[IPAC-List] What does time in job get you?

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Thu May 7 09:19:54 EDT 2009

The current issue of the merit Systems Protection Board's "Issues of Merit" newsletter ( http://www.mspb.gov/sites/mspb/pages/MSPB%20Studies.aspx ) notes that as of May 18, the Office of Personnel Management will be eliminating "time-in-grade" requirements for promotions within the federal PS. The same article also points out that the necessity of serving 52 or more weeks "in grade" is but one of the multiple qualifications a candidate needed to meet to be eligible for a promotion, so dropping it does not necessarily diminish the stringency with which promotions are handed out.

At the same time, time spent in grade is/was there for some kind of cogent reason. So I'm wondering, what is it that folks think a year's time in-grade gives an employee, and is there a valid, feasible, and economic way to measure it such that dropping the 52-week requirement does not totally eliminate what it was that people thought it was adding to the mix? Is a year on the job something one ought to assess with a knowledge test? Is it a marker of dependability, hence replaceable with a conscientiousness inventory? Or is it simply a way to impose some stability on the organization (i.e., less hopscotching about by staff), with nothing to do regarding candidate quality? What is it that people think they're getting if someone has been on the job for at least a year (more accurately, in any job within the same pay grade) within the broader organization (or same system)?

Are there any other jurisdictions that have time-in-job/at-level requirements analogous to this, and what is the rationale for their existence, continuance, deletion?

If anyone has any additional expertise on the specific requirement, and the accompanying policy change, I'd be interested to know more.

Mark Hammer

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