply extracted from the labor contract?
The nature of the data we seek and the time required to obtain the data make a phone interview impractical. While in many cases a great deal of information can be obtained from labor contracts, some of the most critical information needed can only manufacturing, transportation, public utilities, communications, and wholesale trade. Additional industries are added when necessary to represent additional major industries in an area.

What kind of jobs are you interested in?
The survey includes only jobs typically associated with blue collar occupations that are commonly found in both industry and government.

How long will the interview last?
The length of the interview will vary depending on such factors as the number of job matches found and the availability of data at the company. Interviews typically range from 15-30 minutes at small firms with readily available data to 30-60 minutes at large companies. The following year a telephone contact is made to update the rates reported the preceding year. This call will normally not exceed 15 minutes.

Why can’t the data be collected by phone or simply extracted from the labor contract?
The nature of the data we seek and the time required to obtain the data make a phone interview impractical. While in many cases a great deal of information can be obtained from labor contracts, some of the most critical information needed can only be obtained from company officials.

How will participating in this survey benefit a company?
By participating in this survey a company will be helping to insure that the Federal Government is competing fairly in the labor market by paying rates which prevail in the local area. This not only protects the company’s interests and guarantees Federal employees a fair wage, but also protects tax dollars. At the conclusion of the survey each participating company is given a summary of survey results. Although company identities are not divulged, the rates paid for various survey jobs in the area are reflected.

When can I expect a copy of the survey summary?
The results of the survey will be mailed to participating companies as soon as the survey is complete and the results are tabulated. This process takes approximately 12 weeks.

How can I be sure that any information I give you will be kept confidential?
All wage data is held in strict confidence. Any employee who violates this confidence is subject to disciplinary action by his employer and removal from wage survey functions. Information obtained on this survey will be used solely for pay setting determination and will not be passed on to other Government Agencies or other unauthorized persons.

How are wage areas defined?
Wage areas are prescribed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management which considers a number of factors such as commuting patterns, trading and commerce patterns, geographical features of the area, and Metropolitan Statistical Area definitions.

Why aren’t fringe benefits included in your survey?
Fringe benefits are adjusted separately. They are legislated by Congress based on periodic studies of private industry.

Considering the small amount of data obtained, why do you survey small companies?
The size of the company is not always a good indicator of the amount of data that is available. An establishment which employs 100 people may provide more information than a corporate headquarters with over one thousand employees. Further, since a weighting process is used as a part of the statistical sampling procedure, the resulting data may in the final analysis represent a far larger share of the data than one would at first be led to believe. It is important that both large and small companies be included to insure a properly balanced and representative survey.

What role do unions play in your survey?
Public law requires that labor organizations be allowed to participate at all levels of the pay setting process. Both labor and management are represented on data collection teams and on each of the reviewing levels. While actual determinations of policy and wages rest with management, labor assists by pointing out problems and recommending solutions, recommending wage lines, etc.

Why do you continue to do wage surveys when Congress has capped the amount of increase that can be paid? The restrictions limit the maximum amount of increase that can be paid. By conducting wage surveys, we find that some areas are not entitled to the full amount allowed by the pay cap. Thus the revised FWS pay schedule could provide less than allowed by the cap at some or all grades. This results in a savings of tax dollars. Additionally, we must be in a position to revert to the full prevailing rate at whatever point in time controls are lifted.

More information on the Federal Wage System can be found on the Office of Personnel Management website athttp://www.opm.gov/oca/wage/index.asp

Shutdown Furlough FAQs

Formal guidance is provided in the OPM Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs, which can be found at: OPM Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs. These FAQs respond to commonly asked questions. They are not intended to replace the OPM Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs, but rather to help human resources professionals in their furlough contingency planning.

General Administration

What is a shutdown furlough?
A shutdown furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because there is a lapse in appropriations.

Under what authority is a furlough taken?
For most employees, furloughs are covered under adverse action procedures found in subpart D of part 752 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). Furloughs for Senior Executive Service members are covered in subpart H of part 359 of title 5, C.F.R. Refer to the OPM guidance website for additional information.

My activity wants to have a contingency plan for those times when we may have a lapse in appropriations. What should we do?
Components may develop general planning documents in preparation for a lapse in appropriations. In doing so, Components should ensure that they update their contingency plans to conform to the most recent OPM and comptroller guidance.

How is an employee notified of a furlough?
Most employees will be directed to report to work to receive their Notice of Furlough in person and complete the orderly shutdown of operations.

Employees who are not available or who have not been directed to report to the office for personal delivery of their furlough notice may receive their notice electronically through agency email. The employee’s name, address, and/or e-mail address should be included on the decision notice so that it is clear the employee is receiving personal notification. The email notification must include instructions for the employee to acknowledge receipt. Acknowledgment of the notice may include a return e-mail from the employee acknowledging receipt; a copy of the notice returned with either a scanned copy of the personally signed document; or an electronic signature, if this feature is available. If agency email access is not available or a receipt of an email notice is not received, the notice must be mailed to the employee’s home address of record by registered mail with return receipt requested.

Activities that use electronic signatures will have to be prepared to establish the foundation for the authenticity of such signatures. Auto pens can be used as long as the Deciding Official can personally testify that he or she has personally made the decision in the case and has directed use of the auto pen. The person actually operating the auto pen must be able to testify that he or she acted at the specific direction of the Deciding Official.

