U.S. Geological Survey Manual
370.315.9 - Probationary Period for Supervisors and Managers
1. Purpose. This Chapter establishes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) policy, procedures, and requirements for supervisory and managerial probationary periods.
2. Authority. The 5 CFR 315, Subpart I, Federal Personnel Manual (FPM), Chapter 3159, and 370 Departmental Manual 315,9 and 412,4, provide the regulatory framework under which this Chapter is established.
3. Definitions. Supervisory and managerial positions have the meaning given to them in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) General Schedule Supervisory Guide, the Job Grading Standard for Supervisors, and FPM Chapter 315, Subchapter 92.
4. Requirement and Coverage. A probationary period is required for all USGS employees who are permanently placed in a competitive service supervisory or managerial position under the provisions of this Chapter. The requirement to serve a supervisory or managerial probationary period does not affect the tenure group assignment of the employee.
5. Length of probationary period. All employees covered by this Chapter must serve a 12-month probationary period beginning on the effective date of a permanent appointment to a supervisory or managerial position. The probationary period may not be extended except under the provisions of paragraph 7 below.
A. An employee who was serving or had served as a supervisor or manager as of August 11, 1979, is excluded from serving a probationary period as described in this Chapter.
B. An employee who successfully completed a supervisory or managerial probationary period under a previous permanent assignment in the competitive service is excluded from serving another probationary period for a supervisory position.
C. An employee who successfully completed a managerial probationary period under a previous permanent assignment in the competitive service is excluded from serving another probationary period for a managerial position.
D. An employee who has successfully completed a supervisory probationary period under a previous permanent assignment in the competitive service may be excluded from serving a managerial probationary period based on an evaluation of the employee's performance, training, and experiences while serving as a supervisor. This determination is made jointly by the servicing personnel office and the probationer's immediate supervisor.
E. An employee may be excluded from serving up to 6 months of the probationary period if he/she performed at the fully successful level or above as a manager or supervisor under a temporary appointment, reassignment, or promotion in the competitive service for a period of 120 days or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the permanent assignment. Service under a detail or in an "acting" capacity is not applicable. Temporary service as a manager or supervisor will be credited day-for-day against the probationary period requirement.
F. In the absence of official records to support prior successful service as a manager or super visor (including temporary service), the employee will be required to serve a new probationary period.
7. Creditable service.
A. When an employee serving a supervisory or managerial probationary period is transferred, reassigned, or promoted to another supervisory or managerial position, the employee becomes subject to the probationary period for the new position. Successful service (performance of supervisory or managerial duties at the fully successful or higher level) in the former position will be credited toward completion of the probationary period for the new position except when the employee moves from a supervisory to a managerial position. In this case, service will be credited in accordance with paragraph 6D, above.
B. When an employee serving a supervisory or managerial probationary period is temporarily placed in another supervisory or managerial position under detail or temporary promotion or reassignment, the temporary service is credited toward completion of the probationary period requirements.
C. During the probationary period, time spent during temporary assignment to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position under a detail or temporary reassignment or promotion is not creditable toward completion of probationary period requirements. In this case the probationary period would be extended the amount of time equal to the temporary assignment.
D. Up to 22 work days of absence in a nonpay status will be credited toward completion of the probationary period requirements unless the absence is due to compensable injury or military duty. If the absence is due to compensable injury or military duty (whether on or off the rolls), full credit is given upon restoration to Federal service.
E. No credit is given for probationary service under this Chapter if the employee is separated or demoted: (1) under adverse action procedures; (2) for unacceptable performance; (3) as a result of failure to complete the probationary period for competitive appointment; or (4) for failure to successfully complete the supervisory or managerial probationary period.
F. When an employee serving a supervisory or managerial probationary period is permanently placed in a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position, in a nonpay status in excess of 22 workdays, or has a break in service, credit for up to 6 months of previous probationary service may be given upon subsequent appointment as a supervisor or manager, unless the provisions of paragraphs 7D or 7E above apply.
G. When an employee's initial appointment to Federal service is to a supervisory or managerial position and the employee is required to serve a probationary period for a competitive appointment, the probationary periods are served concurrently. Completion of the 1-year probationary period for competitive appointment fulfills the requirement for the probationary period under this Chapter.
