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Personnel Delegation #10



This subchapter explains agency authority to detail competitive and excepted service employees. (Details of Senior Executive Service appointees and details of other employees to SES positions are explained in FPM Supplement 920-1, subchapter S5.)


  1. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sets the policy on details to competitive and excepted positions within an agency under 5 U.S.C. 3341, based on its responsibilities for administering the laws on the competitive service and the classification of positions.
  2. Agencies may detail employees to:
    • Competitive and excepted positions within an agency (intraagency details) following 5 U.S.C. 3341 and this subchapter;
    • Competitive and excepted positions in other agencies (interagency details) following section 601 of 31 U.S.C. 1535 and other applicable statutes;
    • Certain executive positions following 5 U.S.C. 3345-3349;
    • International organizations following 5 U.S.C. 3343 and FPM Chapter 352;
    • Foreign Governments following 22 U.S.C. 2387, administered by the State Department; and
    • NonFederal organizations following the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, 5 U.S.C. 3371-3376, and FPM Chapter 334.
  3. General Accounting Office (GAO) exercises oversight responsibility for agency use of appropriated funds and, in this capacity, determines under what conditions nonreimbursable details may be made.  See section 8-6.


  1. A detail is the temporary assignment of an employee to a different position or set of duties for a specified period of time.  There is no formal position change; officially, the employee continues to hold the position from which detailed and keeps the same status and pay.
  2. An employee who continues to carry out the duties of the position to which permanently assigned and also performs some of the duties of another position for a limited time (e.g., while the other position is vacant or the incumbent is on leave) generally is not considered to be on a detail.  Performance of other duties on regular basis may, however, require classification action.
  3. Agencies may detail employees for any legitimate management purpose, for example, to handle unexpected workloads or special projects; to fill in during another employee's absence; for training; or pending position classification, security clearance or investigation.


Subject to sections 8-5, 8-6, 8-7, and 8-8, employees, by appointment type, may be detailed to other positions as follows:

  1. Career and career-conditional employees:  to competitive or excepted positions.
  2. TAPER employees (temporary appointment pending establishment of a register):  to competitive or excepted positions.
  3. Schedule A or B employees:  to competitive or excepted positions.
  4. VRA (Veterans Readjustment Act) appointees:  to competitive or excepted positions.
  5. Excepted service employees (other than those covered by paragraphs c and d above): to excepted positions.  They may be detailed to positions in the competitive service but only under delegated agreement with OPM or with OPM's prior approval.  This approval is required for interagency and intraagency details; see Civil Service Rule 6.5.
  6. Employees in status quo:  to competitive or excepted positions.
  7. Term and temporary employees:  to competitive or excepted positions.  A term employee may be detailed only to a position appropriate for term employment; a temporary employee may be detailed only to a position appropriate for temporary employment.  See FPM Chapter 316.  A detail does not extend the expiration date of a term or temporary appointment.


  1. Agencies should keep details within the shortest practicable time limits and should make continuing efforts to secure necessary services by appropriate personnel actions.  Supervisors should be advised of the conditions and limits on details.
  2. Time limits in this section apply to intraagency details of:
    • competitive service employees,
    • excepted service employees to competitive service positions, and
    • excepted service employees in General Schedule (including "GM") positions to excepted service positions.

    See section 8-6 for information on when time limits apply to interagency details.

  3. Initial details and extensions. Agencies may make initial details for up to 120 calendar days.  Details may be extended in increments up to 120 days, subject to the maximum calendar time limits in paragraph d.
  4. Maximum time limits.
    • Agencies may make and extend details of employees to unclassified duties, and to positions at the same, lower, or higher grade (except SES) in 12O-day increments, up to a maximum of 1 year.  Exception:  The maximum is 2 years for details to positions in an organization undergoing a commercial activity study as defined in paragraph i.
    • See FPM Supplement 920-1, subchapter S5 for information on details of non-SES employees to SES positions.
  5. Unclassified duties.  For the purposes of this section, a "classified position" has a written statement of duties to which an appropriate classiflcation authority has assigned a grade level; the position may or may not have been officially established.

    If a set of duties is later classified, time under a detail to the unclassified duties counts toward the maximum time limits in this section, but not toward the maximum period in FPM Chapter 335 for noncompetitive details to higher grade positions.