In the event of a shutdown furlough, can an employee be furloughed without first receiving a written notice of decision to furlough?
Yes. While an employee ultimately must receive a written notice of decision to furlough, it is not required that such written notice be given prior to effecting the emergency furlough or in person. Advance written notice (including through e-mail) is preferable, but when prior written notice is not feasible, then any reasonable notice (e.g., telephonic, oral, personal e-mail, or by mail promptly after the furlough) is permissible.

What procedures should be followed for orderly shutdown?
Non-excepted employees will be expected to report to work on their next scheduled work day following the lapse in appropriations to carry out orderly shutdown activities. These shutdown activities may include receiving and acknowledging furlough notices, completing any required time and attendance, setting email/voicemail out-of-office notifications, securing files, and other activities necessary to preserve the employee’s work. Employees performing these activities will be entitled to compensation. Supervisors must ensure shutdown activities are completed in the most expeditious manner possible; generally such activities may not exceed three to four hours. Supervisors may permit non-excepted employees who are scheduled to telework on their next scheduled work day to perform necessary shutdown activities from their telework location, if an existing telework agreement is in place. To the greatest extent practical, and as locally determined, agencies may allow other employees to conduct necessary shutdown activities from a remote location, even without an existing telework agreement, if the nature of the employees' shutdown activities are de minimis (i.e., can be completed in approximately 15 minutes). For example, such activities would include receiving and acknowledging receipt of an electronic furlough notice and adjusting voicemail and email to reflect current work status.

Should an employee come in to receive his/her furlough notice if that day is a scheduled non-workday?
Employees should not report to duty on a non-workday to receive a furlough notice. This includes employees on alternative work schedule whose regular day off falls on the first day of a furlough. Instead, they should receive a furlough notice on their next regularly scheduled workday.

How is an employee notified of the end of the furlough?
Employees should listen to public broadcasts and monitor the OPM website to keep abreast of the latest news regarding the budgetary status of the United States Government.

How may an employee be recalled during the furlough to perform excepted activities?
There is no legal requirement to provide written notification amending the original notice of decision to furlough. Therefore, once a determination is made by the appropriate official that an employee should be recalled for all, or a portion of the remaining furlough period, the supervisor/manager can inform the employee by any reasonable method (e.g., telephonic or personal email). If it is later determined that a recalled employee’s services are no longer necessary to engage in an excepted function, the supervisor/manager can inform the employee by any reasonable method (e.g., telephonic, oral, or personal email) and is not required to issue a new notice of decision to furlough, provided such determination is made during the time period indicated in the original notice of decision to furlough. Supervisors/managers should document changes in status from non-excepted to excepted, or vice versa in order to provide source documentation to effect any resulting pay and/or personnel actions. Such documentation may be by: memorandum for record, e-mail communications, spreadsheet, or similar means

How is time on a shutdown furlough documented?
At the conclusion of a shutdown furlough, OPM will release specific guidance on how to prepare a Standard Form (SF) 50, “Notification of Personnel Action,” for each individual subject to furlough.

What effect will a furlough have on the calculation of an employee's creditable service?
Time spent in a non-pay status (including furlough) is credited as follows:

  • Career tenure: The first 30 calendar days of each non-pay period is creditable service. (5 C.F.R. § 315.201(b)(3)(ii)(A))
  • Probationary period: An aggregate of 22 workdays in a non-pay status is creditable service. (5 C.F.R. § 315.802(c))
  • Qualification standards: There is no requirement to extend qualifying periods by the amount of non-pay status. However, agencies may require such extensions in order to meet training requirements or ability to perform.
  • Time-in-Grade: Non-pay status is creditable service. (5 C.F.R. § 300.605(a))
  • Service computation date for leave purposes: Up to six months in non-pay status is creditable. (5 U.S.C. § 6303(a))
  • Service creditable for within-grade-increases: The time in a non-pay status that is creditable is determined by the employee’s current step (See 5 C.F.R. § 531.406(b) for General Schedule employees & 532.417(c)(2) for Federal Wage Schedule employees)

What effect does a furlough have on time limited appointments or promotions?
Furloughs do not extend the not-to-exceed date of time limited appointments or promotions. Agencies have the option to separate temporary employees rather than include them in the furlough.

What happens to time limited appointments that expire during a furlough?
Furloughs do not extend the time limits for temporary and term appointments. An agency may extend the time limited appointment prior to the furlough, or the individual may be reappointed after the furlough in accordance with 5 C.F.R. § 316.302(b)(7) or 5 C.F.R. § 316.401(c).

May an employee volunteer to do his or her job on a non-pay basis during a furlough period?
No. Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an individual. (See 31 U.S.C. § 1342.)

What happens to current Federal employees who are scheduled to transfer to a new DoDComponent or another Federal Agency during a shutdown furlough?
Entrance on duty (EOD) dates for employees scheduled to transfer to a new DoD Component or non-DoD Agency will be delayed until after a continuing resolution or budget is passed. The employee will remain on the rolls of their former Component or Agency until the new transfer effective date. Once appropriations are made, a new effective date must be negotiated between the gaining and losing Component or Agency, ensuring that a break in service does not occur to avoid affecting the employee’s leave and benefits. Effective dates for transfers should be delayed to the beginning of the next pay period following the end of the shutdown furlough, when feasible, to avoid payroll complications.

Can employees who are scheduled to EOD into excepted positions be brought onboard during a shutdown furlough?
The processing of EOD actions for individuals going to excepted positions during a shutdown furlough should be delayed as discussed in Questions 15. Although the employee may be entering into an excepted position, the activities involved with onboarding the new individual are not considered an excepted activity.

