OPM yesterday (November 8) finalized rules to eliminate a requirement that employment be “substantially continuous” in order for employees to accumulate the three years of service time needed to move from career-conditional to career status. Having career status provides additional protections in RIFs and eligibility for rehiring without competing against the general public, among other advantages. Under traditional rules that will change effective December 7, the three years must be “substantially continuous”—meaning that employees must to restart that count if they have a break in service of more than 30 days. Under the new rules, all service will count toward the requirement regardless of breaks. In proposing the change in 2014, OPM said that counting total service time better reflects the more mobile current career patterns and said that the traditional policies have been a special hardship on military spouses. They commonly get federal jobs–in part because of certain hiring preferences for them–but often don’t complete three years of employment before having to move when their spouse is reassigned, and don’t manage to get new federal employment within 30 days, it said. Time under temporary appointments is not creditable, but part-time work under a permanent employment is creditable, say the rules, which also address special situations such as intermittent service, non-pay status, and others.