Time-In-Grade May Not Go Away

The Office of Personnel Management is withdrawing its plan to abolish the one-year time-in-grade requirement for federal employee promotions. OPM <a href="http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-19174.pdf">announced</a> in the <em>Federal Register</em> on Tuesday that it would withdraw proposed regulations to abolish the time-in-grade rule after the agency 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.

The Office of Personnel Management is withdrawing its plan to abolish the one-year time-in-grade requirement for federal employee promotions. OPM announced in the Federal Register on Tuesday that it would withdraw proposed regulations to abolish the time-in-grade rule after the agency 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. Abolishing the restriction was originally proposed by the Bush administration on Nov. 7.

Under current rules, employees in competitive service General Schedule positions at grade levels 5 and above must serve 52 weeks in grade before becoming eligible for promotion. The rules would have eliminated the 52-week condition, provided employees meet occupational and job-related qualification requirements.

OPM originally proposed abolishing the time-in-grade requirements to allow agencies more leeway in recruiting and retaining highly qualified employees in tight labor markets. It's safe to assume that recruiting and retaining federal IT workers would have been widely impacted by the new rules. The issue appears to still be on the table as part of a more comprehensive review, so what are your thoughts? Is eliminating the 52-week condition critical to recruiting and retaining IT workers, especially younger workers who want to climb the career ladder faster? Or would abolishing this time-in-grade requirement open up the potential for abuse or misuse by federal managers?

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