Leave

If an employee who received a furlough notice had previously scheduled annual or sick leave on a furlough day, what happens to the scheduled leave?
Upon furlough, all scheduled leave is canceled (annual leave, sick leave, or other). Absences during the furlough may not be charged to leave.

Does the fact that leave is cancelled mean that an employee scheduled to be on annual or sickleave cannot be absent and must report to work?
No. It means that absences during the furlough are not charged to leave. Instead, an employee who is absent is furloughed. Employees in this scenario will receive retroactive pay if Congress determines furloughed employees will receive pay for the furlough period.

May employees who were designated as excepted from a shutdown furlough be granted paid leave?
No. If an excepted employee is unavailable to be at work and perform the duties determined by the employing agency to be allowable activities, the employee must be furloughed. An agency may subsequently terminate the furlough if the employee’s services are still required for excepted activities following the absence.

If an employee is on approved leave without pay (LWOP), but affected by the furlough, would the employee be furloughed and LWOP terminated?
No. The status of employees in LWOP is not disturbed unless there is indication that the employee may return from the LWOP during the furlough.

How will employees on home leave be affected?
Employees on home leave will be placed in a furlough status. Home leave may be extended at the discretion of senior management officials.

If an employee is on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) during the furlough, do furlough days count towards the 12-week entitlement to FMLA leave?
No. Days associated with a furlough will not count against an employee's 12-week FMLA leave entitlement.

How should employees on military duty who were on previously scheduled military leave during a shutdown furlough be treated?
Employees on previously scheduled military leave would have their leave cancelled for days covered by the furlough. Employees in this scenario may receive retroactive pay if Congress determines furloughed employees will receive pay for the furlough period

Pay

If an employee performs National Guard or Reserve duty while furloughed, and Congress authorizes retroactive pay for the furlough period, is it a dual compensation situation?
If the employee was scheduled to be on “Absent-US” status, no retroactive pay would be authorized, and therefore it would not be a dual compensation situation. If the employee was scheduled to use military leave or other civilian paid time off and is authorized retroactive pay for the furlough period, there would be dual compensation, but it would be permissible. (See Question 4.7)

Will employees going overseas with advanced pay be able to get advanced pay or recoup their expenses?
No. Employees will not be able to get advanced pay as long as there is no appropriation in place to pay them. Once appropriations are in place, the employee can file a claim for reimbursement. Exceptions would include employees paid from “trust” or the Defense Business Operations Fund, if funds are available.

What about travel pay for those employees on renewal agreement travel, or student travel?
With no appropriation, there is no money to pay renewal agreement travel, or student travel; however, reimbursement claims can be filed once the appropriations are in place.

Will employees in Temporary Duty (TDY) status during the furlough period be paid? How are employees in TDY status informed and advised in the event of a furlough?
Please see the Contingency Plan Guidance issued by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

How will permanent change of station (PCS) moves and allowances tied to PCS such as temporary quarters subsistence expense (TQSE) be affected?
Please see the Contingency Plan Guidance issued by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Mass Transit Subsidy

Will the furlough impact mass transit subsidy/benefits?
Furlough does not change the maximum monthly limit (currently $255) for mass transit subsidy/benefits. Since participants may claim only the days for which mass transit was used, furloughed participants--commuting fewer days in a month--will claim fewer days.

Benefits

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)

To what extent does a shutdown furlough affect Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage?
The employee's FEHB coverage will continue even if an agency does not make the premium payments on time. Since the employee will be in a non-pay status, the enrollee share of the FEHB premium will accumulate and be withheld from pay upon return to pay status

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

To what extent does a shutdown furlough affect FEGLI coverage?
FEGLI coverage continues for 12 consecutive months while in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or the agency.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

What is the effect of a shutdown furlough on TSP contributions, investments, and loans?
Agencies and employees should refer to the TSP website or contact their agency representative for information. The web address is TSP.

Can I take a TSP loan while I’m furloughed?

Agencies and employees should refer to the TSP website or contact their agency representative for information. The web address is TSP.

Are agencies required to send in a Form TSP-41, “NOTIFICATION TO TSP OF NON-PAY STATUS (AGENCY USE),” notifying the TSP when employees have been furloughed?
No.

Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS)

To what extent does a shutdown furlough affect FSAFEDS coverage?
Health Care Expenses: Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. The employee remains enrolled in FSAFEDS, but eligible health care claims incurred during a non-pay status will not be reimbursed until the employee returns to a pay status and allotments are successfully restarted. The remaining allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the participant's election amount.

Dependent Care Expenses: Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during a non-pay status may be reimbursed up to whatever balance is in the employee's dependent care account--as long as the expense incurred during the non-pay status allows the employee (or spouse if married) to work, look for work or attend school full-time.

Long Term Care (LTC)

To what extent does a shutdown furlough affect LTC coverage?
Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. Coverage will continue so long as premiums are paid. If Long Term Care Partners does not receive payment for three consecutive pay periods, they will begin to direct bill the enrollee. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him or her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage. Visit the LTC website, LTC for more information.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Plan (FEDVIP)

To what extent does a shutdown furlough affect FEDVIP coverage?
Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. BENEFEDS will generate a bill to enrollees for premiums when no payment is received for two consecutive pay periods. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him/her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage. Employees can mail direct bill premiums to: BENEFEDS P.O. Box 797 Greenland, NH 03840-0797 Visit the FEDVIP website, BENEFEDS for more information.

