U.S. Geological Survey Manual
370-300.8.1 - Details and Temporary Assignments
OPR: Office of Personnel
1. Purpose. This chapter describes U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) policy and procedural guidelines for processing details and temporary reassignments. Unless otherwise noted, these requirements relate only to permanent and temporary employees in the competitive or excepted service within the Department of the Interior (DOI) serving in, detailed to, or temporarily reassigned to competitive service positions regardless of pay system (i.e., General Schedule (GS), General Manager (GM), Wage Grade (WG), etc.).
2. Authority. 5 CFR Chapter 300.301, Subpart C, states that an agency may detail an employee in the competitive service to a position in either the competitive or excepted service; an agency may detail an employee in the excepted service to a position in the excepted service; and an agency may detail an excepted service employee serving under Schedule A, Schedule B, or the Veterans Readjustment Act, to a position in the competitive service. Any other detail of an employee in the excepted service to a position in the competitive service may be made only with the prior approval of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or under a delegated agreement between the agency and OPM.
3. Policy. It is the policy of the USGS to meet the temporary manpower needs of the bureau through the use of details and temporary reassignments. Details and temporary reassignments are intended for meeting temporary needs of the agency’s work program when necessary services cannot be provided by other means. Details and temporary reassignments can be used in situations such as temporary shortage of employees or in emergency work situations. However, details and temporary reassignments will be limited to the shortest possible duration, will be used only when no other practical means are available, and will not be used to circumvent established OPM, departmental, or bureau rules and regulations. Except for brief periods, employees should not be detailed to perform work of a permanent nature or a higher grade unless there are compelling reasons for doing so.
A. Management officials, supervisors, and administrative officers are responsible for the timely initiation of documentation for details and temporary reassignments as required in this chapter. In addition, it is the responsibility of these officials to ensure that details and temporary reassignments:
(1) Do not compromise open competitive principles of the USGS merit promotion plan.
(2) Are not used to circumvent the use of a more appropriate personnel action to obtain necessary employee services.
(3) Are kept to the shortest possible duration.
B. The individual who serves as the rating official for the position to which an employee is detailed or temporarily reassigned must provide a written Employee Work Plan (performance standards and elements) to the employee within 30 days provided the assignment is within the Department of the Interior and is expected to last 90 days or more.
C. Servicing personnel officials are responsible for:
(1) Advising managers, supervisors, and employees of the conditions and requirements under which details and temporary reassignments may be made.
(2) Assuring compliance with all OPM, DOI and bureau policy and procedural requirements applicable to the detail or temporary reassignment of employees.
A. A detail is a temporary assignment of an employee to a classified position (i.e., established position) or statement of duties (i.e., unestablished position) for a specified period. During the detail, an employee continues to encumber and receive the salary and entitlements of the position from which detailed (i.e., the official position of record). At the end of the detail, the employee returns to the official position of record.
B. A temporary reassignment is an assignment to another classified position, at the same grade and step or, if applicable, rate above the maximum step of the grade currently held, for a specified period. At the end of the temporary reassignment, the employee returns to the position from which temporarily reassigned or to a position of comparable status, tenure, and pay.
C. A competitive position is one that is not specifically excepted from the competitive service by statute or regulation. In the USGS, this includes most general schedule and wage grade positions.
D. An excepted position is one that is specifically excluded from the competitive service. This includes some GS positions and positions in the GG (grade similar to general schedule) and Foreign Compensation (FC) pay systems.
6. Approval of Details and Temporary Reassignments. All details and temporary reassignments require management approval according to the delegated authorities of the organization and, in some instances, approval of the Servicing Personnel Officer prior to effecting the action. (See Survey Manual, Part 205.1, Appendix B - USGS Delegations of Personnel Management Authority and Appendix D - Delegation of Authority – Details, which specify the USGS, departmental, and OPM approval requirements and authorities.)
