The Federal civil service includes all appointive positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Federal Government, except military positions in the uniformed services. The civil service consists of:
The primary differences between the three services are in appointment procedures and job protections. In the competitive service, appointment procedures, merit promotion requirements, and qualification requirements are prescribed by law or by the Office of Personnel Management and apply to all agencies. In the excepted service, only basic requirements are prescribed by law or regulation and each agency generally develops specific requirements and procedures for its own jobs.
Certain principles of the competitive service apply to the SES with some adaptations. However, SES provisions in some program areas differ significantly from those governing the other systems.
Appeal rights available to competitive employees are generally not available to excepted employees unless the excepted employees are veterans preference eligibles. The provisions of Title 5, United States Code, treating classification, pay, leave, retirement, insurance and health benefits apply to both competitive and excepted positions unless the positions are excluded from any of those provisions by statute.