350 Assignment, Reassignment, and Promotion

351 Introduction

351.1 Purpose and Scope

351.11 Employee Utilization

Postal officials in charge of installations have an overall responsibility to effectively use human resources. Supervisory employees have specific responsibilities to improve the use of human resources. Postal officials in charge of installations and supervisors must carefully plan and analyze the anticipated workload to enable the use of the minimum workforce consistent with effective operations.

351.12 Filling Postal Positions

The assignment, reassignment, or promotion of postal employees fills most postal positions, except entry–level positions.

351.13 Eligibility for Promotion

An employee serving under a career appointment is eligible for reassignment or promotion to a career position. An employee serving under a noncareer appointment is not eligible for promotion to a career position.

351.2 Positions Not to Be Filled on a Permanent Basis

The following are not to be filled on a permanent basis:

  1. Any position from which an employee is absent under circumstances where he or she has a right to be restored to his or her position; for example, because of an on-the-job injury.
  2. Any position from which an employee is on leave without pay to perform military service and has or may have reemployment rights under USERRA (see EL-312, section 77). Note: A position does not need to be held for an employee who (1) resigned to perform active military duty and (2) executed a Resignation to Enter Military Service Declaration; however, an employee placed into a position vacated by an employee who resigned to perform military service and completed a Resignation to Enter Military Service Declaration may be removed from that position in order to comply with the requirements of USERRA to reemploy an employee with reemployment rights who resigned to perform military service.
  3. Any position from which an employee was (a) subjected to an adverse action (e.g., removal, demotion, or reassignment) and (b) for which a grievance or appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board is pending.

351.3 Qualification and Eligibility Requirements

351.31 Qualification

Employees selected for a position must meet the minimum qualification requirements established for the position. See Handbook EL–312, chapter 7, for explanation of nonbargaining qualification standards and bargaining qualification standards.

351.32 Eligibility for Consideration

Eligibility for consideration for some nonbargaining positions is limited to employees in specific grades, occupations, geographic areas, or organizations, especially during periods of organizational change. The limitations for bargaining positions are described in collective bargaining agreements and Handbook EL-312, 72, Bargaining Positions. Employees with restoration rights by reason of military duty may request consideration and are considered for promotion, assignment, and conversion to full-time status, if otherwise eligible. (Consult human resources if an employee absent because of military duty requests consideration, but does not submit a formal application.) Other employees on extended leave or leave without pay are considered, provided they are eligible and have submitted an application. The personnel action is effected upon return to duty and is dated retroactively to the date the change would have occurred had the employee not been absent.

Note: The employee may be entitled to benefits including back pay for leave (including military leave) and retroactive activation of Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage (see Chapter 5, Employee Benefits).

351.4 Equal Opportunity

Postal Service policy provides all qualified employees an equal opportunity for assignments and promotions. Assignments and promotions must be based on merit and the relevant experience, training, knowledge, skills, and ability required for the positions being filled.

It is Postal Service policy not to discriminate in personnel decisions on the basis of:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law, or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.

351.5 General Promotion Policies

351.51 Merit Promotion Program

The promotion program for positions in the Postal Service is based on the principle of promotion by merit. The program provides the means for making selections for promotions according to the relative qualifications of the employees eligible for consideration. Officials engaged in the selection process must administer the program systematically, uniformly, and equitably. Promotions to craft positions must be made in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements.

351.52 Merit Promotion Program Objectives

The goal of the merit promotion program is to obtain maximum effectiveness and efficiency in postal operations by:

  1. Identifying highly qualified candidates for management’s consideration in a timely manner.
  2. Ensuring best placement of employees according to their capabilities and potential.
  3. Maximizing use of employees’ special skills and abilities.
  4. Providing employees an incentive to improve their performance and develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  5. Providing all employees the maximum possible opportunities for advancement, and ensuring that qualified employees who are eligible and available are given fair and appropriate consideration when filling higher–grade vacancies.
351.53 Policies

The following promotion policies apply:

  1. First consideration is given to qualified employees within the Postal Service. The area of consideration is broad enough to provide a supply of well qualified candidates for promotion. The selecting official is provided an adequate number of well qualified candidates from which to choose, but should not be burdened with a lengthy list of candidates to consider.
  2. Consideration is expanded to postal employees outside the minimum area of consideration when appropriate and necessary to ensure that an adequate number of qualified candidates are available for promotion consideration.
  3. Required files are maintained; adequate procedures are developed for periodic review of promotion actions; and appropriate corrective action is taken if procedural, regulatory violations, or other deficiencies are found.
  4. Employees selected for promotion are released from their current positions without undue delay. This is normally not later than 2 to 4 weeks after selection or in conformance with the provisions of any applicable labor agreement.
  5. Information is made available to employees, upon request, about:
    1. Promotion program requirements and procedures and the promotion programs affecting them;
    2. Promotion opportunities available to them;
    3. Their eligibility in specific promotion actions; and
    4. The identity of the person selected.
  6. Restrictions on the promotion (or recommendation for promotion) of immediate relatives are explained in Handbook EL-312, 513.3, Relatives.
351.54 Exceptions to Competitive Promotion Procedures

Promotions excepted from competitive procedures are listed in Handbook EL–312, 717.32, Exceptions to Competitive Procedures.

351.55 Temporary Promotions

See Handbook EL-312, 716.2, Temporary Promotion, for conditions when temporary promotions are appropriate.

351.6 Mutual Exchanges

351.61 General Policy

Career employees may exchange positions (subject to the provisions of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement) if the officials in charge at the installations involved approve the exchange of positions. Mutual exchanges must be made between employees in positions at the same grade levels. The following employees are not permitted to exchange positions:

  1. Part-time flexible employees with full-time employees.
  2. Bargaining employees with nonbargaining employees.
  3. Nonsupervisory employees with supervisory employees.
351.62 Rural Letter Carrier Employees

The mutual exchange of regular rural letter carrier employees of different Post Offices is permitted in accordance with the applicable provisions of the USPS–NRLCA National Agreement. The following mutual exchanges are not permitted:

  1. Between regular rural letter carrier employees in the same Post Office.
  2. Between rural letter carrier employees and members of other crafts.