U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 07, 2023
(a)(1) Each agency is responsible for determining the categories within which positions are required, where they are to be located, and when they are to be filled, abolished, or vacated. This includes determining when there is a surplus of employees at a particular location in a particular line of work.
(2) Each agency shall follow this part when it releases a competing employee from his or her competitive level by furlough for more than 30 days, separation, demotion, or reassignment requiring displacement, when the release is required because of lack of work; shortage of funds; insufficient personnel ceiling; reorganization; the exercise of reemployment rights or restoration rights; or reclassification of an employee's position die to erosion of duties when such action will take effect after an agency has formally announced a reduction in force in the employee's competitive area and when the reduction in force will take effect within 180 days.
(b) This part does not require an agency to fill a vacant position. However, when an agency, at its discretion, chooses to fill a vacancy by an employee who has been reached for release from a competitive level for one of the reasons in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, this part shall be followed.
(c) Each agency is responsible for assuring that the provisions in this part are uniformly and consistently applied in any one reduction in force.
(d) An agency authorized to administer foreign national employee programs under section 408 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3968) may include special plans for reduction in force in its foreign national employee programs. In these special plans an agency may give effect to the labor laws and practices of the locality of employment by supplementing the selection factors in subparts D and E of this part to the extent consistent with the public interest. Subpart I of this part does not apply to actions taken under the special plans authorized by this paragraph.
(a) Employees covered. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this part applies to each civilian employee in:
(1) The executive branch of the Federal Government; and
(2) Those parts of the Federal Government outside the executive branch which are subject by statute to competitive service requirements or are determined by the appropriate legislative or judicial administrative body to be covered hereunder. Coverage includes administrative law judges except as modified by part 930 of this chapter.
(b) Employees excluded. This part does not apply to an employee:
(1) In a position in the Senior Executive Service; or
(2) Whose appointment is required by Congress to be confirmed by, or made with the advice and consent of, the United States Senate, except a postmaster.
(c) Actions excluded. This part does not apply to:
(1) The termination of a temporary or term promotion or the return of an employee to the position held before the temporary or term promotion or to one of equivalent grade and pay.
(2) A change to lower grade based on the reclassification of an employee's position due to the application of new classification standards or the correction of a classification error.
(3) A change to lower grade based on reclassification of an employee's position due to erosion of duties, except that this exclusion does not apply to such reclassification actions that will take effect after an agency has formally announced a reduction in force in the employee's competitive area and when the reduction in force will take effect within 180 days. This exception ends at the completion of the reduction in force.
(4) The change of an employee from regular to substitute in the same pay level in the U.S. Postal Service field service.
(5) The release from a competitive level of a National Guard technician under section 709 of title 32, United States Code.
(6) Placement of an employee serving on an intermittent, part-time, on-call, or seasonal basis in a nonpay and nonduty status in accordance with conditions established at time of appointment.
(7) A change in an employee's work schedule from other-than-full-time to full-time. (A change from full-time to other than full-time for a reason covered in § 351.201(A)(2) is covered by this part.)
In this part:
Competing employee means an employee in tenure group I, II, or III.
Current rating of record is the rating of record for the most recently completed appraisal period as provided in § 351.504(b)(3).
Days means calendar days.
Function means all or a clearly identifiable segment of an agency's mission (including all integral parts of that mission), regardless of how it is performed.
Furlough under this part means the placement of an employee in a temporary nonduty and nonpay status for more than 30 consecutive calendar days, or more than 22 workdays if done on a discontinuous basis, but not more than 1 year.
Local commuting area means the geographic area that usually constitutes one area for employment purposes. It includes any population center (or two or more neighboring ones) and the surrounding localities in which people live and can reasonably be expected to travel back and forth daily to their usual employment.
Modal rating is the summary rating level assigned most frequently among the actual ratings of record that are:
(1) Assigned under the summary level pattern that applies to the employee's position of record on the date of the reduction in force;
(2) Given within the same competitive area, or at the agency's option within a larger subdivision of the agency or agencywide; and
(3) On record for the most recently completed appraisal period prior to the date of issuance of reduction in force notices or the cutoff date the agency specifies prior to the issuance of reduction in force notices after which no new ratings will be put on record.
Rating of record has the meaning given that term in § 430.203 of this chapter. For an employee not subject to 5 U.S.C. Chapter 43, or part 430 of this chapter, it means the officially designated performance rating, as provided for in the agency's appraisal system, that is considered to be an equivalent rating of record under the provisions of § 430.201(c) of this chapter.
Reorganization means the planned elimination, addition, or redistribution of functions or duties in an organization.
Representative rate means:
(1) The fourth step of the grade for a position covered by the General Schedule, using the locality rate authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5304 and subpart F of part 531 of this chapter for General Schedule positions;
(2) The prevailing rate for a position covered by a wage-board or similar wage-determining procedure, such as provided in the definition of representative rate for Federal Wage System positions in 5 CFR 532.401 of this chapter;
(3) For positions in a pay band, the rate (or rates) the agency designates as representative of that pay band or competitive levels within the pay band, including (as appropriate) any applicable locality payment authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5304 and subpart F of part 531 of this chapter (or equivalent payment under other legal authority); and
(4) For other positions (e.g., positions in an unclassified pay system), the rate the agency designates as representative of the position, including (as appropriate) any applicable locality payment authorized by subpart F of part 531 (or equivalent payment under other legal authority).
Transfer of function means the transfer of the performance of a continuing function from one competitive area and its addition to one or more other competitive areas, except when the function involved is virtually identical to functions already being performed in the other competitive area(s) affected; or the movement of the competitive area in which the function is performed to another commuting area.
Undue interruption means a degree of interruption that would prevent the completion of required work by the employee 90 days after the employee has been placed in a different position under this part. The 90-day standard should be considered within the allowable limits of time and quality, taking into account the pressures of priorities, deadlines, and other demands. However, a work program would generally not be unduly interrupted even if an employee needed more than 90 days after the reduction in force to perform the optimum quality or quantity of work. The 90-day standard may be extended if placement is made under this part to a low priority program or to a vacant position.
Each agency covered by this part is responsible for following and applying the regulations in this part when the agency determines that a reduction force is necessary.
The Office of Personnel Management may establish further guidance and instructions for the planning, preparation, conduct, and review of reductions in force. OPM may examine an agency's preparations for reduction in force at any stage. When OPM finds that an agency's preparations are contrary to the express provisions or to the spirit and intent of these regulations or that they would result in violation of employee rights or equities, OPM may require appropriate corrective action.