7. Uses of Details and Temporary Reassignments.
(1) Details may be made to either established (classified position descriptions) or unestablished (unclassified statement of duties) positions under the following circumstances:
(a) To meet emergencies, excessive workload of limited duration, shortage of personnel, special projects, or studies that are short-term or temporary in nature, changes in mission or organization, or unanticipated employee absence for an extended period of time.
(b) To provide the necessary time for management to officially document new work assignments, rewrite position descriptions and classify new positions, or obtain employee security clearances.
(c) To provide for short-term training, orientation, or other developmental purposes.
(2) An employee may not be detailed to a position in a different line of work or geographical location for at least 90 days after the latest nontemporary competitive appointment or conversion from an OPM register, except for an emergency detail of 30 days or less.
(3) For detail actions to classified or unclassified positions at the same or lower grade level, the supervisor of the work to be performed is responsible for determining whether the employee is fully able to perform the duties of the position. When the detail action is to an occupational series for which OPM has established minimum educational requirements, and/or to a position for which there is a licensure or certification requirement, the servicing personnel office must verify that the employee meets the minimum educational, licensure, and/or certification requirements.
(4) In computing time limitations for detail actions, service under details of less than 120 calendar days in the same or similar position or duties will be counted when the proposed action represents an immediate continuation of an undocumented detail.
(5) A detail to a higher-graded position or to a position with greater promotion potential for a cumulative period of more than 120 days must be made under merit promotion procedures (see SM 370.335). In computing the 120-day period, service performed during the preceding 12-month period under noncompetitive time-limited promotions, noncompetitive details to higher-graded positions, and noncompetitive temporary reassignments and details to positions with greater promotion potential is counted.
(6) An employee serving on a temporary appointment may be detailed to a position that meets the criteria for temporary employment. An employee serving on a term appointment may be detailed, within the time limit of their appointment, only to a position appropriate for term employment.
B. Temporary Reassignments.
(1) Temporary reassignments may be made only to classified positions and will normally be for periods of 1 year or less. Requests for temporary reassignments must be documented to support the need for a temporary rather than permanent reassignment. Temporary reassignments will only be approved for those situations in which no other personnel action is appropriate and under the following conditions:
(a) To lend particular expertise to the completion of a project assignment of extended duration.
(b) To conduct in-house special assignments on behalf of another bureau or agency.
(c) To provide full-time services on a task force or special committee of unspecified duration.
(d) To provide for long-term training as part of an established promotion or career development program.
(e) To backfill positions that are being vacated for extended periods of time (i.e., leave of absence approved for up to 1 year).
(2) An employee who is temporarily reassigned to a position with a different pay plan assumes the pay plan and entitlements of that position, i.e., from GS to WG.
(3) To be eligible for a temporary reassignment, the employee must meet established OPM qualification standards for the position.
(4) Temporary reassignments to positions with greater promotion potential may be made noncompetitively for a maximum cumulative period of 120 days during any consecutive 12-month period. Temporary reassignment of an employee for a cumulative period of more than 120 days to a position with greater promotion potential, must be made under merit promotion procedures. In computing the 120-day period, service during the preceding 12-month period under noncompetitive temporary promotions, noncompetitive details to higher graded positions, and noncompetitive temporary reassignments and details to positions with greater promotion potential is counted.
(5) A temporary reassignment to a position with greater promotion potential may be made permanent provided the reassignment was originally made under merit promotion procedures and the merit promotion announcement stated that the temporary reassignment may be made permanent without further competition or if it meets the requirements of exceptions to competition as outlined in 5 CFR 335 and internal merit promotion procedures.
8. Documentation and Procedural Requirements.
A. Requirements for documenting details and temporary reassignments.
(1) The automated request for personnel action (SF-52) is required to document:
(a) All details to organizations outside of the USGS.
(b) Details of 30 calendar days or more to a higher graded position or positions with greater promotion potential than the official position of record.
(c) All other details of 120 days or more except as indicated in SM 370.300.8.A(3).
(d) All temporary reassignments.
(2) Written documentation.
(i) A statement of duties or position description is required to document all details to international organizations regardless of the length of the detail or whether or not the detail is made on a reimbursable basis.