H. Service in a supervisory or managerial position under a Veteran's Readjustment Act (VRA) appointment (excepted service) is creditable toward completion of probationary period requirements when the employee is converted to a supervisory or managerial position in the competitive service. Credit for managerial probationary periods will be given under paragraph 6D above.
I. If an employee is retroactively placed in a supervisory or managerial position as a result of a settlement in an appeal, EEO complaint, or grievance, no credit is given toward completion of the probationary period requirements for the retroactive period. The probationary period would begin on the date the employee begins service in the supervisory or managerial position.
J. Once an employee has successfully completed a probationary period under this Chapter, the employee may not be required to serve another such probationary period regardless of the number of agencies, occupations, or positions in which he or she serves except when the provisions of paragraph 6D above apply.
8. Responsibilities and Procedures.
A. USGS management is responsible for ensuring new supervisors and managers are afforded a full and fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills and abilities unique to supervisory and managerial positions during the probationary period. In addition, management is responsible for objectively evaluating the supervisory and managerial performance during the probationary period. The probationer's immediate supervisor must:
(1) Complete an Employee Work Plan (EWP) within 60 days of the probationer's appointment as a supervisor or manager. The EWP must contain the specific supervisory or managerial performance standards for the position. These standards should be fully discussed with the probationer to ensure his/her understanding of the requirements for fully successful performance.
(2) Complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) within 90 days of the probationer's appointment which identifies the training courses and developmental assignments planned for the probationary period and which meets the training requirements of SM 370.412. Training courses and assignments should be based on the requirements of the job and the probationer's individual supervisory or managerial training needs. Completion of performance management and equal employment opportunity training during the probationary period is required.
(3) Coach, counsel, and monitor the probationer's performance of supervisory or managerial duties throughout the probationary period.
(4) Conduct quarterly progress reviews with the probationer to discuss the performance of supervisory or managerial duties. These reviews must be documented by initialing and dating the progress review section of the probationer's EWP.
(5) Contact the appropriate staff member of the servicing personnel office immediately when supervisory or managerial performance deficiencies are revealed so that appropriate action may be taken before the end of the probationary period.
(6) Complete the Certification of Successful Completion of Supervisory or Managerial Probationary Period Form 9-3051, (Appendix A) at the end of the probationary period and forward it to the servicing personnel office at least 1 week before the probationary period expires. The servicing personnel office will issue an SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, to document the probationer's completion of the probationary period.
B. Servicing personnel offices are responsible for ensuring that the regulatory requirements of the probationary period are met as well as assisting management in performing their responsibilities. Specifically, servicing personnel offices:
(1) Determine prior to the employee's appointment to a supervisory or managerial position if a probationary period is required by reviewing evidence of prior service and giving appropriate credit when applicable.
(2) Issue the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which officially documents the requirement for a probationary period, and issue the notification letters to both the probationer and the probationer's immediate supervisor (Appendices B-E).
(3) Provide guidance to the immediate supervisor on the contents of the IDP including a review of completed training and assist in scheduling necessary courses for the probationer.
(4) Provide technical and regulatory counselling to the probationer's immediate supervisor regarding performance deficiencies, and appropriate remedial action. Assist in all phases of the process to return or reassign the probationer to a non-supervisory/nonmanagerial position when required.
(5) Issue a tickler notice to the probationer's immediate supervisor 30 days before the end of the supervisory or managerial probationary period.
(6) Process and issue the SF-50 to document completion of the probationary period upon receipt of the certification of successful completion of the probationary period and certify completion of required performance management and equal employment opportunity training.
(7) File and maintain all required probationary documents in the probationer's Official Personnel Folder and Employee Performance File as appropriate.
C. Probationers are responsible for using the opportunity provided by the probationary period to develop and demonstrate supervisory or managerial skills and abilities. Probationers must:
(1) Attend required training courses and perform the developmental assignments contained in the IDP.
(2) Demonstrate the ability to successfully plan, organize, and direct the work of subordinate staff; assign, monitor, and review work performed by employees; and select, train, promote, reward, and discipline employees, as appropriate.