Retirement

To what extent will a furlough affect my retirement annuity benefits?
Generally there will be no effect on the high-3 average pay unless the furlough causes the employee to be in a non-pay status for more than 6 months during the calendar year. For information about the impact of the furlough on retirement, see OPM’s Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs.

Unemployment Compensation

Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?
It is possible that furloughed employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Some States require a 1-week waiting period before an individual qualifies for payments. In general, the law of the State in which an employee’s last official duty station in Federal civilian service was located will be the State law that determines eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. (See the Department of Labor website “Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees,” at: http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp. Agencies or employees should submit questions to the appropriate State (or District of Columbia) office. The Department of Labor’s website provides links to individual State offices at:http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.

Are Human Resources Offices required to provide furloughed Federal employees with an SF-8, “Notice to Federal Employee about Unemployment Insurance?”
Yes, Federal agencies are required to provide a Form SF-8 to employees in addition to the furlough notice. For furlough purposes, a completed SF-8 for each component is located on the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS) external website

What address should the Human Resource Office (HRO) provide on the SF-8, Notice to Federal Employee about Unemployment Insurance? What is the Federal Identification Code (FIC)?
Normally, the address on the Form SF-8 should be the address for the servicing Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) or HRO. However, during a shutdown furlough, the Component Shutdown Furlough FAQs 9 March 2018 Headquarters CPO or HRO addresses are used. The pre-filled Form SF-8 for each component/agency is located via a link on the DCPAS website:
It is important to submit the correct Form SF-8 annotating the Headquarters CPO or HRO address and FIC to your State Employment Security Agency (SESA). The FIC code lets the SESA know the appropriate component/agency to be billed. The Department of Defense FIC’s are as follows:

Agency FIC
DoD Agencies (other than below) 421
Department of the Army 422
Department of the Navy 423
Department of the Air Force 424
Army National Guard (Title 32 employees) 422
Air National Guard (Title 32 employees) 424

Can employees excepted from the furlough file a UC claim, since they are not getting paid?
No. Excepted employees cannot file a UC claim, since they are not unemployed. Additionally, in order to receive UC benefits, an individual must be able and available to accept work. Excepted employees would not meet this requirement since they are already working.

Is the UC claim based on the state where the employee lives, or where the employee works?
UC claims are based on the state in which the work was performed.

Injury Compensation
How is Continuation of Pay (COP) under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act affected by a Government shutdown? The Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs which administers the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) advises that, in the event of a Government shutdown, an employee who is disabled due to his or her injury is to be maintained in COP status during the shutdown unless the agency does not have monies available to pay the salary of that employee. If the agency does not have monies to pay salary during the shutdown but the agency's budget is subsequently restored in such a way as to allow for retroactive payment of salary during the shutdown period, the employee should receive COP for any period of disability that occurs within the shutdown. In the event an agency is legally unable to pay COP to an employee because of a lapse in appropriations, the employee may file a claim for regular FECA wage loss compensation for that period.

Are employees who are injured while on furlough or LWOP eligible to receive workers’compensation?
No. Workers' compensation is paid to employees only if they are injured while performing their duties. Employees on furlough or L WOP are not in a duty status for this purpose. An employee who is receiving workers' compensation payments will continue to receive workers' compensation payments during a furlough and will continue to be charged LWOP. Any additional questions regarding Federal workers' compensation benefits should be directed to the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, U.S. Department of Labor. See http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec

Priority Placement Program (PPP)

Are furloughed employees eligible to register in the PPP?
Employees are not eligible to register in the PPP on the basis of furlough alone unless the furlough period is six months or longer. However, if they are eligible based on some other qualifying event such as reduction-in-force, declination of transfer of function, completion of an overseas tour, etc., they may register in accordance with the timelines of that event.

What will happen to PPP registrations and requisitions submitted on the last business day when employees are furloughed due to a government shutdown?
The Automated Stopper and Referral System will process those transactions, and they will take effect on the first business day after the shutdown furlough.

What happens if a PPP registrant is selected before the furlough and has an established entrance on duty (EOD) date that now falls within the furlough period?
The registering and gaining activities must re-negotiate the EOD date before the furlough begins, making every reasonable effort to avoid a service break for the registrant.

If a registering activity is unable to reach a registrant to extend a job offer before the shutdown furlough begins, when does the job offer response time begin (i.e., two days for CONUS registrants and three days for OCONUS registrants)?
As always, the response period does not begin until the registering activity establishes contact with the registrant and actually extends the job offer. Call the appropriate Civilian Assistance and Re-employment Program Coordinator for guidance in problem cases.

Activities will be unable to retrieve matches for active requisitions during a shutdown furlough. Will the matches remain in the system until the furlough ends?
Yes. Adjustments will be made for necessary actions to ensure the data is available at the end of the furlough period.

Labor Relations

A union has proposed that management rotate the designation of “excepted from the furlough” among employees who are equally qualified. This minimizes the impact on all employees, especially if Congress does not provide pay for those furloughed. Is this negotiable?
Yes. Management retains the right to assign work, to determine which duties and responsibilities must be performed during the furlough, and which employees are qualified to perform such duties and responsibilities. How these employees are selected from among those who are equally qualified, however, is subject to negotiation. While the excepted designation is not negotiable, once it has been determined which positions are excepted, the process of determining which employee(s) should be designated excepted, including a rotational schedule, is negotiable.

