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CPM 2011-09
Office of the Director
United States
Office of Personnel Management
Washington, DC 20415-1000


John Berry

General Schedule Within-Grade Increases

As a reminder, law and regulations state that a GS employee’s performance must be at an acceptable level of competence, as determined by the head of an agency (or designee), before the agency may grant a within-grade increase to that employee (5 U.S.C. 5335 and 5 CFR part 531, subpart D).  An acceptable level of competence is signified by achieving a rating of record of Fully Successful (or equivalent) or higher (5 CFR 531.404(a) and 531.409).   Employees with ratings of record below the Fully Successful level (or equivalent) are not eligible for within-grade increases and must not receive such increases.

Leadership is responsible for properly implementing this statutory and regulatory requirement and ensuring that within-grade increases are not granted to employees with ratings of record below the Fully Successful level.  The payment of within-grade increases should never be viewed as automatic or routine. Additional information on within-grade increase eligibility and payment requirements can be found at

I know you take this responsibility seriously.  I urge you to work with your human resources staff to review the performance management and pay policies and practices in your agency to ensure within-grade increases are paid in accordance with the law and regulations and to take any appropriate corrective actions and make any improvements that may be needed.

           Chief Human Capital Officers
           Human Resources Directors Our Mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a
World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People
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