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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Excepted Service Hiring


Schedule A


The Schedule A appointing authorities cover positions for which it is impractical to use standard qualification requirements and to rate applicants using traditional competitive procedures. For example, you must use a Schedule A exception to hire attorneys because, by law, OPM cannot develop qualification standards or examine for attorney positions. Other governmentwide positions covered by Schedule A authorities include: chaplain, law clerk trainee, and certain experts for consultation purposes. Positions may also be excepted from the competitive service and placed under Schedule A because of special circumstances. For example, Schedule A covers positions for which there is a critical need or emergency or Presidential initiative. Schedule A also covers positions when filled with an individual with a disability.

30-Day Critical Hiring Need Appointment (READ MORE)
What it provides: A 30-day critical need appointment that may be extended for an additional 30 days if continued employment is essential to the agency's operations. However, an individual may not be employed under this authority for more than 60 days in any 12-month period.

When to use it: To meet a short-term critical hiring need requirement for individuals with specialized skills or on an interim basis to get an individual on board quickly to meet an emergency need pending completion of a competitive process, issuance of a clearance, or other procedure required for a longer appointment. You may not use it to extend the service limit of any other appointing authority.

What it requires: An agency may determine what qualifications are required. An agency does not have to consider Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP), Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP), or Reemployment Priority List (RPL) requirements (OPM qualification standards and other requirements, such as adhering to the CTAP, ICTAP, and RPL, apply to competitive service appointments).

Benefits to the hiring manager: This authority allows a manager to meet an emergency requirement to fulfill the mission of an agency.

To make a 30-Day Critical Hiring Need Appointment:

STEPS
  1. Identify the critical hiring need requirement. If the critical hiring need requirement cannot be met within the 30- to 60-day period, determine how to meet the need on a longer term basis while the critical hiring need appointment is in effect. Without exception, only one 30-day extension of the initial 30-day appointment is allowed.
  2. Determine the qualifications required to meet the critical hiring need.
  3. Identify the individual(s) who can meet the critical hiring need.
  4. Appoint the individual for 30 days; extend the appointment if necessary for an additional 30 days.

OPM-approved Schedule A hiring authority for Digital Services (READ MORE)
What it provides: This Schedule A hiring authority was granted by OPM to provide agencies with an expedited hiring authority to recruit the high tech talent needed to transition the way the Government builds and buys information technology to improve the way it delivers technology services to the public.

When to use it: To meet a short term critical hiring need associated with the projects assigned to agencies under the Administration’s “Smarter IT Delivery” initiative.

What it requires: An agency must determine which positions at the GS-11 – GS-15 may be filled under the authority. In addition, the agency must determine the necessary qualifications that will be required to assess the competencies of the applicants.

Benefits to the hiring manager: This authority allows a manager to hire these highly sought after digital services experts without having to use the traditional competitive hiring process.

To appoint individuals to temporary positons covered by this Schedule A:

STEPS
  1. Determine recruitment sources.
  2. Disseminate information about hiring requirements.
  3. Assess or evaluate the qualifications of the candidates.
  4. Appoint an individual who meets the qualification requirements for the position.

Appointment of Individuals with Disabilities (Schedule A) (READ MORE)
Agencies may use this authority to noncompetitively appoint qualified individuals with a disability to appropriate positions. The appointment authority covers individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities (5 CFR 213.3102(u)).

Click here for more in-depth information on Schedule A – Appointments of Individuals with Disabilities

Agency-Specific Schedule A and B Authorities (READ MORE)
When an agency has a hiring issue that is not remedied by using traditional competitive hiring procedures, the agency may ask OPM to grant an exception under Schedule A or B. Requests must describe the specific issue and justify why using traditional competitive procedures prevents the agency from meeting the hiring need for the job(s) or situation. Requests include:
  • The occupation and duties involved.
  • A complete description of why previous attempts to hire competitively did not work.
  • Reasons why recruitment and competitive examining are not possible.
  • Remedies and alternatives that have been used to resolve recruitment and examining problems.
Whether the positions are excepted from the competitive service by statute, the President or OPM, there are rules and regulations associated with filling jobs in the excepted service (positions subject to the provisions of title 5) just as there are rules and regulations associated with filling jobs in the competitive service. In fact, many of the requirements are the same, just executed a little differently.

To appoint individuals under an Agency-specific Schedule A or Schedule B authority:

Once an exception has been approved, agencies may fill positions in accordance with the parameters of the appointing authority. In addition,

STEPS
  1. Determine recruitment sources.
  2. Disseminate information about hiring requirements.
  3. Assess or evaluate the qualifications of the candidates.
  4. Appoint an individual who meets the qualification requirements for the position.


Schedule B


The authorities cover positions for which it is impractical to hold open competition or to apply usual competitive examining procedures. However, unlike those under Schedule A, appointments under this authority ARE subject to OPM’s basic qualification standards for the occupation and grade level. Prior to Pathways, the student employment programs were under Schedule B. Now, there are a few hiring authorities remaining, including the SES candidate development program.

Schedule C


Upon specific authorization by OPM, agencies may make appointments to positions which are policy-determining or which involve a close and confidential working relationship with the head of an agency or other key appointed officials, in situations for which political appointments are appropriate.

When requesting Schedule C exception, agencies must submit to OPM a statement signed by the agency head certifying that the position was not created solely or primarily for the purpose of detailing the incumbent to the White House. The Schedule C by OPM is revoked immediately upon the position becoming vacant.

Schedule D


As authorized by OPM, agencies may make appointments which the competitive service requirements make impracticable the adequate recruitment and selection of sufficient numbers of students attending qualifying educational institutions or individuals who have recently completed qualifying educational programs. These positions, which may be filled in the excepted service to enable more effective recruitment from all segments of society by using means of recruiting and assessing candidates that diverge from the rules generally applicable to the competitive service, constitute the Pathways Programs. Appointments under this authority are subject to the basic qualification standards established by the Office of Personnel Management for the occupation and grade level unless otherwise stated.

Click here for more in-depth information on Schedule D – Pathways Programs