If rotation of the excepted designation is negotiable, do the parties have to agree?
No. The parties must deal in good faith with each other, either in partnership or through collective bargaining. They are not required in either approach to reach agreement. Where agreement cannot be reached, the services of a neutral third party may be used. If the parties have not reached agreement before the furlough, then management has no choice but to proceed by implementing its last offer. Management should, to the maximum extent possible, continue to negotiate with the union during implementation. If the parties reach impasse and the matter goes to the Federal Service Impasses Panel, management must be prepared to show that the requirement to rotate employees would impose an undue burden on the agency.

Security Clearance

If the furlough impacts my ability to meet my financial obligations (e.g., mortgage or rent payments), will it impact my eligibility for continued suitability for Federal employment, access to classified information, or to hold a sensitive position?
A furlough is a circumstance beyond your control. The Federal Adjudicative Guidelines specify that the adjudicative process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the “whole person concept.” Mitigating factors include whether the conditions that resulted in the concern were largely beyond the person's control and whether or not the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances. As a proactive measure, you may wish to contact your local Employee Assistance Program to see if financial planning is available.

DOD Enterprise Leader Development (LD) Programs

DoD Enterprise LD training enables a diverse cadre of high performing, and results-oriented civilian leaders to develop strategic leadership competencies that will allow them to increase their influence, lead effectively in increasingly complex environments, and take others to the next level. The DoD LD training programs also ensure continuity of leadership and organizations that drive transformation and continuous improvement across the enterprise.

There are currently 5 DoD Enterprise LD programs:

Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP)
DCELP is the premier DoD leader development program GS-7 through GS-12 (or equivalent) civilians in DoD or other Federal Agencies. The program is comprised of a series of 4 one-week in-resident sessions, assessment tools, knowledge transfer activities, participant writing and briefing projects, and individual coaching. The program concentrates on the five terminal learning objectives of Know Self, Express Self, Build Teams, Manage Organizations, and Understand the DoD.

Email: DCELP Program Staff

Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP)
ELDP, established in 1985 with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, trains the Department’s future leaders to recognize and respond to the issues facing DoD. It is open to DoD civilians at the GS-12 through GS-14 (or equivalent) level, with limited participation from military O-3 through O-4 levels and other Federal Agencies. ELDP provides participants with an extensive exposure to the roles and missions of the DoD through intense, hands-on field experience, and allows participants to experience first-hand the challenges our military face in carrying out their mission. ELDP is not for everyone; it is challenging both mentally and physically. During the ten months of training, participants travel to a variety of locations, within and outside of the Continental United States, to train with the warfighter. Participants of ELDP graduate from the program with an increased understanding and appreciation for today’s warfighters and the complexity of leadership at higher-level echelons.

ELDP Program Staff

Defense Senior Leader Development Program (DSLDP)
DSLDP is the premier civilian leader development program for Department of Defense civilians at the GS-14 through GS-15 (or equivalent) level. DSLDP institutes a competency-based approach to the deliberate development of senior civilian leaders with the enterprise-wide perspective needed to lead organizations and programs, and achieve results in the joint, interagency, and multi-national environments.

Email: DSLDP Program Staff

White House Leadership Development Program (WHLDP)
The WHLDP, sponsored by Executive Office of the President and supported by the President's Management Council and the Performance Improvement Council, provides a unique growth opportunity focused on developing high potential career GS-15s and equivalents poised to enter the next generation of career senior executives. Participants will work on the Federal government's high impact challenges that require the coordination of multiple federal agencies to succeed. WHLDP Information Paper

Email: WHLDP Staff

Vanguard Senior Executive Development Program (Vanguard)
Vanguard is the DoD's premier executive development program designed to equip Senior Executive Service (SES) members with tools to expand collaboration among Components, Federal agency partners and mutual stakeholders for successful mission accomplishment. This six-day/five-night residential program focuses on enhancing the ability of SES members to serve as enterprise leaders in a joint and interagency environment. Vanguard offers SES members the unique opportunity to form strategic partnerships with top-level executives, build upon their leadership capability to overcome evolving challenges such as constrained resources, and mitigate increasingly varied threats to national security. Program Overview

Email: DSLDP Program Staff

Employee Relations FAQs

What are Douglas Factors?
This is a reference to a decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board that listed 12 factors that might be taken into consideration when deciding on the appropriate penalty in any adverse action. Your human resources office will be able to provide you with a copy of these factors. At this point, it is sufficient to understand that the factors force a deciding official to examine any issues that might support a more severe penalty as well as those circumstances that would convince the deciding official to lower the penalty.

How will I know if my employee is "disabled" and should be accommodated?
The question of who is "disabled" under the law is one that is still confusing to experts. In most cases, you will want to turn over any documentation you receive from the employee to the human resources office so that they can obtain a physician's review of the employee's medical documentation. Once you get a decision from the medical experts that the employee's condition significantly impacts his or her ability to perform, you will need to carefully consider what the employee is requesting in the way of accommodation and assess whether or not you can provide the accommodation.

When is a Performance Improvement Period required?
Under Part 432 of Title 5, an employee must be provided with a formal opportunity to improve before a removal or demotion action can be taken based on unacceptable performance. On the other hand, Part 752 of Title 5 does not require a supervisor to provide an employee with such an opportunity and a supervisor has the option of proposing an action for unacceptable performance under Part 752 procedures. One reason a supervisor may elect not to provide an opportunity period may be that the employee has several years of experience on the job and additional training would prove useless. Another reason may be that an employee has already received extensive informal training and additional training or assistance would seem unreasonable.

