On this page:


4-1. Qualification Requirements

  1. Candidates must meet the minimum standards for entry into paybands. For example, if a payband is equivalent to grades GS-5 through GS-10, candidates must meet the basic qualifications requirements for positions at the GS-5 level. Basic Qualification requirements will be determined using Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions.
  2. Selective placement factors and modifications to the basic standards may be established in accordance with the OPM Qualifications Standard Handbook and 5 USC/CFR considerations when judged to be critical to successful job performance. Such factors become a part of the basic requirements.
  3. Additionally, the standards may be modified by appropriate managerial authority by increasing experience and/or substitutable education requirements to reflect modern practices and curricula. These modifications will be consistent within the occupational family and paybands. Except that, no changes may be made to positive or minimum education requirements established by OPM in accordance with 5 USC 3308.
  4. Recruitment notices will state minimum standards for entry into the paybands.

4-2. Staffing Options

Managers may choose from the following staffing options, with consideration given to the DoD Priority Placement Program (See Attachment 1) and other mandatory placement systems:

  1. Simplified Assignment Process. Managers may assign employees, within benchmark position descriptions within the payband, without competition and without official personnel action. Simplified assignments may be made consistent with the needs of the organization and employees' payband, benchmark position description and capabilities. Simplified assignments to projects, tasks, or functions with like paybands and position descriptions may be made under this authority anywhere within the organization. Similarly, a manager may be assigned to manage any similar function or organization consistent with that individual's capabilities, position description and payband. However, formal assignment measures are required where there are competitive area changes or changes in the exempt/nonexempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Therefore, this simplified process may not be used where such changes are involved.
    1. Documentation. Simplified assignments do not result in official personnel actions but will be documented by memoranda approved by MRDC Commander/Director of the organization. The memorandum will adequately record the assignment, identify any changes to the applicable rating chain and include the effective date.
    2. A copy of the memorandum will be provided to the employee, new rating chain managers/supervisors and the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC). The signatory official will also maintain a copy for audit purposes.
  2. Managers may elect to fill vacancies through internal or external sources and by methods consistent with competitive procedure requirements, merit principles and DOD PPP policies and procedures.
  3. Recruitment for positions which are at payband levels equivalent to mandatory career referral levels will be accomplished in accordance with career program procedures. At the option of the manager, local recruitment methods may be used in conjunction with mandatory career program methods to supplement the recruitment effort.
  4. Managers are accountable for understanding affirmative action concepts and equal employment opportunity goals. Further, managers are responsible for implementing policies and recruitment strategies designed to meet organizational objectives.


Attachment 1: Priority Placement Program (PPP)


  1. Requisitioning:
    1. Except as provided in paragraph 1.c. below, requisitions will be submitted at the target grade reflected in the payband to which the position corresponds. The target grades for occupational families and paybands are as follows:
      	Engineers & Scientists Payband (DB):
      	DB-I:		GS-04
      	DB-II:		GS-12
      	DB-III:		GS-14
      	DB-IV:		GS-15
      	*DV-V:		Above GS-15
      	E & S Technicians Payband (DE):
      	DE-I:		GS-04
      	DE-II:		GS-08
      	DE-III:		GS-11
      	DE-IV:		GS-13
      	Administrative Payband (DJ):
      	DJ-I:		GS-04
      	DJ-II:		GS-10
      	DJ-III:		GS-12
      	DJ-IV:		GS-14
      	DJ-V:		GS-15
      	General Support Payband (DK):
      	DK-I:		GS-04
      	DK-II:		GS-08
      	DK-III:		GS-10
    2. *Positions in Occupational Family DB (Engineers & Scientists) at Payband V (above GS-15) are not subject to the PPP.
    3. In accordance with current PPP policy, positions covered by a formal training program are requisitioned at the entry grade. The requisition must include the "trainee" (TRA) option code. For example, an intern position in DB-II will be requisitioned at the grade level requested by management, with the "TRA" option code.
  2. Registration:
    1. Demonstration project employees who are entitled to PPP registration must be registered using the General Schedule pay plan and/or Federal Wage System pay plan.
    2. The conversion procedure provided in Appendix J will be applied to determine the registrant's equivalent GS grade. That grade will be used as the basis for determining the grade level(s) for which PPP registration is appropriate.


  1. 1. Management will consult with the CPAC to determine if and when PPP would apply.
  2. Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) will provide PPP counseling and registration and forward to the Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC) for review and input to Priority Placement Support Branch - Dayton.
  3. The CPAC will prepare File Maintenance when required and forward to CPOC for input to Priority Placement Support Branch - Dayton.
  4. The CPOC is responsible for requisitioning for all vacancies. The CPOC will determine qualifications for all PPP matches, requesting managers to input as necessary and seeking resolution of qualifications disputes through established DoD PPP procedures.


Section II - Appointments and Conversions

4-3. Types of Appointments and Eligibility for Conversion.

