THE DAILY FED
RIF Rule Changes Proposed
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is considering changes to its Reduction in Force (RIF) rules. Most downsizing over the past few years has been the result of retirements and buyouts, but future efforts are expected to make greater use of RIF procedures.
Under the proposed changes, agencies will be able to make better use of performance rating information in the decisions as to whom to RIF. Performance ratings are used to add extra years of retention credit when calculating seniority (RIFs are in part based upon seniority). The changes proposed include:
- The ability to go further back in an employee's work history to obtain performance ratings. Currently only performance ratings from the past 4 years may be used. If three performance ratings are not available, than "fully successful" ratings are assumed for the purposes of additional service calculation. Under the new rules, the agency may go back up to 6 years in order to use real performance review data.
- To use only real performance ratings. If three performance ratings are not available, then only those available will be used in calculations. Employees with no performance ratings in the past six years will receive an assumed rating under a new formula.
- A mechanism to equate ratings for employees under different performance appraisal systems. Several government agencies now use pass/fail systems not addressed under the old rules.
The proposed regulations do not change the relative importance of performance as it relates to the other retention factors (like veterans preference) and do not change the present range of additional retention service credit provided based on performance.