Is there a law that requires a union representative's presence in a meeting where an opportunity period notice is being issued?
No. Because the meeting is not disciplinary or investigatory in nature, and because it is not a formal discussion of general conditions of employment, there is no requirement to have a union representative present. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the supervisor to explain his or her expectations of the employee and describe any specific efforts that will be made to assist the employee in improving his or her performance. Although any employee who is being told that his or her work is unacceptable will view this is as a negative process, it is a meeting to discuss methods of assisting an employee and is not disciplinary or punitive in nature.

Can I use Chapter 75 to address poor performance?
When dealing with a poor performer, agencies can use Chapter 43 or Chapter 75, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Proceeding under Chapter 43 allows an employee a chance to improve before action is taken. A Chapter 75 action is appropriate when an improvement period is not advisable or is unlikely to result in improvement.

Can a conduct-related performance problem be taken under Chapter 432?
Despite all of the training we receive on distinguishing between misconduct and poor performance issues, we all know that it is not always easy to decide how to address certain behavior on the job. While Chapter 432 is simply not designed to deal with misconduct issues, there are times when some types of misconduct lead to unacceptable performance. Take for example, the employee who never refuses an assignment, never says it is not going well, never fails to respond to supervisory inquiries, and never gets the job done. This could be a classic case of unacceptable performance that can be addressed through a PIP, and if necessary, by action under Part 432. Or it could be that the employee is acting deliberately, and the supervisor may need to be counseled on the option of taking action for failure to carry out assignments under Part 752.

What are the various ways of handling a WIGI approval that is shortly followed by an unacceptable rating?
Unfortunately, for many agencies, this has become an increasing problem. In most cases, it is unusual for an employee's performance to fall dramatically in a very short period of time. If you are faced with this type of situation, be sure that the supervisor has provided you with enough information/documentation that supports the employee's sudden drop in the level of performance. Remember, the approval of a WIGI is based upon the current rating of record which could have been issued any time in the year preceding the WIGI anniversary date. OPM's regulations on WIGIs states that if the last rating does not reflect current performance, a new rating should be issued to support a denial or approval of the WIGI. Therefore, an employee can reasonably count on the approval of a WIGI as statement that his or her performance is acceptable. Supervisors should be counseled that they may not refer to performance occurring before the date of the WIGI to demonstrate that the employee is performing unacceptably.

What factors should be considered when advising a supervisor on his or her decision to demote or remove?

This answer depends largely on whether the action is taken under Part 432 or Part 752. Under Part 432, you have the option of demotion or removal and the reasoning for choosing the action does not have to be defended. Furthermore, mitigation to a lesser action by a third party is not possible. So, if the requirements for proving unacceptable performance are met, and the employee is given an opportunity to improve, no third party can challenge the reasons for removing instead of demoting an employee. Therefore, a decision should be based on an analysis of whether an employee can function acceptably in a lower graded position or not. Some agencies may have policies that require supervisors to explore demotion options before going to removal, but that policy would be an internal policy, not one that governs all agencies.

What is the difference between probationary and trial employees and what are their appeal rights?
The probationary/trial period is the final step in the hiring process of a new employee. The probationary period can be a highly effective tool to evaluate a candidate's potential to be an asset to an agency before an appointment becomes final. However, for the probationary period to be used effectively, agencies must understand when an individual is considered to have full procedural and appeal rights, regardless of any probationary status. Until the probationary period has been completed, a probationer is technically still an applicant for an appointment. The term "probationary period" generally applies to employees in the competitive service. "Trial period," by contrast, generally applies to employees in the excepted service, as well as to some appointments in the competitive service, such as term appointments, which have a one-year trial period set by the Office of Personnel Management. The term "probation" is also used to refer to the one-year trial period served by individuals who are newly appointed to supervisory positions. During this period, probationary employees can be terminated for any perceived deficiency in performance or conduct, with minimal procedural requirements and without the need to meet the stringent "efficiency of the service" standard that governs the removal of tenured employees. However, a probationary employee does have some limited appeal rights to the MSPB (5 CFR §315.806). To assist with determining appeal rights, please review the Competitive Service Definition of Employee flowchart (.ppt).

Do I have to give a probationary/trial employee an opportunity to improve?
No. The law and regulations specifically exclude probationary/trial employees from the procedures that require the use of an opportunity to improve. This exclusion is because the entire probationary period is similar to an opportunity period. These employees should receive closer supervision, instruction, and training as needed during the first year of their employment.

What does "nexus" mean?
The term "nexus" refers to the connection that must exist between conduct or behavior forming the basis for an adverse action and the discernible or foreseeable negative impact the conduct or behavior has on an agency's operations. Nexus comes into play twice in most adverse actions. First, establishing nexus is necessary to prove that the action promotes the efficiency of the service. Second, nexus is often a factor in determining the appropriate penalty for the conduct or behavior. Sometimes nexus is relatively easy to demonstrate or prove. For example, with offenses such as insubordination or failure to show up for work, the connection between the offense and the adverse impact on the efficiency of the service is clear. But that isn't always the case. When the misconduct occurs off duty and away from work, the nexus is less obvious. However, some off-duty misconduct can be so egregious that the nexus "speaks for itself."