  1. Career and Career-Conditional will be utilized with existing authorities and entitlements.
  2. In order to meet fluctuating or uncertain workload requirements, non-permanent Contingency Appointments may be made for periods in excess of one year but less than five years. Contingent employees are entitled to the same rights and benefits as term employees and will serve a one year trial period. The Pay for Performance Management System applies to contingent employees.
    1. Individuals hired for up to 5-years under this Contingent Employee authority are given term appointments. The MRDC Commander is authorized to extend a contingent appointment one additional year for a total of six years.
    2. Appointments will be made under the same appointment authorities and processes as regular term appointments. Recruitment bulletins will indicate a potential for conversion into permanent employment upon meeting conditions listed in 4-3(3) below.
    3. Conversion Procedures for Employees serving on Term Appointments.
    4. Upon initial conversion to Lab Demo, current employees serving on term appointments will be converted to a contingent appointment with no loss of any benefits and/or entitlements currently being received under the term appointment.
    5. Conversion to Career-Conditional Appointment Process.
    6. Demonstration Project procedures provide the opportunity for contingent employees to be eligible to receive consideration for conversion to career-conditional/career appointments, provided the following conditions are met:
      1. Employees must have competed for their current term appointment (this includes selections made through Office of Personnel Management (OPM) certifications or Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) authority selections).
      2. Have served at least two continuous years under a term/contingent appointment. (Previous time served on term appointment prior to Lab Demo implementation is creditable as long as no break in service has occurred).
      3. Individual must file under COMPETITIVE announcement procedures where the area of consideration identified on the merit promotion announcement includes verbage "Contingent employees who have served two years of continuous service under term/contingent employee appointment". AND
        1. announcement indicates the position advertised may later become permanent; OR
        2. position is initially opened as a permanent position vacancy.
      4. Individual has received a performance rating of "B" or better or its equivalent for eligibility to file for the open competitive announcement.

4-4. Pay Setting Upon Appointment/Hiring.

  1. As a general rule, pay upon initial appointment will be set at the lowest level in a payband.
  2. Appointments from external sources (individuals not currently in the federal system) above the minimum payband rate may be made based upon superior qualifications. Candidates appointed toward the higher end of a payband should have qualifications approaching the lowest grade incorporated into the next higher payband. Managers granting initial salaries above the minimum based on superior qualifications will provide rationale to CPAC.
  3. Highest Previous Rate consideration will be given to the most recent and relevant experience, proficiency, shortage of qualified candidates, and other factors in arriving at a determination as to whether highest previous rate will be preserved. The basis of the determination will be documented by CPAC in conjunction with management.


Section III - Merit Promotion

4-5. Promotion

  1. A promotion is:
    1. the movement of an employee to a higher payband within the same occupational family;
    2. the movement of an employee to a payband in a different occupational family which results in an increase in the employee's salary.
  2. To be promoted an employee must meet minimum standards and have a current performance rating of "B" or better (or equivalent under other systems).
  3. Progression within a payband is based upon performance pay increases; as such, these actions are not considered promotions and are not subject to the provisions of this section.

4-6. Competitive Procedures

Promotions will be processed under applicable competitive procedures in accordance with merit principles and requirements. The following actions may be processed as exceptions to competitive procedure requirements:

  1. Re-promotion to a position in the same payband (to include positions previously held outside of the paybanding system) and occupational family as the employee previously held on a permanent basis within the competitive service.
  2. Promotion, reassignment, demotion, transfer or reinstatement to a position having promotion potential no greater than the potential of a position the employee currently holds or previously held on a permanent basis in the competitive service.
  3. A position change through reduction-in-force procedures.
  4. Promotion of an employee who was appointed through competitive procedures to a position with a documented career ladder.
  5. A temporary promotion or detail to a position in a higher payband for 180 days or less. Prior service during the preceding 12-month period under noncompetitive time limited promotions and noncompetitive details to higher paybands counts toward the 180-day total.
  6. Promotion resulting from impact of person on the job, accretion of duties, and Factor IV process, re-evaluation of E&S payband V employees, etc.
  7. Promotion resulting from the correction of an initial classification error or the issuance of a new classification standard.
  8. Conversion to permanent promotion from a competitive temporary promotion provided the possibility for permanent promotion was advertised.

4-7. Pay Setting - Promotions.

  1. The minimum basic pay increase upon promotion to a higher payband will be 6% or the minimum rate of the new payband, whichever is greater. However, no pay increase for promotion may exceed $10,000.
  2. For promotions into a new locality pay area, an employee will be entitled to a minimum of 6% increase in basic pay with a subsequent adjustment for locality pay.
  3. Upon termination of a temporary promotion, the employee's pay entitlements will be determined based on the employee's position of record, with appropriate adjustments to reflect pay events during the temporary promotion.


Section IV - Change to Lower Salary

4-8. Change to Lower Salary at Employee's Request:

When an employee voluntarily accepts a change to lower salary with the opportunity for repromotion to the former salary level, the pay in the lower payband will be set so that repromotion will not result in monetary advantage to the employee. This procedure does not apply when filling Intern positions which are covered under pay retention regulations.

4-9. Change to Lower Salary - Adverse Action:

When an employee is placed in a lower payband due to adverse action, the pay will be set so that, if the employee is repromoted within the next twelve months, it will not result in monetary advantage to the employee. Management, however, may set the pay at the lowest level within the lower payband. NOTE: Actions involving employees serving in supervisory positions who are returned to non-supervisory positions will not be considered as adverse actions.


