Reduction in Force (RIF) Retention Standing
Employees are ranked on retention
registers for competitive levels (groups of similar jobs)
based on four factors: tenure, Veterans' Preference,
length of service, and performance.
- First they are placed in Tenure
Group I, II, or III, depending on their type of
appointment. Within each group, they are placed
in a subgroup based on their veteran status:
- Subgroup AD includes each
preference eligible who has a compensable
service-connected disability of 30
percent or more.
- Subgroup A includes all
other preference eligibles not in
Subgroup AD, including employees with
- Subgroup B includes all
employees not eligible for Veterans'
The Dual Compensation Act of 1964 puts significant restrictions on
retention rights of retired military. For further
information on these retention rights see the
appropriate section of
- Within each subgroup, employees
are ranked in descending order by the length of
their creditable Federal civilian and military
service, augmented by additional service
according to the level of their performance
- When a position in a competitive
level is abolished, the employee affected
(released from the competitive level) is the one
who stands the lowest on the retention register.
Because veterans are listed ahead of non-veterans
within each tenure group, they are the last to be
affected by a RIF action.
- Employees are not subject to a
Reduction in Force while they are serving in the
uniformed services. After return from active
duty, they are protected from RIF action. If they
served for more than 180 days, they may not be
separated by RIF for 1 year after their return.
If they served for more than 30 but less than 181
days, they may not be separated by RIF for 6
Assignment Rights (Bump and Retreat)
When an employee in Tenure Group I or
II with a minimally successful performance rating is
released from a competitive level within the competitive
area where the RIF takes place, he or she is entitled
under certain circumstances to displace another employee
with lower retention standing. The superior standing of
preference eligibles gives them an advantage in being
retained over other employees. These displacement actions
apply to the competitive service although an agency may,
at its discretion, adopt similar provisions for its
Bumping -- An employee may
bump in the same competitive area to a position no
more than three grades (or grade intervals) lower
than the position from which the employee is released
that is held by an employee in a lower group or
Retreating -- An employee
may retreat in the same competitive area to a
position held by another employee with lower
retention standing in the same tenure group and
subgroup that is essentially identical to one previously
held by the retreating employee and is no more
than three grades (or grade intervals) lower than
the position from which the employee is released.
A preference eligible with a
compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or
more may retreat to a position up to five grades
(or grade intervals) lower.
An employee with an unacceptable performance rating
has no right to bump or retreat.
An employee with a minimally successful performance
rating may retreat only to positions held by an employee
with the same or lower rating.
Reemployment Priority for
After a RIF, separated competitive
service employees in Tenure Groups I and II are listed on
the agency's Reemployment Priority List. The agency
generally may not hire from most outside sources when
qualified employees are on the List. In hiring from the
List, preference eligibles receive preference over other
employees. Excepted service employees separated by RIF
receive similar priority in excepted employment. If the employee files an
Reemployment Priority List appeal, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection
may order a retroactive remedy which could include
extending the employee's time period for consideration
under the Reemployment Priority List.