Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Senior Executive Service Senior Executive Service FAQs

  • This system aims to balance the results-focused performance element, which remains a critical part of a well-rounded performance appraisal plan, with the other leadership responsibilities of Federal executives.  Agencies now have the flexibility to more fully reflect key priorities for their own executives within the basic SES performance appraisal system description and performance plan template by carefully selecting the applicable weights for each performance element.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Agencies will implement the basic performance appraisal system description as certifications for their current SES performance management systems naturally expire – or sooner, if an agency prefers.  Executives should contact the executive resources office at their agencies for additional information.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes, the basic SES performance appraisal system description and performance plan template require that the performance requirements within the “Results Driven” performance element be strategically aligned.  Agencies have the flexibility to require such alignment within the remaining performance elements.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes, by law (5 U.S.C 4312) agencies with SES members (i.e. subject to 5 U.S.C chapter 43 and 5 CFR 430) must have their SES performance management systems approved by OPM.  Additionally, by law (5 U.S.C. 5307(d)) and regulation (5 CFR 430 subpart D) agencies must have their SES performance management systems certified by OPM, with concurrence by OMB, to set SES member basic pay at a higher rate (i.e. up to the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule) and use a higher aggregate limit (i.e. up to the Vice President’s salary).  Both processes will be streamlined when using the basic system description.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The pay freeze does not restrict these awards. Agencies are authorized to grant incentive awards and performance awards to SL/ST employees under chapter 45 of title 5.  However, OMB Memorandum 13-05 directs that discretionary monetary awards should not be issued from sequestered funds while sequestration is in place, unless issuance of such awards is legally required. Discretionary monetary awards include annual performance awards, group awards, and special act cash awards.  Agencies should contact their legal counsel to determine whether any awards they are considering are legally required.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. An agency might determine that a senior professional's change of position meets the criteria for the exception in section 147(c) of the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Act (which has been extended until December 31, 2013) and the timing supports an increase in pay through an annual pay adjustment under 5 CFR 534.504. The agency must still consider the 12-month restriction in 5 CFR 534.503(c) to determine whether the pay increase may be provided in this way or must be deferred until a later time. In this regard, 5 CFR 534.503(c)(2) provides that the annual adjustment in pay under 5 CFR 534.504 is not considered to be subject to the 12-month restriction if, and only if, the annual adjustment does not exceed the greater of the annual General Schedule adjustment under 5 U.S.C. 5303 or the Executive Schedule adjustment under 5 U.S.C. 5318, effective the same date. Since both the GS and EX statutory adjustments will be 0% between January 2011 and December 31, 2013, any annual adjustment proposed in January of 2011, 2012, or 2013 that is above 0% must be considered a pay adjustment subject to the 12-month restriction. For example, a senior professional last received a pay increase on April 25, 2010. In November 2010, the agency reassigned the individual to a position with substantially greater responsibility. The agency would have increased pay at that time but could not because of the 12-month restriction. Thus, on April 25th, 2011, the agency was able to grant the individual a pay adjustment since the criteria for the exception to the pay freeze in section147(c) of the Act was met and the 12-month period had expired. Note:  An agency should document the amount of a pay increase that is prevented by the 12-month restriction at the time of a change of position, or as soon as possible thereafter, and must document the basis for its finding that the reassignment meets the criteria for the exception in section 147(c) of the Act.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The pay freeze does not apply to performance awards paid under 5 U.S.C. 5384 and 5 CFR 534.405.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • An agency head may grant a basic pay increase to a senior professional upon transfer from another agency only if the increase is based on a position change resulting in a substantial increase in responsibility, consistent with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. The pay increase may be made within 12 months of the senior professional's last pay adjustment but would initiate a new 12-month waiting period, as provided in 5 CFR 534.503(c).
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • While one of the criteria that reflect the application of agency appraisal systems is the agency's pay differentiation, OPM would consider the impact of the freeze when considering agency certification requests. Agencies will need to maintain their SES performance appraisal system certification in order to use the full SES rate range up to Executive Schedule Level II to hire new executives. While certification allows agencies to pay higher rates and use a higher aggregate limit on pay, this is not the sole purpose of certification. The certification process ensures agencies review their appraisal systems and the effectiveness of their executive performance plans. The criteria for certification require agency performance appraisal systems to provide for, and performance plans to execute, the following: alignment of executive performance requirements to agency mission; predominant focus on measurable results-based requirements; balanced measures, including customer and employee perspective; and accountability for effective performance management of subordinates.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Such pay increases are precluded by the pay freeze. Section 147(c) of the Act applies "notwithstanding any other provision of law" to restrict a senior executive from receiving an increase in his or her rate of basic pay during the designated period. The Act also includes the criteria for an exception in that section - i.e., increases based on "a change of position that results in a substantial increase in responsibility, or a promotion." An agency may have its PRBs make recommendations on exceptions consistent with the pay freeze law, but pay adjustments that are based upon the results of a recently completed performance appraisal cycle do not meet the criteria for this exception.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The pay freeze will be in effect during the period beginning on January 1, 2011, and ending on December 31, 2013 (see Compensation Policy Memorandum 2013-05).
