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Number: DAO 202-302
Effective Date: 1986-12-31


.01 This Order sets forth policies and procedures of the Department on employment in positions excepted from the competitive service. The Order supplements Part 6 of the Civil Service Rules, Parts 213 and 302 of the Civil Service Regulations, and Chapters 213 and 302 of the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM). The Rules and Regulations are found in Title 5 of the code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR).

.02 The Order has been revised to update Department policies, reflect changes in Civil Service Regulations, and clarify various points relating to excepted service employment.


.01 The excepted service includes all positions in the executive branch excluded from the competitive service by statute, executive order, or Office of Personnel Management (OPM) action. OPM exclusions are covered under Civil Service Rule VI and are divided into Schedules A, B, and C.

a. OPM has determined that examinations are not practicable for certain positions. These positions are included in Schedule A. (They may not be of a confidential or policy making nature.) Examples are positions filled by attorneys; experts and consultants; student assistants; certain physically handicapped and mentally retarded persons; Presidential Management Interns; managers, clerks, interviewers, and enumerators in the Census Bureau's field service; industrial and marketing specialists, and international trade advisors in the International Trade Administration; and wage marine employees on vessels of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

b. OPM has determined that holding competitive examinations is not practicable for certain other positions. These positions constitute Schedule B. (They may not be of a confidential or policy making nature). Examples are positions filled by cooperative education students; Junior Fellows; Professional and Administrative Career appointees at GS-5 and 7; Community Service Specialists in the Census Bureau; and Telecommunications Policy Analysts in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

c. Schedule C positions are of a confidential or policy determining character and involve a close working relationship with the heads or deputy heads of operating units and similar key appointed officials. Included are confidential and special assistants and secretaries. OPM grants Schedule C exceptions on an individual position basis.

.02 Policies and procedures for the Foreign Service and the Senior Executive Service (both excepted from the competitive service by statute) are set forth in other directives. The Foreign Service is covered in DAO 202-900, "Foreign Service Personnel Management," and in the Foreign Affairs Manual issued by the Department of State. The Senior Executive Service is covered in Executive Resources Board Bulletins. All directives mentioned in this paragraph take precedence over this Order.


.01 Equal Employment Opportunity.

The Department's policy is to provide equal opportunity in employment for all persons, without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, or handicapping condition. This policy applies to the excepted service as it does to the competitive service.

.02 Appointing Authorities.

a. Requests to establish, modify, extend, or abolish Schedule A, B, or C appointing authorities must be made to OPM through the Department's Director for Personnel and Civil Rights (the "Director"). Details on OPM requirements are found in FPM Chapter 213, Appendix B.

b. Civil Service Rule VI requires OPM to publish an annual notice of all Schedule A, B, and C appointing authorities. The list is prepared as of June 30 and published in the Federal Register.

.03 Appointments.

a. Appointing officers may make excepted service appointments without prior approval except as noted below.

1. Use of various individual appointing authorities requires prior approval of OPM. The Federal Register listing identifies these authorities. Departmental approvals are not necessary unless required by this Order.

2. Employment of attorneys requires the approval of the General Counsel. DAO 202-300, "Employment (General)," Section 7., discusses that requirement and provides general information and Department policies on the employment of individuals to perform professional legal duties. Also see FPM Chapter 213, Appendix A.

3. Employment of experts and consultants requires prior approval of the Director. When additional Departmental clearances are necessary, the Director requests them.

4. Use of Schedule A, Section 213.3199 requires prior approval of the Director. Appointments under this authority are to positions at GS-15 and below on temporary boards and commissions and in temporary organizations.

5. Appointments under Schedule B, Section 213-3202(1), to Professional and Administrative Career positions at GS-5 and 7 (PAC B positions) may be made only under delegation agreements with OPM. Only the Director may enter into a PAC B agreement with OPM. After an agreement for a particular occupational series is in place, appointments can be made directly by appointing officers.

6. All Schedule C appointments must have prior approval of both the Director and OPM.

7. From time to time the Director or OPM may modify or set additional prior approval requirements.

b. OPM may authorize the filling of excepted positions under competitive procedures in particular situations and in the interest of good administration. Requests for such actions must be submitted through the Director. (See FPM Chapter 302, Subchapter 1-1.)

.04 Position Changes.

An excepted service employee may be promoted, demoted, or reassigned to another excepted position in the Department, subject to any applicable regulations or requirements of law. For each change, the conditions of the new appointing authority must be met.

.05 Movement Between Competitive and Excepted Service.

a. An employee serving under a nontemporary appointment in the competitive service may not be moved to the excepted service unless the following conditions are met:

1. the employee has been informed in writing how his/her rights, tenure, and benefits are affected by the change; and

2. the employee submits a written statement indicating an understanding of the foregoing and that he/she is leaving the competitive service voluntarily. The notice to the employee and his/her response may be on the same document.

b. Details.