(3) Seek advice and guidance from the immediate supervisor and the servicing personnel office as may be necessary to successfully complete performance management responsibilities. These responsibilities include the development of employee work plans, appraisal of employees' performance, and counselling employees on their performance.
9. Failure to Satisfactorily Complete the Probationary Period.
A. Satisfactory completion of the probationary period is required for continuation in a supervisory or managerial position. If, after a full and fair opportunity is provided the probationer to demonstrate supervisory or managerial competencies, an evaluation of the supervisory or managerial performance reveals deficiencies, the probationer must be returned to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position as described in paragraph 9C below.
B. The action to return or reassign an unsuccessful probationer under this Chapter can only be based on failure to successfully perform the supervisory or managerial duties and responsibilities of the position. Actions to demote or separate a probationer for conduct or performance deficiencies other than those related to supervisory or managerial responsibilities must be processed under the appropriate regulations.
C. The decision to return a probationer to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position must be initiated by the probationer's immediate supervisor and approved by the second-level supervisor. (Normally, this is the reviewing official for the probationer's performance appraisal.)
D. Probationers may request placement in a nonsupervisory/nonmanagerial position at any time during the probationary period. However, the approval of both the immediate supervisor and the second-level supervisor is required before this action can be processed. The probationer has no entitlement to a specific position, grade, or pay level if the movement to a nonsupervisory/nonmanagerial position is at the employee's request.
E. The probationer must be notified in writing in advance of the action for return or reassignment to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position.
(1) The notification must contain the specific reasons for the action and should include a copy of all performance documents used in support of the decision.
(2) The servicing personnel office will prepare the notice returning the probationer to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position for the signature of the probationer's immediate supervisor and concurrence of the second-level supervisor. The servicing personnel office will certify technical compliance with all applicable laws and procedures.
F. A probationary supervisor or manager who is removed from a supervisory or managerial position under this Chapter is entitled to a position in the agency at a grade and pay no lower than the position the employee left to accept the supervisory or managerial position except as provided in 9F(4) and 9F(5) below.
(1) The probationer's entitlement is agency- wide although every effort should be made to place the employee in the same bureau and commuting area.
(2) The promotion potential of the position for placement is not considered when determining the position entitlement.
(3) A probationer who transfers from another agency has a right to a position in the current employing agency--not back to the agency from which the probationer transferred.
(4) A probationer who is appointed from an OPM register or who is appointed based on reinstatement or other noncompetitive eligibility and is not serving a probationary period for competitive appointment is entitled to a nonsupervisory/nonmanagerial position at the same grade and pay currently held. The probationer may not be demoted under the provisions of this Chapter.
(5) If the position occupied by the probationer before placement in the supervisory or managerial position is at a higher grade, the employee is entitled to a position at the same grade and pay as the probationary position. Repromotion can only be made in accordance with SM 370.335.
(6) If placement in a nonsupervisory or non-managerial position results in a change to lower grade:
(a) The probationer is entitled to credit toward the within-grade increase waiting period in the lower grade for time spent in the higher grade.
(b) Highest previous rate provisions will not be applied to establish the pay rate at the lower grade.
(c) The probationer receives no new entitlement to grade or pay retention when returned to the lower grade.
G. Reduction-in-force procedures may not be used to determine the placement of the unsuccessful probationer.
H. The return of the probationer to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position under this Chapter does not provide grounds for denying the probationer future consideration for supervisory or managerial positions.
10. Appeals and grievances.
A. Employees have no appeal or grievance rights for the return or reassignment to a nonsupervisory or nonmanagerial position for failure to successfully perform the supervisory or managerial responsibilities of the position.
B. Appeal rights for an action to demote or separate an employee for conduct or performance other than supervisory or managerial are governed by FPM Chapters 315, 432, and 752 as applicable.
C. An employee who is serving both the supervisory or managerial probationary period and a probationary period for competitive appointment has appeal rights only for the failure to complete the competitive appointment probationary period.
D. Allegations of discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical handicap, or age in connection with actions taken under this Chapter are processed under the USGS discrimination complaint procedures with full appeal rights to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Allegations of discrimination based on marital status or partisan political affiliation are appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board for such probationers who fail to successfully complete the probationary period for competitive appointment.