- In This Section
- General Information
- Accretion of Duties Promotions
- Standard Position Descriptions
- Collateral Duty Statements
- Student Trainee Statement
- Sample Position Description Formats
- Classification Policy
- Position Management
- General Schedule Classification Documents
- Federal Wage System Documents
- Classification Related Forms
- Position Category Code Definitions
- Writing Evaluation Statements
Accretion of Duties Promotions
A promotion resulting from an employee's position being classified at a higher grade because of additional duties and responsibilities. When the nature of a position gradually evolves over an extended period of time due to "accretion of duties," the individual in the position may be promoted in place without competition.
In certain circumstances, it might be wiser for management to view the "evolved" position as a new position, advertise it as such, and fill it competitively through Merit Promotion. Deciding when such action is necessary is sometimes difficult and Human Resources (HR) Specialists have not always been consistent in their approach to this question.
Background Issues and Relevant Facts
"Planned Management Action.” Prior to 1979, a promotion resulting from accretion of duties caused by "planned management action" had to be filled under competitive procedures. This is no longer true. In 1979, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) abolished this requirement. As a result, management may assign any work to any position that falls within the position's normal scope of duties, and if over a period of time, the new work includes higher level duties, an accretion of duties promotion may be appropriate. In short, "planned management action" is no longer relevant to this issue and cannot be cited as grounds for not effecting noncompetitive promotions.
Successive Promotions Based on Accretion of Duties Should Not Be Routine
Successive noncompetitive promotions of the same employee in the same job based on accretion of duties are in violation of merit principles and are not in the agency's best interest. Repeated noncompetitive actions usually result from poor position management and can be avoided by identifying a realistic full performance level (FPL) before the position is filled.
USDA's Office of Human Resources Management issued a policy bulletin urging agencies to develop and publish career ladders for major occupations and to ensure that similar positions have similar FPL's. This policy was based on a recommendation from the Department's Civil Rights Action Team. Even if Departmental policy were not involved, identifying FPL's and career ladders would still be a sound idea in light of the problem discussed in the previous paragraph.
Management should not feel uncomfortable with this concept. An identified FPL is neither a promise to the employee nor an entitlement; it is simply a measure of the work that needs to be done (presumably, and eventually, by the incumbent) and an honest projection of the direction a position might go in optimum circumstances. If the employee fails to perform or circumstances prove less than optimal, then the FPL may never be reached.
Lack of funds cannot be cited as a reason not to promote a deserving employee, regardless of the grounds for the promotion (i.e., career ladder or accretion of duties). Money is one issue, classification is another, and never the two shall meet.
The following policy provisions will govern HR staffing and classification actions:
- Whenever possible, managers and HR Specialists will ensure that a reasonable and accurate career ladder is established before a position is filled.
- If an employee's position must be upgraded due to the assignment of additional duties and responsibilities, the incumbent may be promoted without competition if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The employee continues to perform the same basic functions;
(2) The major duties of the former position are absorbed into the new position (i.e., the new position is a clear successor to the previous position);
(3) The new duties could not reasonably be assigned to any other position within the organization;
(4) The new position has no further promotion potential;
(5) No other positions within the organizational unit-whether encumbered or unencumbered are adversely affected by the action (e.g., the "new" duties were moved from another position in the organization and that position's grade is jeopardized as a result);
(6) Time in grade requirements have been met.
(7) The new position is not a reclassification from nonsupervisory to team leader or supervisory status; and
(8) The new position is not a reclassification from a one-grade interval to a two-grade interval position.
If the above conditions are not met, a new position, incorporating the additional duties, will be established and filled competitively through Merit Promotion action.
Human Resources Specialist
All positions being upgraded due to accretion of duties will be audited and an evaluation statement or classifier's note will be prepared for inclusion in the Organizational Book. (Note: The Organizational Book is a file maintained in the Human Resources Division which contains all the position descriptions and evaluation statements for an organizational unit.)
Requesting Official/HR Specialists
All accretion of duties actions requires the completion of the Accretion of Duties Promotion Certification.
For further information
Contact your servicing HR Specialist.
Updated by: HRO, HRD, AFM; March 9, 2009.