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.


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