Chicago, Jan 2019: TSA officers work a checkpoint at O'Hare Airport during the 2018 - 2019 partial government shutdown. A new two-level rating system is to be paired with model officer recognition program.

The TSA has said that effective with fiscal 2020 performance evaluations, it will rate its uniformed officers—primarily screeners at airports—under a two-level system, effectively pass/fail.

“As in previous years, employees with a satisfactory performance rating indicating they have “met standards” will be eligible for a pay adjustment and/or performance award based on available funding, at the end of the performance period,” the agency said in an announcement.

It said the system will be paired with a new recognition program called the model officer program “which will identify and reward the highest performers. Throughout the year, ‘model officers’ will be recognized with additional salary increases, monetary awards, and/or other forms of special recognition over and above the performance rating process,” it said. “These changes simplify the process by removing some of the burdensome reporting requirements, making it easier to identify TSA’s most outstanding performers.”

TSA has used several special types of personnel authorities for screeners—including a separate pay scale and more limited union bargaining rights and employee appeal rights—since its creation following the 9/11 attacks, policies that have been cited as one reason for the agency’s notably high employee turnover and notably low ratings in many areas in the annual government-wide employee survey.