Time-in-Grade Still Stands the Test of Time

By Joyce Ceconi
Originally Posted to Unleash the Monster

During your career, have you ever had the sentiment you have not been in your position long enough to be considered for a promotion? Many federal government employees and hiring managers have long struggled with this very issue—the time-in-grade requirement.

The Office of Personnel Management is canceling its plans to eliminate the one-year time-in-grade requirement that would give high-performing General Schedule employees the opportunity to be evaluated for faster promotions. According to the Federal Register, OPM said, “After carefully considering all of the comments OPM has determined that it would be more productive to consider the merits of the time-in-grade issue as part of a more comprehensive review of pay, performance, and staffing issues than to regulate this particular issue in piecemeal fashion.”

Last November, OPM announced that it would get rid of the rule that federal employees at a grade level five and above must serve 52 weeks in a grade before being considered for promotion to the next higher grade.

There will be much debate to come as OPM continues its broader review. Moreover, many pressing questions come to mind:

What type of challenges does keeping the time-in-grade rule raise for hiring managers?

Does the time-in-grade rule place too many limitations on recruiting and retaining a highly qualified workforce?

How do you balance an employee’s performance of the position requirements vs. meeting the passage of time requirements?

If OPM eliminates the time-in-grade rule, what role will objective criteria play when promotions are considered?

At Monster, we’re staying tuned in because we recognize that no matter what side of the table the time-in-grade rule falls, federal hiring managers will need to have the right plan in place for recruitment, training and retention. I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this topic.

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