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Personnel Delegation #54

Personnel Delegation #54

Date:  APR 21 1994

From: From Director
Office of Personnel Management OM/PHS

To: PHS Agency Personnel Officers

We have attached for your information a copy of a letter we received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (USOPM).  The letter clarifies the application of grade and pay retention provisions to employees in positions targeted for reduction and reassignment under a department or agency's restructuring plans.  The letter explains the conditions under which the Department may offer grade and/or pay retention as appropriate to employees who voluntarily request a demotion from a targeted to a non-targeted position.

As you know, an employee is normally ineligible for grade or pay retention if the employee was demoted at his or her request. In effect, the attached USOPM letter is saying that the definition of "demotion at an employee's request" in USOPM regulations does not apply to employee requests that are directly caused or influenced by the announced targeting of a category of positions for future reductions, e.g. employees in positions at GS-14s and above.

HHS Instruction 536-l authorizes the Office of Personnel Management PHS, to approve grade retention for eligible employees who are or might be reduced in grade as a result of a reorganization or position reclassification decision announced by management in writing, or who might be reduced in pay as a result of a management action. Requests for non mandatory application of grade or pay retention for employees who request to be voluntarily downgraded under the circumstances described above must be approved by the Director of OPM/PHS and contain:

  • the written announcement identifying the job categories generally targeted for reduction;
  • a complete listing of the employees making this request, with their job titles, series and grades;
  • the role of management and/or the employee in initiating the action;
  • position descriptions for both the current and the proposed positions
  • copies of any other supporting documentation as appropriate, including:  any general announcement of the reorganization; a statement indicating how each of the employees accepting the voluntary downgrade could be ultimatelv downgraded; evidence to show how it would be in the Government's best interests to effect such an action (cost/benefit ratio including the number of involuntary downgrades avoided, expected effect on employee morale and productivity, etc.); a copy of a written notice informing the employees that acceptance of the position is not required and that declination of the offer has no effect on their entitlement to grade retention if they are actually moved to a lower graded position, etc.

Personnel Officers are responsible for ensuring that all other legal and regulatory requirements are met, such as assuring that the employee has served for 52 consecutive weeks or more in a position under a covered pay schedule at a grade higher than the position in which the employee is placed.

We have requested that the Assistant Secretary for Personnel Administration (ASPER) allow further redelegation of the authority to approve grade and pay retention in non-mandatory circumstances to the PHS agencies. We will prepare the legations as soon as we receive the authority

ASPER staff has indicated that the positions of employees who are downgraded and who are able to retain their grades for two years are nonetheless considered to have been reduced in grade immediately for purposes of meeting the National Performance Review goals for streamlining the bureaucracy.

Please call Bill Gualtieri on (301) 443-1974 if you or your staff have any questions.

/Signature for James H. Eagen/
James H. Eagen

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