  6. Overly long details.  Agencies should be especially careful to keep details to higher grades within time limits.  Employees generally have no right to retroactive temporary promotions for details exceeding the time limits in this section.  Exceptions occur when an agency regulation or collective bargaining agreement establishes the right to a temporary promotion. [Wilson v. United tates, 229 Ct. Cl. 510 (1981) and 61 Comp. Gen. 408 (1982).]
  7. Requests for extensions beyond maximum time limits.  Send requests for extensions beyond the maximum time limits to the servicing OPM offtice.  Exception:  When SES appointees or positions are involved, send requests to the Director, Office of Executive Personnel, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415.  NOTE:  OPM approval is also required for an agency to detail an employee back to a position to which he or she had been detailed (for the maximum time period) within the previous 30 days.
  8. Computing time limits.  Although a new time limit applies each time an employee is detailed to a different position, agencies should not routinely keep employees on detail for long periods.  When an employee's service on detail will extend beyond a year, the agency should review the situation to see if other action, based on the reasons for the detail, would be more appropriate.
  9. Commercial activity study means a review under OMB Circular A-76 of an agency activity I that could be performed under contract.  The results of the review are used to create the most efficient organization and to compare proposals from contractors.


  1. General rule.  A Comptroller General's decision (64 Comp. Gen. 370, March 20, 1985) holds that in the absence of a specific statute authorizing nonreimbursable details, all details within an agency (intraagency details) and all details between agencies (interagency details) must be made on a reimbursable basis except in the limited circumstances described in this section.  Where a reimbursable detail is not required by the Comptroller General, the organizations involved decide whether the detail should be reimbursable or nonreimbursable.
  2. Intraagency details.  All intraagency details must be reimbursable except when the detail is:
    1. To a position covered by the same appropriation as the position from which detailed;
    2. To a position covered by a different appropriation but the detail involves a matter related to the loaning organization's appropriation and will aid it in accomplishing the purpose for which appropriations are provided; or
    3. To a position covered by a different appropriation but, regardless of the purpose of the appropriation, the detail will have a negligible impact on the loaning organization's appropriation.  (The GAO decision makes all details based on negligible impact subject to the time limits in 5 U.S.C. 3341 and this subchapter.)
  3. Interagency details.  All interagency details must be reimbursable except when the detail:
    1. Involves a matter related to the loaning agency's appropriation and will aid it in accomplishing the purpose for which appropriations are provided; or
    2. Will have a negligible impact on the loaning agency's appropriation.  The GAO decision makes all details based on negligible impact subject to the time limits in this subchapter.
  4. Details to congressional committees.  According to the GAO decision, details to congressional committees made on a nonreimbursable basis because of negligible impact are subject to the time limits in this subchapter.
  5. Written agreements.  Written agreements between agencies and between components of a single agency are required for reimbursable details subject to the GAO decision.  See 31 U.S.C. 1535.


  1. Intraagency Details.
    1. Agencies must use an SF 52, Request for Personnel Action, (or an SF 50, Notiflcation of Personnel Action, at the agency's option) to document as a permanent record in the Official Personnel Folder:
      • details for more than 30 days to a higher grade position or to a position with more promotion potential, and
      • all other details for 120 days or more.
    2. Exception.  An SF 52 is not required for a detail to a position identical to the employee's current position or one with the same grade, series, and basic duties as the employee's current position.
    3. Details for which an SF 52 is not required are still subject to the time limits in this subchapter.  Agencies must still keep track of such details in order to know when to process a 120-day extension and when the maximum time limit has been reached.
  2. Interagency Details.  Agencies should document interagency details in the employee's Official Personnel Folder by filing a copy of the agreement with the borrowing agency or a completed SF 52.


The Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Act, requires Executive agencies to report annually to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations on employees or members of the armed services detailed to other agencies.  The report requirements are in the law, which is set out as a note preceding section 3341 in title 5 of the annotated U.S. Code (available in most Government libraries).


  1. The time-after-competitive-appointment restriction applies to details of employees.  See FPM Chapter 300, subchapter 5.
  2. Qualifications Standards.  OPM's qualiflcation standards, other than those involving minimum educational requirements, are not mandatory for details.  However, if an agency details an employee subject to merit promotion procedures, it must apply the same standards to all applicants.
  3. Crediting Details for Qualifications Purposes.  The General Policies and Instructions for the Qualifications Standards Handbook provide that the experience of employees on detail is credited as an extension of the work the employee was doing immediately prior to the detail, or on its own merits, whichever is more beneficial to the employee.
  4. Time-in-grade requirements.  Service while on detail is credited for time-in-grade purposes at the grade of the position the employee officially holds.
  5. Competition.  Although agencies may make intraagency details of employees to higher graded positions or positions with more promotion potential for a maximum of 1 year, competition under FPM Chapter 335 is required for certain details.  See FPM Chapter 335 for time limits.
  6. Performance appraisals for detailees.  See 5 C.F.R. 430 and 432 and related FPM material.

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