Federal Employee Temporary and Term Appointments

Temporary and term appointments are used to fill positions when there is not a continuing need for the job to be filled. Neither type of appointment is a permanent one, so they do not give the employee competitive status or reinstatement eligibility. Because temporary and term employees do not have status, they may not apply for permanent appointments through agency internal merit promotion procedures, which are used for filling positions from the ranks of current and former permanent Federal employees. However, qualifying experience gained while employed in a temporary or term position is considered when applying later for a permanent position.

Defining Temporary Appointment

A temporary appointment is an appointment lasting one year or less, with a specific expiration date. It is appropriate when an agency expects there will be no permanent need for the employee. An agency may make a temporary appointment to:

  • fill a short-term position that is not expected to last more than one year; or
  • meet an employment need that is scheduled to be terminated within one year (or at most, two years) for reasons such as reorganization, abolishment, or contracting out of the function, anticipated reduction in funding, or the completion of a specific project or peak workload; or
  • fill positions on a temporary basis when the positions are expected to be needed for placement of permanent employees who would otherwise be displaced from other parts of the organization.

A temporary employee does not serve a probationary period and is not eligible for promotion, reassignment, or transfer to other jobs.

Time Limits

Generally, an agency may make a temporary appointment for a specified period not to exceed one year. The appointment may be extended up to a maximum of one additional year. Appointments involved with intermittent or seasonal work may be extended indefinitely, if extensions are made in increments of one year or less and the employment totals less than six months (1,040 hours), excluding overtime, in a service year.

How Temporary Employees Are Selected

Most vacancies are filled through open competitive examination procedures. However, an agency may give a temporary appointment noncompetitively to certain individuals (such as a reinstatement eligible, a 30% disabled veteran, and veterans eligible for a veterans readjustment appointment).

Term Appointments

Under term employment, the employing agency hires the term appointee to work on a project that is non-permanent in nature. The employment is for a limited period of time, lasting for more than one year but for no longer than four years. Some reasons for making a term appointment may include:

  • project work;
  • extraordinary workload;
  • scheduled abolishment, reorganization, or contracting out of the function;
  • uncertainty of future funding;
  • the need to maintain permanent positions for placement of employees who would otherwise be displaced from other parts of the organization.

 

How Term Employees Are Selected

Most vacancies are filled through open competitive examination procedures. However, an agency may give a term appointment noncompetitively to certain individuals (such as reinstatement eligibles, veterans eligible for a veterans readjustment appointment, and 30% disabled veterans). The employment of a term employee ends automatically on the expiration of their term appointment. The first year of service is considered a trial period and the agency may terminate a term employee at any time during the trial period.

4 Comments

  • Posted May 12, 2013 Guy Marshall 5:46 am

    Could you please tell me if the 5 CFR part 330.501 restriction applies to Term employees.
    Thank you.
    Guy

  • Posted April 20, 2014 John Rogers 2:45 pm

    When a term employee is hired, are the reasons for term employment required to be presented or be available to the term employee?

  • Posted August 31, 2014 James T. Anderson 8:56 am

    I am a permanent DOD civilian working for the US Army at Fort Huachuca, AZ. I am nearing retirement, my age is 63. I have 10 years service, but only 5 years as a permanent employee.

    I was hired by the US Air Force as a temporary Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) overhire in June of 2004, at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. The position was not to exceed 1 year, but it lasted 5 years. I left the position in May of 2009 when I was hired as a permanent employee of the Department of Homeland Security Customs Border Patrol. I have been a permanent Federal employee ever since.

    Here is my problem: The 5 year temporary position carried no retirement benefits. Since it lasted 5 years, I think I should have been eligible for retirement benefits, and I want to be able to buy back this time, and receive retirement benefits for it.

    -James Anderson

  • Posted March 15, 2015 Rodney Moulden 8:59 pm

    Can a federal agency hire a federal contract employee as a term employee with the same agency that the contractor is employed with. Also, can a term employee apply for a permanent position in the same federal agency and division that they are working as a term employee?

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