What is a “constructive suspension”? An employee's voluntary absence from work is not appealable. If, however an agency bars an employee from duty for more than 14 days, the employee's absence is considered a constructive suspension appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board. (See Johnson v. U.S. Postal Service, 109 LRP 19069 , 110 MSPR 679 (MSPB 2009)). The MSPB has recognized that constructive suspension claims may arise in two situations: 1) when an agency places an employee on enforced leave pending an inquiry into his ability to perform; or 2) when an employee who is absent from work for medical reasons asks to return to work with altered duties, and the agency denies the request.

What is “harmful error”?
Harmful error is error by the agency in the application of its procedures that is likely to have caused the agency to reach a conclusion different from the one it would have reached in the absence or cure of the error. The burden is on the appellant to show that the error was harmful, i.e., that it caused substantial harm or prejudice to his or her rights.

What is ex parte communication?
Ex parte communication is oral or written communication between a third party (such as the Merit Systems Protection Board or an agency deciding official) and one or more parties to a dispute that does not include another party to the issue in controversy. In regard to MSPB appeals, ex parte communication is addressed differently based on whether the communication is with an agency deciding official or an MSPB decision-making official. When improper ex parte communication occurs, an appellant's due process rights are violated and remedial action will be necessary.

What is excessive absence?
Excessive absenteeism can be defined as either a long-term continuous absence with no foreseeable end in sight or a pattern of frequent unplanned absences from work. The Merit Systems Protection Board and the courts have held that an employee's absence, by its very nature, adversely affects an agency's ability to accomplish its mission. Frequent and unscheduled absences, as well as prolonged absences from work with no foreseeable end, may form the basis for a proposed adverse action.

Can I use Chapter 75 to address poor performance. What’s the difference between insubordination and failure to follow instructions?
Insubordination is a serious offense that involves the deliberate failure or refusal to comply with the directions or orders of a superior. Implicit in any charge of insubordination is the assumption that an understandably clear order or direction was given, that it was put forth by an individual with the authority to do so, that it was not obeyed, and that it was within the ability of the recipient to do so. In only a few, limited circumstances are employees free of the obligation to follow orders or directions without liability to a charge of insubordination. Until it issued Hamilton v. U.S. Postal Service, 96 FMSR 5357, 71 MSPR 547 (MSPB 1996), the Merit Systems Protection Board treated a charge of failure to follow instructions as synonymous with one of insubordination. Now, if an agency is uncertain of its ability to meet the MSPB's standards of proof in establishing the elements of a charge of insubordination -- particularly willful intent to disobey -- it can choose to use the easier-to-prove charge of failure to follow instructions.

What’s the difference between falsification and lack of candor?
Falsification is a term used to refer to a broad array of offenses, ranging from the padding of expense reimbursement claims to omissions on employment applications and providing false answers in response to questions asked during an investigation. When the specific term "falsification" is used the agency is generally required to establish that the employee knowingly provided false or inaccurate information, and that it was his/her intent to deceive or defraud. Consequently, many employee relations professionals avoid the use of the term falsification in all but the most airtight cases, preferring instead to use terms that do not require proof of intent; such as lack of candor or providing inaccurate information.

What is substantial evidence?
Substantial evidence is the degree of relevant evidence that a reasonable person, considering the record as a whole, might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even though other reasonable persons might disagree. 5 CFR 1201.56 (c)(1). For the MSPB to sustain an agency's action in a Chapter 43 case, the agency must show by substantial evidence that: 1) the appellant's performance fails to meet the established performance standards in one or more critical elements of his position; 2) the agency established performance standards and critical elements and communicated them to the appellant at the beginning of the performance appraisal period; 3) the agency warned the appellant of the inadequacies of his performance during the appraisal period and gave him an adequate opportunity to improve; and 4) after an adequate improvement period, the appellant's performance remained unacceptable in at least one critical element. (Gonzalez v. Department of Transportation, 108 LRP 38096, 109 MSPR 250 (MSPB 2008)).

What is a preponderance of evidence?
Preponderant evidence is that degree of relevant evident that a reasonable person, considering the record as a whole, would accept as sufficient to find that a fact is more likely to be true than untrue. Under 5 USC 7513, an agency can take adverse action against an employee only for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service. To establish this nexus, an agency must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee's misconduct is likely to have an adverse effect on the agency's functioning. (Mings v. Department of Justice, 87 FMSR 7013, 813 F.2d 384 (Fed. Cir. 1987)).

Suitability FAQs

Request access to OPM's Central Verification System (CVS) for Suitability Adjudications?
Access to CVS must be requested by your Agency's authorized Security Official. Security officers and suitability adjudicators that do not have access to CVS can contact OPM FIS, System Access Support Team (SAST) at (724) 794-5612, ext. 4600.

Record Suitability Determinations in OPM's Central Verification System (CVS)?
The CVS user guide and "Entering Agency Adjudications" instructions may be found on OPM's Secure Portal once access is authorized.

Register for Suitability Training?
Link is provided under Training topic) Please visit OPM's website to register for their two week course or visit the Graduate School's course catalog.

Use OPM's Position Designation Tool?
(Link is provided under Tools & Resources topic) Please visit OPM's website to access the tool.

Record Position Risk or Sensitivity in DCPDS?
Please refer to DOD Issued memorandum: "Implementation of the Position Designation Automated Tool"

Sign up to receive updates on Suitability for the DOD?
(See suitability landing page for links) Submit request to be on email listing to receive updates.

