05 FSIP 017: Attachment A - Glossary of Terms


Glossary of Terms

Annual Performance Rating

The annual performance rating is the employee's official rating of record as defined in the National Agreement, Article 12, Section 2A.

Assignment Rights

The right of an employee to be assigned, within their competitive area, by bump or retreat in the second round of competition to a position in a different competitive level held by another employee with lower standing on a retention register.


Assignment right to a position in a different competitive level that is occupied by another employee in a lower tenure group or in a lower subgroup.

Certificate of Expected Separation (CES)

A notice given to a competing employee, who the agency believes with a reasonable degree of certainty, will be separated from Federal employment by reduction in force procedures.

Competing Employee

An employee in tenure group I, II, or III in either the competitive or excepted service within the impacted competitive area.

Competitive Area

Boundaries within which employees compete for retention in a RIF and is always defined on the basis of organization and geography.

Competitive Level

A group of positions in the same grade and occupational series that have similar duties, qualification requirements, pay schedules and working conditions so that the incumbent of one position could move to any other of the positions in the same competitive level and perform successfully without undue interruption.


Calendar days.

Essentially Identical Position

A position is considered to be essentially identical to a position previously held by a released employee if, regardless of occupational series, the duties of the positions are so similar that they would be considered interchangeable and would be placed in the same competitive level.


All or a clearly identifiable segment of an agency's mission (including all integral parts of that mission), regardless of how it is performed.

Grade Retention

Grade retention is an entitlement, when an employee is demoted as a result of RIF, reclassification, reorganization, or other circumstances outlined in 5 CFR 536.103, to retain his/her higher grade for most purposes for a period of two years.

Local Commuting Area

A geographic area that usually constitutes one area for employment purposes. It includes any population center (or two or more neighboring ones) and the surrounding localities in which people live and can reasonably be expected to travel back and forth daily to their usual employment.

Modal rating

The summary rating level assigned most frequently among the actual ratings of record within the competitive area. Modal ratings are only used when the competitive area undergoing a reduction in force contains at least one employee who has no rating of record within the applicable 4-year period for crediting ratings.