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OPM wants to broaden reinstatement eligibility of those who leave federal employment and then are seeking to return to the government by allowing them to come back at a higher grade than the one they left.

Proposed rules would give agencies “greater flexibility in recruiting back to government service former federal employees who have developed enhanced or higher-level skill-sets than they had when they left government. Individuals seeking to rejoin the federal workforce may do so more easily and at grade levels commensurate with the skills and experience they actually possess (and be compensated at such grade levels),” says a December 26 Federal Register notice.


Under current rules, an agency may reinstate an individual, without competition, only to a position at no higher than the grade of the position the individual held on a permanent basis in the competitive service.

Reinstatement to a higher-graded position, or to a position with greater promotion potential, requires competition.

The proposed rules would allow an agency to reinstate a former career or career-conditional employee without competition, and regardless of the promotion potential, to a position at a higher grade so long as the person had been voluntarily separated for at least one year and had been rates as at least “fully successful” in that position.

The one-year requirement “will prevent situations in which employees seeking a promotion quit and get reinstated to a higher-graded position (in essence a promotion) prior to meeting” the general requirement that competitive service employees must have at least one year of specialized experience before being eligible for promotion to a higher grade. And if the prior performance were less than fully successful, “we would want agencies to put the candidate through a more rigorous process to accurately evaluate current capabilities before hiring the individual again.”

Those who do not meet those standards still would remain eligible for reinstatement without competition for positions with no higher grade or with no more promotion potential than their previous position.

More on Reinstatement Eligibility for federal employees at ask.FEDweek.com