(ii) A position description is required to document all details of 30 calendar days or more to a higher graded position or positions with greater promotion potential than the official position of record.
(iii) A statement of duties or position description is required to document all other details of 120 days or more except as indicated in SM 370.300.8.A(3).
(b) Temporary Reassignments.
(i) A position description is required for all temporary reassignments.
(ii) A written justification is required documenting the purpose of the temporary reassignment.
(iii) A statement of understanding is required for a temporary reassignment.
(3) SF-52 documentation is not required when an employee is detailed to perform duties of an identical position or a position of the same grade, series, and basic duties as the position to which regularly assigned.
(4) In situations where SF-52 documentation is not required for a detail action, management should prepare a memorandum to the record to recognize and credit employee service. The memorandum should contain a brief description of the duties and the duration of the detail. In this way, an accurate determination can be made regarding: documentation requirements for subsequent detail actions (e.g., extension of the detail); qualification requirements for other positions; and performance appraisal requirements for a detail which exceeds 120 days. This documentation should be forwarded to the servicing personnel office for filing on the left side of the employee's Official Personnel Folder (OPF).
(5) Details must be documented in increments of 120 days or less.
(6) Temporary Reassignments must be documented for the expected duration of the assignment.
B. Procedures for documenting details and temporary reassignments.
(1) The gaining office to which an employee is detailed or temporarily reassigned is responsible for:
(a) Initiating an automated SF-52 to obtain necessary concurrences and management approvals and routing the request to the servicing personnel office having jurisdiction over the position to which the employee is being detailed or temporarily reassigned. For a detail, a position description for an established position or a statement of duties for an unestablished position and a justification for the detail must be forwarded to the servicing personnel office when the automated SF-52 is initiated. For a temporary reassignment, a position description and a justification to support the temporary nature of the action must be forwarded to the servicing personnel office when the automated SF-52 is initiated.
(b) Requesting an extension of the detail or temporary reassignment well in advance of the expiration date to ensure adequate time for obtaining required approvals for processing the personnel action.
(c) Requesting that the employee's official office of record initiates the termination of detail or temporary reassignment action well in advance of the expiration date to ensure adequate time for obtaining required approvals for processing the personnel action.
(d) Providing time and attendance information for employees on detail to the office responsible for maintaining these records.
(2) The Servicing Personnel Office is responsible for:
(a) Processing all personnel actions (SF-52, SF-50) relating to details and temporary reassignments to positions within their delegated servicing responsibility.
(b) Preparing and sending all departmental preclearance correspondence to DOI for approval of detail or temporary reassignment actions requiring higher-level approval.
(c) Preparing and sending all preclearance correspondence to the Bureau Personnel Officer for approval of details/transfers to international organizations.
(d) Processing all personnel actions (SF-52, SF-50) relating to details/transfers to international organizations for employees assigned under their delegated appointing authority. (Also see “c” above.)
(e) Processing all termination actions (SF-52 and SF-50) relating to details and temporary reassignments for employees permanently assigned under their delegated appointing authority.
(f) Forwarding all required documentation relating to details and temporary reassignments to the servicing personnel office that maintains the employee's OPF.
(3) The Headquarters Personnel Office is responsible for:
(a) Processing personnel actions (SF 52, SF-50) for all details and temporary reassignments relating to Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level (SL), Scientific and Professional (ST), and Schedule C positions, and all details to FC (Agency for International Development) - grade positions overseas.
(b) Preparing and sending all DOI preclearance correspondence to DOI for approval of detail or temporary reassignment actions relating to SES, SL, ST, and Schedule C positions.
9. Reimbursable and Non-reimbursable Details. All intra-agency and interagency details must be made on a reimbursable basis unless a nonreimbursable detail is specifically authorized by statute (64 CG 370, March 20, 1985). Under conditions in which a reimbursable detail is not required, the intra-agency or interagency organization officials with delegated authority to approve the detail decide whether the detail should be reimbursable or nonreimbursable.