U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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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.

Pay Retention

The entitlement to be paid a rate higher than the top step of the employee's assigned grade following the end of grade retention, or at other specified times.

Removal for Cause

The initiation of a formal action under 5 CFR Chapter 752 or 432 procedures, i.e. a proposal under 752 or an opportunity letter under 432.


The planned elimination, addition, or redistribution of duties in an organization.

Representative Rates

Rates used to compare two or more positions in different pay schedules. The fourth step of the grade is used for a position under the General Schedule. For positions under a wage system with 5 steps, the second step is used as the representative rate.

Retention Register

A list of competing employees within a competitive level grouped by tenure, veteran preference, and length of service augmented by performance credit.

Retention Standing

An employee's relative ranking on a retention register.


Assignment right to be assigned to a position in a different competitive level which is occupied by an employee with less service in the same retention subgroup.

Rounds of Competition

The different stages of competing for retention during a RIF. In round 1, employees compete to remain in their competitive level. In round 2, assignment rights for released employees are determined-employees compete for assignment to positions in different competitive levels.

Service Computation Date (RIF)

Also known as SCD-RIF, this is a combination of the employee's service computation date (length of service) and credit given for three annual performance ratings of record in the four years preceding the date on which ratings are frozen before a RIF.

Severance Pay

Compensation provided to eligible employees who are involuntarily separated for reasons other than removal for cause.

Specific RTF Notice

A written communication from an agency official to an employee stating that the employee will be affected by a specific RTF action.

Transfer of Function

The transfer of the work of one or more employees from one competitive area to one or more other competitive areas, except when the function involved is virtually identical to functions already being performed in the second competitive area(s).

Transfer of function can also mean the movement of the competitive area in which the function is performed to another local commuting area.