Effective Date: October 19, 2016
Expiration Date: April 19, 2028
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4.1.1 Performance plans are established at the beginning of each appraisal period (normally within 30 days) or within 30 days of an employee's assignment to a position or to an unclassified set of duties.
4.1.2 Performance plans shall:
a. Identify the organizational performance goals and objectives for the appraisal period to which the employee will contribute. It is expected that responsibility for specific organizational goals and objectives follows the chain of authority within an organization (i.e., from senior executive to manager to supervisor to employee).
b. Contain only critical performance elements.
Note: There is no requirement on the maximum number of critical performance elements in a performance plan; however, an employee may not have one element. Two to four elements are recommended.
c. Include at least one performance element that is aligned to the Agency strategic plan and to organizational goals and objectives, when identified.
d. For supervisory employees, include the one mandatory supervisory element with performance standards and indicators. In addition, rating officials may include (optional)up to two additional technical elements for a maximum of three elements.
e. Include performance standards for each element that clearly communicates performance expectations at the Meets Expectations (Level 3). Performance standards will be measurable and focused on results and identify the measures (e.g., quality, quantity, timeliness, cost-effectiveness) that will be used to evaluate performance results. Where appropriate, the standards should include expectations related to communication, collaboration, and teamwork.
f. Include performance indicators for each element that provide examples of the types of work products/results reflective of the Substantively Exceeds Expectations level (Level 5).
g. Include expectations for performance during a detail or matrixed assignment that is expected to last at least 90 days during the appraisal period, if applicable.
4.1.3 A performance plan may be modified to reflect changes to the performance requirements of the position, unless it is during the 90 days before the end of the appraisal period.
4.1.4 No second level review of performance plans is required.
4.2.1 A progress review is primarily a discussion between the employee and the rating official regarding the employee's progress and accomplishments relative to the critical performance elements and standards/indicators in the performance plan.
4.2.2 At a minimum, one progress review will be held each year, normally during the mid-point of the appraisal period. However, a rating official or an employee may initiate a progress review at any time. A progress review is required in connection with certain position changes of employees and rating officials (reference paragraph 4.6 of this directive).
4.2.3 If at the mid-point in the appraisal period an employee has been under a performance plan for less than 90 days, the progress review may be delayed until such time when the employee has had a sufficient opportunity to perform under the plan.
4.2.4 In connection with the mid-point progress review, employees are encouraged to submit self-assessments addressing progress and accomplishments relative to the performance elements and standards/indicators in the performance plan.
4.3.1 An employee will be given a rating of record on an annual basis after the end of the appraisal period (generally within 60 days), except when it is not appropriate to do so. For example, if an employee has not been under a performance plan for at least 90 days at the end of the appraisal period or an employee is on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) at the end of the appraisal period and the opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance, as specified in the PIP, has not elapsed.
4.3.2 A rating of record will be prepared only after an employee has served under a performance plan for at least 90 days during the appraisal period. When an employee has not been on a plan for 90 days, the appraisal period may be extended for the amount of time necessary to meet the minimum period, at which time a rating of record will be prepared.
4.3.3 If an employee reports to work within 90 days before the end of the appraisal period, the employee may be placed on a performance plan that extends to the end of the next appraisal period or placed on a performance plan that extends the current appraisal period.
4.3.4 Only one rating of record is prepared for an employee for each appraisal period, unless a special rating of record is required to support granting or denying a WGI (reference paragraph 5.2 of this directive).
4.3.5 Normally the rating of record is prepared after the end of the appraisal period, by the supervisor to whom the employee is assigned as of the end of the appraisal period. The rating may be prepared before the end of the appraisal period, or by a previous supervisor, under appropriate circumstances, including:
a. A rating is needed to support granting or denying a WGI.
b. The position change of an employee or a rating official would negatively affect the quality or communication of the employee's rating if delayed until the regular time and/or conducted by a new rating official. This may include:
(1) Circumstances associated with position changes of the employee or supervisor (see paragraph 4.6).