Training & Resources FAQs

How can I request LERD trainers to come to my base?
The Labor & Employee Relations Division, provides training to managers and personnel throughout the Department of Defense. The training courses are presented at our offices in Alexandria, Virginia, at no cost. Additionally, they can be presented at your component site. The requesting organization is responsible for travel and per diem costs for two trainers for the course. Requests for training are processed based on the availability of the trainers and scheduled request. Please send an email to: fas_labor_training@cpms.osd.mil

How do I register for training?
Course descriptions and schedules are in our Training Center. Click on any available dates to register for the course. The online registration process is unavailable for the courses that are identified as "Full." If you would like to be placed on a waiting list in the event of a cancelation, please send an email to: fas_labor_training@cpms.osd.mil

  • Disciplinary/Adverse Actions - Selecting the Appropriate Penalty
  • Factors to Consider in Making a Decision on Disciplinary/Adverse Actions Guidance for Deciding Officials
  • Salmon v. Social Security Administration (SSA)

Douglas Factors
Douglas Factors (Fact Sheet) are established criteria that supervisors and deciding officials must consider in determining an appropriate penalty to impose for an act of federal employee misconduct.

Performance Vs Conduct

  • Performance vs. Conduct Fact Sheet
  • Understanding Leave Issues
  • Leave-Related Misconduct Fact Sheet
  • Addressing Poor Performance
  • Addressing Poor Performers and the Law: MSPB Report
  • Counseling Employees-Manager's Guide to Conducting an Effective Counseling Session

Medical Disability Issues

  • “EEOC Guidance, The ADA: Applying Performance and Conduct Standards to Employees with Disabilities”
  • EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees under the ADA

Probationary Period

  • 10 U.S.C.§1599(e)
  • Determining the Appeal Rights of an Individual Serving a Probationary Period
  • Fact Sheet References on Terminations of Probationary Periods
  • Probationary Period—Appeal Rights
  • Policy Memo

Employee Relations Training
LER provides two (2) employee relations courses: Basic Employee Relations for Practitioners training (~40 hours) and Basic Employee Relations for Supervisors training (12 hours) to DoD. Basic Employee Relations is a 5-day course designed to provide practitioners a solid foundation of general ground rules of federal employee relations. Course material is presented in an interactive classroom format. Topics include Probationary and Trial Periods; Conduct-based and Performance-based Actions; Distinguishing Between Chapter 43 and Chapter 75 of title 5, U.S.C. Requirements; Formulating Charges and Specifications; Medical Issues and Reasonable Accommodation; Avenues of Redress and more.

Labor Relations Training
LER provides two (2) labor relations courses: Basic Labor Relations for Practitioners training (~40 hours) and Basic Labor Relations for Supervisors training (12 hours) to DoD. Basic Labor Relations is a 5-day course that is taught on the foundation of the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute. Topics include Rights and Responsibilities, Bargaining Obligations, Negotiated Grievance Procedures, and Contract Administration.

NOTE: When clicking on the link to Labor Relations for Supervisors/Managers on the current DCPAS public site this is what comes up:
Labor Relations for Supervisors/Managers Need to remove the CPMS branding.

Internal Training
LER conducts internal Labor and Employee Relations training for new LER staff and other DCPAS LOBs. The course is designed to provide practitioners a solid foundation of general ground rules of federal labor and employee relations. Course material is presented in an interactive classroom format and corresponds to the LER courses provided to the DoD Community.

LER Programs Training
All programs in the LER portfolio require various levels of training, guidance, or tip sheets to assist Components and HR professionals in implementation. Course materials are integrated with like content, posted on the LER webpage, and provided to the Components via email. Some of the trainings are Train-the-Trainer courses, which provides local specialists the ability to conduct their own internal training.

Performance Management
HR University: Linking and Developing Measurable SES Results-Focused Performance Requirements
SES Results-Focused Performance Requirements

Talent Management

Apex Senior Executive Orientation
Two-week DoD-wide Executive development opportunity designed to provide newly appointed Senior Executives with both a practical and theoretical understanding of the structure and processes of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff, and the Military Departments. Additionally, APEX helps new leaders gain an enterprise-wide perspective that encompasses expectations, opportunities and challenges currently facing our DoD leadership.

Capstone
Its focus is on the highest levels of strategy, integrating the elements of national power to achieve national security objectives, and how to integrate the elements of national power in order to accomplish national security and national military strategies and how joint, interagency, and multinational operations support national strategic goals and objectives.

OPM Leadership 360 Assessment and Executive Coaching Program
The OPM Leadership 360 Assessment and Executive Coaching Program is a professional development opportunity for DOD Senior Executive Service members, using a 360-degree assessment tool coupled with executive coaching services.

Vanguard Program Overview
Vanguard is DoD’s premier executive development program designed specifically to equip Senior Executive Service (SES) members with tools to more effectively expand collaboration among Components, Federal agency partners and mutual stakeholders toward successful mission accomplishment. This six-day/five-night program focuses on enhancing the ability of SES members to serve as enterprise leaders in a joint and interagency environment. Vanguard offers SES members the unique opportunity to form strategic partnerships with top-level executives, build upon their leadership capability to overcome evolving challenges such as constrained resources, and mitigate increasingly varied threats to national security.

Senior Executive Service Orientation Briefings
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), through its Federal Executive Institute (FEI), and in conjunction with the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, conducts government-wide SES Orientation Briefings for the benefit of new members of the career Senior Executive Service (SES) and SES equivalents in all Federal agencies.
Additional training may be available through the Component’s Senior Executive Management Offices or the DCPAS Talent Development Line of Business

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