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Faster Promotions Halted, at Least for Now

By Ed O'Keefe

The Obama administration has decided to keep the "time-in-grade rule," meaning ambitious federal employees will have to slow their plans to climb the career ladder. The policy requires federal employees in General Schedule grades 5 and above to work for one year in their current grade before consideration for promotion.

In Tuesday's editions of the Federal Register, the Office of Personnel Management said it will keep the rule in place and reconsider it later this year as part of a broader review of several personnel issues, including compensation, performance reviews and staffing.

The decision means the revocation of yet another Bush-era policy, which was enacted in November. Officials argued then that the rule was no longer necessary because government hiring standards account for experience and education necessary for promotion.

The decision is a big victory for federal employees unions, which worry that a rule change could give managers too much influence over the hiring and promotion process.

“I welcome the OPM decision and its position that reviewing federal workplace matters, including the critical need for adequate staffing, is not best done on a piecemeal basis,” National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement. “This development is consistent with NTEU’s view that any systemic change to civil service rules must be undertaken in a more measured fashion, in consultation with unions and other stakeholders.”

The rule was established during the Korean War to stop a potential buildup of federal employees with higher grade levels, which happened during World War II.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 11, 2009; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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