OPM eliminates time-in grade restriction

Federal employees at a General Schedule grade 5 and above no longer have to stay in their current grade for a year before being able to be compete for a new job at a higher grade.

A new final rule published on Friday in the Federal Register by the Office of Personnel Management eliminates the time-in-grade restriction for certain employees.

Employees at Grade 5 and above now must meet two requirements to receive a grade promotion. The employee must:

  • Have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty to the next lower grade level or the equivalent education
  • Have been in the current grade for at least 52 weeks

The new regulation goes into affect March 9.

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OPM received comments from seven agencies, five unions, one national employee organization and 33 individuals.


Some concerns, such as the fact that eliminating the time-in-grade requirement could lead to abuse in a manger’s authority, were raised.

Other concerns included how this would impact minorities and veterans, as well as the possibility that the new rule could lead to confusion about how this affects within-in grade increases.

OPM says it will continue to monitor agency promotion actions through its normal oversight function.

For information: OPM final rule on time-in-grade requirement