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

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Operating Manual for Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions

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Policies and Instructions

General Policies:
B. Responsibilities

  1. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

    OPM is responsible for developing and issuing minimum qualification standards, policies, and instructions. OPM is also responsible for approving qualification standards for particular positions when no standard in this section is appropriate for filling an agency's position(s).

  2. Agencies

    Federal executive branch agencies are responsible for applying the appropriate standards in individual personnel actions and when examining for positions under a delegated examining authority. Information provided in OPM qualification standards generally is not sufficiently specific to be used directly in examining for positions or quoted in vacancy announcements. Therefore, agencies must include in their vacancy announcements the general or specialized experience or education required for their positions. It is not adequate to state, "See Qualification Standards Operating Manual for General Schedule Positions for experience requirements." (See E.3.(c) on describing experience in vacancy announcements.)

    Agencies are also responsible for developing selective factors, when needed, to supplement the standards in this section.

    Agencies are responsible for establishing medical standards without OPM approval for occupations for which they are the predominant employer, i.e., have 50 percent or more of the positions in the occupation. (See E.9.(b).)

    Agencies can also modify qualification requirements for certain inservice placement actions (See E.8.(c)). When agencies define or modify particular requirements, they are responsible for supporting their decisions. Agencies can also waive or modify qualification requirements when assigning employees in reductions in force or in lieu of reductions in force. (See OPM guidance on reduction-in-force procedures.)

    In those rare instances where qualification standards supplemented by selective factors will not meet agencies' needs, agencies are responsible for proposing new standards for OPM's approval. (See Subsection G.)

    When filling Schedule B positions, an agency's standards can include more restrictive requirements, e.g., qualifying experience, but they cannot be lower than or substantially different from the OPM standards. Agencies are responsible for justifying, based on the work of the Schedule B positions involved, any qualification requirements used in addition to those in OPM qualification standards.

    Agency appointing officials are responsible for verifying employees' qualifications prior to appointment or assignment.