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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Resource Center for Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance

Frequently Asked Questions

Step One: Communicating Expectations and Performance Problems
Do I have the authority to tell an employee that his or her performance is unacceptable?
Do I have to wait for the annual performance appraisal to tell an employee that his or her performance is unacceptable?
Should my employee get a copy of all my notes about his or her performance?
I've never had to counsel an employee before. What kind of information is worth putting into "supervisory" notes?
This person is the first employee with "unacceptable performance" I've ever had in our group. When I looked at the performance standards, I found out that he isn't even doing the work described in them. What now?

Step Two: Providing an Opportunity to Improve
Is there a law that requires me to allow an employee to bring a union representative into a meeting where I plan to issue an opportunity period notice?
How will I know if my employee is "disabled" and should be accommodated?
What should I do about an employee who just won't talk to me? How can I give this person an opportunity to improve?
If my employee asks for leave during the opportunity period, do I have to grant it?
If I do approve leave during an opportunity period, what happens to the deadlines I've set up?
We don't have any money for training. What should I do about training during the opportunity period?
Do I have to follow the counseling steps before initiating an opportunity period?

Step Three: Taking Action
How much specific information needs to go into a proposal notice to remove?
What reasons warrant not providing an employee with a formal opportunity to improve?
What if I fail to issue my Part 432 decision within 30 days after the notice period expires?
How should I decide whether to suspend, demote, or remove?

Special Topics
Do I have to give a probationary/trial employee an opportunity to improve?
What happens when a within-grade increase comes due right in the middle of an opportunity period?

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