Was this page helpful?

Performance management handbook (appraisal) - chapter 11

Chapter 11. Relationships of Performance Appraisals to Other Personnel Actions


Performance appraisal results may be used as a basis for making personnel decisions on training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade, retaining and removing employees, and granting within-grade increases. 

Performance Awards 

Performance awards, when granted, must be based on an employee's performance rating of record for the appraisal period for which the award is granted. This does not preclude management from giving other recognition whenever warranted in accordance with the criteria specified in this Handbook. 

Quality Step Increase

A quality step increase (QSI) may be granted only to an employee who receives a Level 5 summary performance rating. 

Within-Grade Increase (WGI)

  • Federal Wage System. An employee who is otherwise eligible receives a within-grade increase if his or her performance is Level 3 or above, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 5343; i.e. the employee's most recent rating of record is Level 3 or higher. 
  • General Schedule. An employee who is otherwise eligible receives a within-grade increase when his or her performance is at Level 3 (acceptable level of competence). This means that during the period of time since that rating the employee has continued to perform his or her responsibilities in a manner warranting an increase in basic pay. 

Impact of Ratings of Record on Within-Grade Increase Determination 

Rating examples for purposes of WGI determination:

  • An employee with less than a Level 3 rating at the end of the appraisal cycle has improved performance up to or higher than a Level 3 by the within-grade due date. Outcome: The improvement is documented in accordance with the cycle for review provided in the denial notification and the WGI is granted. 
  • An employee with a Level 3 or higher rating at the end of the appraisal cycle whose performance has dropped below the Level 3 by the within-grade due date. Outcome: After a performance review with employee documenting deficiencies, WGI is denied. 
  • An employee does not have a rating of record as recent as the completion of the latest appraisal cycle. Outcome: WGI granted. 
  • An employee whose performance improves to a Level 3 or higher following the delay of a within-grade increase determination as provided by 5 CFR 531.409(c). Outcome: WGI granted. 
  • A rating given after the minimum appraisal period when an employee is unratable at the end of the appraisal cycle. Outcome: WGI granted. 

Promotion Actions

  • Competitive Promotions. Selecting officials may give consideration to the performance appraisals of job applicants in making selection decisions under the Merit Assignment Program. 
  • Career Ladder Promotions. To receive a career ladder promotion, an employee's most recent performance rating of record must be Level 3 or higher.

Probationary Periods (See DAO 202-315, Probationary and Trial Periods)

  • Initial Appointments. Supervisors of probationary employees serving initial appointments must determine if the probationers' performance warrants retention in the position beyond the probationary period. Supervisors must evaluate probationers' performance with reference to the critical elements and standards of the position. 
  • Initial Appointments to Supervisory/Managerial Positions. An evaluation of Level 3 or higher on all critical elements of the performance plan is required for retention in the supervisory position beyond the probationary period. 

Actions Based on Level 1 (Unacceptable) Performance

Employees whose performance is Level 1 (unacceptable) may be reassigned, changed to a lower grade, or removed, only after they have been provided with a performance improvement period.