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Such pay increases are precluded by the pay freeze. Under section 147(c) of the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Act, basic pay adjustments that would otherwise be granted by an authorized agency official based upon performance during the most recently completed appraisal period are restricted because this basis does not meet the criteria in that section for the exception to the pay freeze.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • An agency may grant a basic pay increase to a senior professional upon voluntary or involuntary reassignment only if the increase is based on a position change resulting in a substantial increase in responsibility, consistent with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. For example, such a pay adjustment would be subject to the 12-month restriction at 5 CFR 534.503(c). Therefore, an agency may not grant such a pay adjustment within 12 months of the senior professional's most recent basic pay increase. An agency may still determine whether a pay increase is justified under section 147(c) of the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Act through such procedures as the agency head may establish. The procedures should include, as appropriate, review by an official at a higher level than the agency official otherwise authorized to take the pay action and must ensure verification and objective comparison of the positions' relative responsibilities. If at the time of the reassignment the agency documents the basis for the exception under the criteria in section 147(c) of the Act, and specifies the pay adjustment that was prevented by the 12-month restriction, then the agency may properly grant the basic pay increase when the 12-month period expires.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Since the rate range is not increasing, an SES member's rate will not fall below the range minimum as a result of a range adjustment.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No, the pay freeze does not apply to these awards.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No. An agency may involuntarily reduce a senior professional's rate of basic pay under 5 CFR part 752, subpart D. The pay freeze only addresses and prevents increases in pay, not pay reductions. However, an agency should take the duration of the pay freeze into account when assessing the appropriate reduction for a senior professional. Under 5 CFR 534.503(c), a senior professional whose pay is reduced but who resolves any problems and demonstrates stronger performance has the opportunity for a pay increase after 12 months, but the pay freeze can impose a significantly longer waiting period. For example, a pay reduction done during the period of the pay freeze is fixed until the end of the pay freeze-absent a change of position that meets the criteria in section 147(c) of the Act for an exception.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Under section 147(c) of the Act, an agency may grant a basic pay increase to an SES member who transfers from another agency only if the change of position results in a substantial increase in responsibility and consistent with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Once granted, the pay adjustment would initiate a 12-month restriction. The agency determines whether a pay increase is justified under section 147(c) under such procedures as the agency head may establish. The procedures should include, as appropriate, review by an official at a higher level than the agency official otherwise authorized to set pay and must ensure verification and objective comparison of the positions' relative responsibilities.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • In January of 2011, 2012, and 2013, these pay adjustments will be precluded by the pay freeze. Under 5 U.S.C. 5376(b)(2) and 5 CFR 534.504, the agency head is required to adjust the rate of pay for SL/ST positions by such amount as the agency head considers appropriate in January of each year at the same time an adjustment is made in the General Schedule. However, section 147(c) of the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Act applies the pay freeze “notwithstanding any other provision of law” and restricts any senior professional employee from receiving an increase in his or her rate of basic pay during the designated period (which has been extended until December 31, 2013). The Act also includes the criteria for an exception in that section - i.e., an increase based on "a change of position that results in a substantial increase in responsibility, or a promotion." An agency may not grant any pay increase during the pay freeze, including an annual pay adjustment otherwise required by 5 U.S.C. 5376(b)(2), unless the increase meets the stated criteria for this exception.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No. An agency may involuntarily reduce a career senior executive's rate of basic pay under 5 CFR 534.404(j) for performance or disciplinary reasons subject to restrictions on reducing the pay of senior executives in 5 CFR 534.404(b) and 534.404(c) or on setting pay below the minimum rate of the SES rate range in 5 CFR 534.403(a). However, an agency should take the duration of the pay freeze into account when assessing the appropriate reduction for a senior executive. Under 5 CFR 534.404(c), a senior executive whose pay is reduced but who resolves any problems and demonstrates stronger performance has the opportunity for a pay increase after 12 months, but the pay freeze can impose a significantly longer waiting period. For example, a pay reduction done during the period of the pay freeze is fixed until the end of the pay freeze-absent a change of position that meets the criteria in section 147(c) of the Act for an exception.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. For purposes of pay and benefits, a senior executive on detail continues to encumber the position from which he or she is detailed. Agencies may not grant a pay increase to an SES member detailed to another position because no change of position has occurred for purposes of pay and benefits. The same is true of an SES member assigned to "act" in a position of substantially greater responsibility rather than reassigned to that position.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.


Total Count: 67, Number of Pages: 4, Page: 3
Control Panel