A temporary limited appointment is a nonpermanent, nonstatus appointment to a position for a specified period of time not to exceed one calendar year. Temporary appointments are intended to meet legitimate nonpermanent staffing needs. Examples of appropriate use of temporary appointments include:

(1) Filling a position to address a temporary workload peak or to complete a project;

(2) Meeting a staffing need that is scheduled to be terminated within the one year timeframe for reasons such as abolishment, reorganization, or contracting out of the function, anticipated reduction in funding;

(3) Filling positions temporarily because the positions are expected to be needed for placement of permanent employees who would otherwise be displaced’

It is not appropriate to use a temporary appointment as an unofficial probationary period (unless specifically authorized as in the case of severely disabled or mentally restored employees) or as a means of avoiding the cost of paying employee benefits.

Time Limitations

A temporary appointment may be made for a specified period not to exceed one year. The appointment may be extended one additional year for a maximum of 24 months of total service. An appointment to a successor position – a position that replaces and absorbs the position to which an individual was originally appointed—is considered an extension, not a new appointment, in calculating the 24 month limitation. An appointment to a position involving the same basic duties in the same major subdivision of the activity and the same commuting area as the original appointment also is considered an extension rather than a new appointment.

The supervisor submitting the hiring action must certify that the employment need is truly temporary and that the proposed appointment meets the regulatory time limits. The reason for making a temporary limited appointment must be stated.

Restriction on Filling Positions by Temporary Appointment

An activity may not fill a position by temporary appointment if that position has been filled by temporary appointment(s) for an aggregate of 2 years, or 24 months, within the preceding 3-year period.

Special Exception to Time Limitations: Closing Installations

In response to a request from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has granted commanders at closing installations the authority to approve exceptions to the two year service limit and the restrictions on successive temporary appointments to the same or successor positions. This authority is applicable to installations scheduled to close within two years.

Making Temporary Appointments

Temporary appointments may be made under:

(1) Competitive procedures, such as a appointments under a delegated examining authority or an OPM certificate or

(2) Various noncompetitive appointment authorities. These include authorities to appoint individuals eligible for reinstatement, veterans recruitment appointments (VRA), 30% compensable veterans appointments, and reappointment on the basis of not having served the maximum time allowed under a former temporary appointment.

Although the VRA authority can be used to make a temporary appointment, if an individual is appointed to a temporary or term position under the VRA, the appointment is not a Veterans Recruitment Appointment and does not lead to conversion to career-conditional appointment.

The reappointment authority provides for a new temporary appointment of a former temporary employee who has not served the maximum time allowed. The new appointment must be to the same position or to another position with the same grade, series, and qualification requirements that could have been filled from the same authority as the original appointment.

Temporary employees do not serve a trial or probationary period. They are not competing employees under reduction in force (unless they are provisional temporary employees—see below). They may be terminated at any time upon written notice from the employing agency.

Reappointing Temporary Employees Injured on the Job

OPM rules permit agencies to noncompetitively reappoint former temporary employees who were injured on the job to any position for which they qualify if their injury disqualified them for reappointment to their original position or one with the same qualification requirements. Normally, reappointment would be to the same position or another position appropriate for temporary appointment with the same qualification requirements. In these cases, reappointment must be for a minimum of 120 days.

Excepted Service Appointments on a Time Limited Basis

Excepted appointments not-to-exceed one year are considered “temporary” and are subject to the 24 month service limit and restrictions comparable to those pertaining to temporary appointments in the competitive service. Additional information is in 5 CFR § 213.104.

Provisional Temporary Appointments

Generally, temporary appointments are appropriate only when the activity does not have a need for a permanent employee. Some temporary appointments, however, are used to fill positions that are known to be permanent with the expectation that the appointees will be converted to permanent status. (An example is the appointment of disabled veterans with a disability rating of 30% or more.) These appointments are designated as “provisional temporary appointments” and the appointees are treated as nontemporary appointees for purposes of life insurance, health benefits, retirement, and reduction in force. Additional information on provisional temporary appointments is found in 5 CFR § 316.403.

Priority Placement and Consideration Appointments

The filling of temporary positions is subject to the employment restrictions of the Reemployment Priority List program, and the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program.

Commercial Activities, Right of First Refusal

An employee on a temporary or term appointment, whose appointment is terminated before the expiration date of the appointment, and the termination is the result of commercial activities, is entitled to the Right of First Refusal. An employee who voluntarily terminates their employment before conversion, or an employee whose appointment expires before conversion, is not entitled to the Right of First Refusal. The commercial activity contractor responsible for offering the Right of First Refusal should be given the names and type of appointment of all employees eligible to receive the Right of First Refusal.

Content last reviewed: 6/8/2006-SWL

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