1. Employees serving under Schedule A or B may be detailed to competitive service positions, subject to OPM's general restrictions on details. The detail requires prior approval of the Director.

2. Employees serving under Schedule C or statutory appointing authorities may be similarly detailed with prior approval of the Director and of OPM.

c. Under certain special authorities, excepted service employees may receive noncompetitive appointments to the competitive service. FPM Chapter 315, Subchapter 6, discusses these authorities.

.06 Employment of Sons and Daughters for Summer or Student Positions.

DAO 202-310, "Employment of Relatives," Section 6., provides guidance on the employment of sons and daughters of agency employees in summer and student positions in the excepted service.

.07 Time-in-grade.

a. The Department's general policy is that time-in-grade restrictions of the competitive service apply to the excepted service.

b. Qualification standards for Wage Marine positions may provide for separate time-in-grade requirements.

c. DAO 202-300, paragraphs, 4.03, 4.04, and 7.03, provide information on other exceptions to the general policy.


.01 Legal Requirements.

Unless specifically exempted by statute, Executive Order, or OPM regulation, excepted service employees must meet the security, suitability, conduct, and citizenship requirements prescribed for government employment in general. The employees are also subject to the statutes on dual compensation.

.02 Citizenship.

a. The Department's general policy on employment of aliens is set forth in DAO 202-300, Section 6. That policy applies to both the competitive and the excepted service.

b. The employment of aliens in the excepted service is also subject to appropriations act restrictions. Neither the Department nor OPM has authority to grant exceptions.

c. Independent of appropriations act restrictions, statutes applicable to particular operating units or programs may contain special provisions permitting the employment of aliens. (See FPM Chapter 300, Subchapter 11; and DAO 202-300, Section 6.)

.03 Qualification Standards.

a. OPM sets qualification standards for Schedule B positions and certain other categories of jobs. Standards for Schedule B positions are the same as those for the identical series and grades in the competitive service. Appointing officers, however, may set additional standards, as necessary.

b. Other than standards required or set by OPM, appointing officers establish qualification standards for their excepted service positions. The standards must be based on bona fide occupational qualifications. Each standard must be recorded and available for review by any interested party.

1. To the extent practicable, the standards should be the same as those for similar positions at the same level in the competitive service.

2. The principal personnel officer for an operating unit is responsible for ensuring that each standard established in the operating unit conforms to the requirements of 5 CFR Part 302. Any questions regarding consistency among the standards should be referred to the Departmental Office of Personnel.

3. Minimum educational requirements are permissible only when an appointing officer determines that the duties of a scientific, technical, or professional position cannot be performed by a person without that education.

4. Appointing officers may not set maximum age limits. If age is a bona fide occupational qualification for a particular position, OPM approval must be obtained through the Director. Limitations exist on the authority to impose physical, height and weight, or minimum age requirements. FPM Chapter 302, Subchapter 2-8, provides guidance.

c. Qualification standards should specify the reasons for which applicants may be found unsuitable for appointment. 5 CFR 302.203 provides a partial list of acceptable reasons.

d. Qualification standards must include provisions for the waivers specified in 5 CFR 302.202.


.01 Appointing officers must establish written rules for the acceptance of applications. The rules, which are to be available for review by any interested party, must be applied uniformly to all qualified applicants.

.02 The provisions of 5 CFR Part 302 regarding examination, rating, and selection are applicable when an individual entitled to priority consideration or veteran preference applies. Priority consideration refers to an individual furloughed or separated because of injury. (See 5 CFR 302.103.)

.03 Various classes of positions are exempt from the appointment procedures prescribed for the excepted service. A list of exempt positions is found in 5 CFR 302.101. OPM, however, does require agencies to follow the principle of veteran preference as far as administratively feasible in filling those positions.

.04 Applications for positions subject to the appointment procedures of Part 302 will be accepted, rated, and arranged according to the applicant supply system described in 5 CFR 302.301 through 302.304.


.01 Department policy requires satisfactory completion of a one-year trial period by employees serving without time limitation under Schedule A or B. The trial period has the same purpose as a probationary period in the competitive service; i.e., management has a period to evaluate a new employee's performance and conduct and determine whether his/her continued employment is in the best interest of the Department. (See DAO 202-315, "Probationary and Trial Periods,"Section 2.)

.02 The first level supervisor will complete form CD-35, "Probationary or Trial Period Report," during the employee's ninth or tenth month on the job and submit it to the servicing personnel office. If the employee is retained, the form is filed in his/her Official Personnel Folder.

.03 Section 303 of the Civil Service Reform Act (PL 95-454) requires that newly appointed managers and supervisors complete a probationary period before their appointments become final. This special probationary period applies only to the competitive service. Newly appointed managers and supervisors in the excepted service are subject only to the trial period mentioned in paragraph .01 of this Section.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 202-302, dated May 12, 1970.

Signed by: Director for Personnel and Civil Rights

Approved by:Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

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