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Title 5

Displaying title 5, up to date as of 9/15/2021. Title 5 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 5

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5 U.S.C. 1104, 3104, 3324, 3325, 5108, and 5376.


60 FR 6387, Feb. 2, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A - General
§ 319.101 Coverage.

(a) This part covers senior-level (SL) and scientific and professional (ST) positions that are classified above GS-15 and are paid under 5 U.S.C. 5376. See 5 CFR part 534, subpart E, for pay provisions.

(b) Positions that meet the criteria for placement in the Senior Executive Service (SES) under 5 U.S.C. 3132(a) may not be placed in the SL or ST system and are not covered by this part.

§ 319.102 Senior-level positions.

(a) SL positions are positions classified above GS-15 pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5108 that are not covered by other pay systems (e.g. the SES and ST systems).

(b) Positions in agencies that are excluded from 5 U.S.C. chapter 51 (Classification) under section 5102(a), or positions that meet one of the exclusions in section 5102(c), are excluded from the SL system.

(c) SL positions in the executive branch are in the competitive service unless the position is excepted by statute, Executive order, or the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

§ 319.103 Scientific and professional positions.

(a) ST positions are established under 5 U.S.C. 3104 to carry out research and development functions that require the services of specially qualified personnel.

(b) Research and development functions are defined in The Guide to Personnel Data Standards under the data element “Functional Classification.” The guide is available for inspection at the Office of Personnel Management library, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington DC 20415.

(c) An ST position must be engaged in research and development in the physical, biological, medical, or engineering sciences, or a closely related field.

(d) ST positions are in the competitive service.

§ 319.104 Applicable instructions.

Provisions in statute, Executive order, or regulations that relate in general to competitive and excepted service positions and employment apply to positions and employment under the SL and ST systems unless there is a specific provision to the contrary.

§ 319.105 Reporting requirements.

Agencies shall report such information as may be requested by OPM relating to SL and ST positions and employees.

Subpart B - Position Allocations and Establishment
§ 319.201 Coverage.

This section applies to SL positions in an executive agency per 5 U.S.C. 5108 and ST positions in any agency per 5 U.S.C. 3104.

§ 319.202 Allocation of positions.

SL and ST positions may be established only under a position allocation approved by OPM.

§ 319.203 Establishment of positions.

(a) Prior approval of OPM is not required to establish individual SL and ST positions within an allocation, but the positions must be established in accordance with the standards and procedures in paragraph (b) of this section. OPM reserves the right to require the prior approval of individual positions if the agency is not in compliance with these standards and procedures.

(b) Before an SL or ST position may be established, an agency must:

(1) Prepare a description of the duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships of the position; and

(2) Determine, consistent with published position classification standards and guides and accepted classification principles, that the position is properly classified above GS-15. In addition, for an ST position an agency must determine that the position meets the functional research and development criteria described in § 319.103.

Subpart C - Qualifications Requirements
§ 319.301 Qualifications standards.

(a) General. Agency heads are responsible for establishing qualifications standards in accordance with the criteria in this section.

(1) The standard must be in writing and identify the breadth and depth of the knowledges, skills, and abilities, or other qualifications, required for successful performance in the position.

(2) Each criterion in the standard must be job related.

(3) The standard may not include any criterion prohibited by law or regulation.

(b) Standards for senior-level positions.

(1) The standard must be specific enough to enable applicants to be rated and ranked according to their degree of qualifications when the position is being filled on a competitive basis.

(2) The standard may not include a minimum length of experience or minimum education requirement beyond that authorized for similar positions in the General Schedule.

(c) Standards for scientific and professional positions.

(1) Unless the agency obtains the approval of OPM, the standard must provide that the candidate have at least 3 years of specialized experience in, or closely related to, the field in which the candidate will work. At least 1 year of this experience must have been in planning and executing difficult programs of national significance or planning and executing specialized programs that show outstanding attainments in the field of research or consultation.

(2) Agencies may require that at least 1 year of the specialized experience must be at least equivalent to experience at GS-15.

(3) Agencies may require applicants to furnish positive evidence that they have performed highly creative or outstanding research where similar abilities are required in the ST position.

§ 319.302 Individual qualifications.

Agency heads are delegated authority to approve the qualifications of individuals appointed to SL and ST positions. The agency head must determine that the individual meets the qualifications standards for the position to which appointed.

Subpart D - Recruitment and Examination
§ 319.401 Senior-level positions.

(a) General. SL positions may be in either the competitive or excepted service. This section only applies to appointments in the competitive service from a civil service register. Reassignments, promotions, transfers, and reinstatements to SL positions in the competitive service shall be made in accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory provisions. Employment of SL employees in the excepted service is covered by 5 CFR, part 302.

(1) Agency heads are delegated authority to recruit and examine applicants for SL positions in the competitive service, establish competitor inventories, and issue certificates of eligibility in conformance with the requirements of this section, other applicable regulations, and statute.

(2) Agencies shall take such action as OPM may require to correct an action taken under delegated authority.

(3) Delegated authority may be terminated or suspended at any time by OPM for reasons such as, but not limited to:

(i) Evidence of unequal treatment of candidates; or

(ii) Identifiable merit system abuses.

(b) Recruitment.

(1) A recruiting plan, with appropriate emphasis on affirmative recruitment, must be developed and followed.

(2) Vacancy announcements must remain open for a minimum of 14 calendar days. The closing date may not be a nonworkday.

(3) State Job Service offices must be notified of the vacancy in accordance with 5 CFR 330.102. Publication in OPM's listing of Senior Executive Service and other executive vacancies, which is provided the offices, will satisfy this requirement.

(c) Evaluation and selection. Examination and selection procedures, and rights of applicants, are subject to the same provisions in statute and regulation that govern civil service examinations and appointments in general.

(d) Records.

(1) Agencies must maintain records sufficient to allow reconstruction of the merit staffing process.

(2) Records must be kept for 2 years after an appointment, or, if no appointment is made, for 2 years after the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

§ 319.402 Scientific and professional positions.

(a) ST positions are filled without competitive examination under 5 U.S.C. 3325.

(b) ST positions are not subject to the citizenship requirements in 5 CFR part 338, subpart A. Agencies, however, must observe any restrictions on the employment of noncitizens in applicable appropriations acts.

(c) ST employees acquire competitive status immediately upon appointment. They are not required to serve a probationary or trial period.