Section V - Probationary Periods

4-10. Initial Probationary Period.

  1. The current one-year initial probationary period will be extended "up to three years" for all newly hired career and career-conditional employees in all paybands. The purpose of extending the probationary period is to allow supervisors an adequate period of time to fully evaluate an employee's ability to complete a research cycle and/or to fully evaluate an employee's contributions and conduct.
  2. The length of the extended probationary period for the Engineers and Scientists Occupational Family (i.e., DB) will be three years.
  3. The probationary period for all other occupational families (e.g., DE, DJ, and DK) will be two years.
  4. Aside from extending the time period, all other features of the current probationary period regulations are retained including the potential to remove an employee without providing full substantive and procedural rights afforded non-probationary employees.
  5. Any employee appointed prior to the demonstration project implementation date will not be required to serve an extended probationary period. The "up to three years" (or extended) probationary period will apply to new hires and any other employees who enter the project after its implementation who have not previously completed a required probationary period.
  6. Requirement for completion of probationary period for reinstatement and reemployment eligibles will be determined by application of standard rules consistent with current probationary period provisions.
  7. Probationary employees will be terminated upon failure to demonstrate proper conduct, technical competency and/or adequate contribution for continued employment. When MRDC decides to terminate an employee serving a probationary period because his/her work performance or conduct during this period fails to demonstrate fitness or qualification for continued employment it shall terminate his/her services by written notification of the reasons for separation and the effective date of the action. Information in the notice regarding the reasons for termination will, as a minimum, consist of the manager's conclusions on inadequacies of performance or conduct.
  8. Contingent employees are subject to a one-year trial period.

4-11. Supervisory Probationary Period.

  1. Supervisory probationary periods will be made consistent with 5 CFR, Part 315, Section 315.901. Employees who have successfully completed an initial probationary period will not be exempt from the requirement to complete an additional one-year probationary period for the initial appointment to a supervisory/managerial position.
  2. If, during the probationary period, the decision is made to return the employee to a non-supervisory position for reasons solely related to supervisory/managerial performance, the employee will be returned to a comparable position of no lower payband and basic pay than the position held just prior to the supervisory/managerial position assignment. The employee must be notified in writing to include specific reasons the action is being taken.


SECTION VI - Voluntary Emeritus Program


Under the demonstration project the MRDC Commanders/Directors will have the authority to offer voluntary assignments in their activities to former employees who have retired or separated from Federal service. Voluntary Emeritus Program assignments are not considered "employment" by the Federal government (except for purposes of injury compensation). Thus, such assignments do not affect a volunteer's entitlement to buyouts or severance payments based on an earlier separation from Federal service. The Voluntary Emeritus Program will ensure continued quality research while reducing the overall salary line by allowing individuals to accept retirement incentives with the opportunity to retain a presence in the community. The program will be of most benefit during manpower reductions as an individual could accept retirement and return to provide valuable on-the-job training or mentoring to less experienced employees. Voluntary service will not be used to replace any employee or interfere with career opportunities of employees.


To be accepted into the voluntary emeritus program, a volunteer must be approved by the MRDC subordinate Commander/Director. Everyone who applies is not entitled to an assignment. The Commander/Director must clearly document the decision process for each applicant (whether accepted or rejected) and retain the documentation throughout the assignment. Documentation of rejections will be maintained for two years.


To ensure success and encourage participation, the volunteer's Federal retirement pay (whether military or civilian) will not be affected while serving in a voluntary capacity. Retired or separated Federal employees may accept a voluntary emeritus position without a break or mandatory waiting period.


Volunteers will not be permitted to monitor contracts on behalf of the government or to participate on any contracts or solicitations where a conflict of interest exists. The same rules that currently apply to source selection members will apply to volunteers.


An agreement will be established between the volunteer, the subordinate Commander/Director, and the servicing CPAC/CPOC. The agreement will be reviewed by the Headquarters MRDC, Legal Office for ethics determinations under the Joint Ethics Regulations. The agreement must be finalized before the assumption of duties and shall include:

  1. a statement that the voluntary emeritus assignment does not constitute an appointment in the civil service and is without compensation, and any and all claims against the government (because of the voluntary assignment)except those which may be related to injury compensation are waived by the volunteer,
  2. a statement that the volunteer will be considered a Federal Employee for the purpose of injury compensation,
  3. the volunteer's work schedule,
  4. the length of agreement (defined by length of project or time defined by weeks, months, and/or years),
  5. the support to be provided by the MRDC activity (e.g., travel, administrative, office space, supplies),
  6. a one-page, or less, statement of duties and experience,
  7. a statement of understanding that no additional time will be added to the volunteer's service credit for such purposes as retirement, severance pay, and leave as a result of being a member of the Voluntary Emeritus Program,
  8. a provision allowing either MRDC or the volunteer to void the agreement with 10 working days' written notice, and
  9. the level of security access required (any security clearance required by the assignment will be managed by the subordinate activity while the volunteer is a member of the Program).