(2) Circumstances in which an employee is going on extended absence that is expected to continue through the time when annual ratings are being conducted; for example, when a student returns to school at the end of winter break and will not return until after the new appraisal period begins or when an employee begins a period of active duty military service.
4.3.6 In connection with the rating of record, employees will be encouraged to submit self-assessments addressing progress and accomplishments relative to the performance elements and standards/indicators in the performance plan.
4.3.7 Each employee will be appraised on each element in the performance plan on which the employee has had an opportunity to perform. Rating officials of supervisors will consider both technical and supervisory elements when making a rating determination. An element will not be rated if the employee has not had a sufficient opportunity to demonstrate performance on the element. An element rated "Not Rated" is not considered in the summary rating.
4.3.8 The rating official should consult with other sources (e.g., customers and peers) for feedback to be considered in appraising an employee's performance.
4.3.9 For supervisory employees, the rating official should seek and consider employees' perspectives when appraising a supervisor's performance. The rating official may use formal mechanisms, such as surveys or less formal mechanisms, such as solicited/unsolicited feedback.
4.3.10 A narrative summary that documents the overall performance of the employee will be prepared for all performance summary rating levels, which clearly and completely supports the rationale for the performance element rating levels assigned.
4.3.11 For supervisory employees, rating officials will give equal weight to both supervisory and technical competencies. When a performance plan includes both supervisory and technical elements, rating officials shall equally assess the supervisor's performance as a supervisor as well as the supervisor's technical abilities in the performance assessment narrative.
4.4.1 A second level review of ratings of record at all summary rating levels will consist of an overview (e.g., trends, consistency), rather than review, approval, and signature of individual ratings; except for Unacceptable ratings, which will be individually approved in all cases.
4.4.2 Second level reviews are not required for ratings conducted by a Center Director or OIC or their direct reports.
4.4.3 Reviewers will address observations such as apparent inconsistency between rating officials, potential disparity in ratings between groups of employees, etc. They may require additional justification for ratings. They may not establish any specific numerical outcomes for ratings (i.e., state a minimum or maximum of ratings permitted at a given level or otherwise force distribution of summary rating levels.)
4.4.4 Second level reviews are not required for ratings that are finalized before the annual second level review process is conducted, such as ratings required to support granting a WGI or for an employee transferring to another agency.
4.4.5 If a rating is changed based on feedback or direction provided to the rating official as a result of the second level review, an additional second level review is not required.
4.5.1 When an employee is matrixed to one or more projects or detailed to another position or to an unclassified set of duties outside of the direct supervision and control of the supervisor of record (i.e., rating official) for 90 days or more, the supervisor of record (rating official) will confer with the project manager(s) or the supervisor responsible for defining the work to determine if any additional performance elements or standards need to be added to the employee's performance plan. Any modifications to a performance plan will comply with paragraph 4.1.
4.5.2 When an employee is or has been detailed or matrixed to one or more projects for 90 days or more, the rating official will obtain feedback from the project manager(s) or others, as appropriate, for feedback to be considered in conducting mid-point progress reviews and completing ratings of record.
4.5.3. A detail/matrix supervisor or matrix technical lead will provide feedback to the rating official to be considered in conducting mid-point progress reviews and completing ratings of record when an employee is or has been assigned to one or more of his/her projects for 90 days or more.
4.6.1 When an employee moves to another position within the Agency before the end of the appraisal period, and has served under a performance plan for at least 90 days, the following provisions apply:
a. If the employee moves more than 90 days before the end of the appraisal period, the losing rating official shall complete a progress review that includes a written assessment of the employee's progress and achievements up to the date of the position change. This progress review will be taken into consideration by the gaining rating official when appraising the employee at the end of the appraisal period.
b. If the employee moves less than 90 days before the end of the appraisal period, the rating of record should be prepared by the losing rating official if deemed appropriate by both the gaining and losing rating officials. If the losing rating official does not prepare the rating, he/she will prepare a progress review as described in paragraph a. above. If the losing rating official does not prepare a rating, the gaining rating official is responsible for preparing the rating.
4.6.2 When an employee accepts a transfer to another Federal agency before the end of the appraisal period, the rating official shall issue a rating of record if the employee has been on a performance plan for at least 90 days and the effective date of the transfer occurs within 90 days before the end of the appraisal period.
4.6.3 When a rating official leaves his/her position before the end of the appraisal period, the following provisions apply:
a. If the rating official leaves his/her position more than 90 days before the end of the appraisal period, he/she shall complete a progress review that includes a written assessment of the employee's progress and achievements for each of their subordinate employees for consideration by the new rating official. This progress review will be taken into consideration by the new rating official when appraising the employee at the end of the appraisal period.
b. If the rating official leaves his/her position within 90 days before the end of the appraisal period, he/she shall prepare ratings of record for each subordinate employee.
4.7.1 An employee who disagrees with the rating of record may request reconsideration, following the provisions in this section or, as applicable, procedures established in a negotiated labor agreement.
4.7.2 Reconsiderations are performed by the rating official, or management official specified in a local labor-management agreement (where applicable), except when a reconsideration of an Unacceptable rating is submitted. In this case, the official who approved the Unacceptable rating shall conduct the reconsideration.
4.7.3 To request reconsideration, the employee shall:
a. Submit reconsideration request and written documentation to the rating official within 15 days after receipt of rating. The rating will be considered "received" on the date the supervisor signs the rating. This signature documents that the rating has been provided to and discussed with the employee and informs the employee by e-mail that the rating can be viewed and signed in SPACE.
b. Include written documentation that states what is being disputed (e.g., element rating, the summary rating, content of the narrative summary) and identifies the requested relief (e.g., changes to the narrative, change to rating, or both).
c. Reconsideration requests that are not received within this timeframe may be rejected and administrative grievance will not be available (negotiated grievance availability depends on local labor-management agreements).
4.7.4 Rating officials are encouraged to offer the employee the opportunity for an oral discussion and may request additional information.
4.7.5 Rating officials should issue a decision within 15 days of receipt of supporting documentation described in 4.7.3 b.
4.7.6 Reconsideration requests, and decisions or documentation of resolution of such requests, will be provided to HR or designee for retention. Reconsideration records will be retained in the same manner as a grievance file.
4.7.7 If an employee is dissatisfied with the reconsideration decision, he/she may formally grieve the rating of record in accordance with NPR 3771.1 or any local labor-management negotiated agreement, if applicable. A reconsideration request substitutes for the informal procedure as outlined in NPR 3771.1.
4.8.1 At any time during the rating period, when a rating official determines that an employee's performance Fails to Meet Expectations (Level 1) in one or more elements, the rating official shall take immediate corrective action. The rating official may provide the employee with an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance in accordance with 5 CFR part 432, or take corrective action pursuant to 5 CFR Part 752.
4.8.2 If corrective action is taken in accordance with 5 CFR part 432, the rating official shall:
a. Place the employee on a PIP and provide a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance.
b. If, after a reasonable opportunity to improve, an employee's performance remains at the Unacceptable Level, initiate action to remove the employee from the position through reassignment, reduction in grade, or removal from Federal service.
c. At the discretion of the deciding official, the 30-day advance notice required for a removal or reduction in grade taken under 5 CFR part 432 may be extended for a period not to exceed an additional 30 days. Further extensions of the notice period may be approved by the deciding official in accordance with 5 CFR S 432.105 (a) (4) (i) (B).
4.8.3 If a WGI determination is due and the employee's performance is below Meets Expectations (Level 3) on any element, the WGI will be denied in accordance with the provisions in 5 CFR 531 and paragraph 5.2 in this directive.
4.8.4 If an employee expresses the need for an accommodation because of a disability, management will consider the request in accordance with NPR 3713.1.
4.8.5 If a supervisor fails to meet expectations in their supervisory element, the supervisor's rating official should take immediate steps to ensure subordinate employees are not adversely affected.
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