The RPL is a statutory placement program administered under the provisions of 5 CFR Part 330, Subpart B. Under this program, agencies must give reemployment consideration to its competitive service employees separated by reduction in force (RIF) or those who are fully recovered from a compensable injury after more than one year. Each agency must maintain an RPL for each commuting area. The Department of Defense (DOD) is considered an “agency” for purposes of this program, and uses automated procedures to provide registration and mandatory referral of RPL eligibles for appropriate vacancies to all DoD activities within their commuting areas. RPL eligibles receive priority consideration for reemployment across DOD components. This is the sole method for providing reemployment consideration to eligible RPL applicants.
Who is eligible for the RPL?
There are two categories of employees eligible for the RPL: employees separated by RIF and employees who are fully recovered from a compensable injury after more than one year.
(1) Employees affected by RIF
To be eligible for the RPL, the employee must be affected in RIF as a competitive service employee in tenure group I or II and must have received a rating above unacceptable as the last annual performance rating of record. The employee is ineligible if he or she declined an offer under RIF with the same type of work schedule and pay as the position from which the employee has been, or will be, separated.
(2) Employees recovered from compensable injuries
A competitive service employee in tenure group I or II who was separated (or accepted a lower graded position in lieu of separation) due to a compensable injury or disability is entitled to be placed on the RPL if he or she has fully recovered more than one year after compensation began.
What kind of hiring preference do RPL registrants receive?
The RPL offers hiring preference to eligible DOD individuals for competitive service vacancies at DOD activities within the local commuting area of the position from which separated. This selection priority extends to temporary and term vacancies as well as permanent positions if the RPL registrant indicated availability for such jobs. When a qualified RPL registrant is available, the agency may not fill the competitive service position by a new appointment unless the individual appointed is a 10-point veteran, by transfer (outside of DoD), or by reemployment unless the individual is a preference eligible or is exercising restoration or reemployment rights. The agency may fill positions from its pool of current employees (e.g. by reassignment, promotion) without regard to the RPL. Activities must clear the RPL for the position at the grade level it is being filled (regardless of the full performance level). If the agency advertises a position at multiple grade levels, it clears the RPL at the grade level the position is ultimately filled.
How are eligible employees entered on the RPL?
To be entered on the RPL, eligible employees must complete an application and submit it to their servicing personnel office. The application must specify the grade, occupation, and work schedule acceptable to the individual.
When can eligible employees submit applications for the RPL?
An employee affected by RIF may apply to be placed on the RPL as soon a specific notice of RIF separation is issued or a Certification of Expected Separation is issued. The employee must submit the application within 30 calendar days after the RIF separation date or lose entitlement to be placed on the RPL. (Only employees who are actually separated by RIF are eligible for the RPL, although registration may occur as soon as the specific RIF notice or certification is issued.)
An employee recovering from a compensable injury must apply within 30 calendar days after the date compensation ceases. When an appeal for continuation of compensation is filed, the 30-day period begins the day after resolution is reached. Activities must enroll individuals on the RPL no later than 10 calendar days after receipt of an application or request.
Are there limitations on the positions for which RPL eligibles are permitted to register?
RPL registrants who have been, or will be, separated by RIF are entitled to consideration for positions in the commuting area for which qualified and available that (a) are at no higher grade (or equivalent), (2) have no greater promotion potential than the position from which the employee was or will be separated, and (3) have the same type of work schedule. Employees also are entitled to consideration for any higher grade previously held on a nontemporary basis in the competitive service from which demoted under reduction in force.
An RPL registrant who is eligible due to recovery from a compensable injury is placed on the RPL for reemployment consideration for his/her former positions or an equivalent one. If the individual cannot be placed in such a position in the former commuting area, he or she is entitled to priority consideration for an equivalent position elsewhere within the agency in accordance with the agency’s determination of placement opportunities.
What qualification requirements must RPL registrants meet?
RPL registrants must meet OPM-established qualification standards and requirements for the position, including any minimum educational requirements and any established selective placement factors. In addition, they must be physically qualified, with reasonable accommodation where appropriate, to perform the duties of the position.
When does an employee’s RPL eligibility terminate?
Tenure group I employees are eligible for the RPL for 2 years from the date entered on the RPL; tenure group II employees are eligible for one year.
A present or former employee is removed from the RPL for all positions when the employee declines an offer of a permanent position at the same grade and with the same work schedule as the position the employee held at the time of separation. An employee who declines an offer of position from the RPL at a lower-graded position loses eligibility for other positions at that grade or lower grades. Specific information regarding the conditions under which RPL eligibility is lost are found in 5 CFR, §330.203 and §330.204.
What is the relationship between the RPL and the DOD Priority Placement Program (PPP)?
The RPL is a statutory program administered under regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management; the PPP is an administrative program unique to the DOD. The RPL places restrictions on the filling of competitive service vacancies, but it does not preclude filling vacancies by promotion, reassignment, and other actions when the jobs are filled by current, permanent DOD employees. PPP referrals take precedence when the PPP registrants are still employed by DOD. If such registrants are available and well qualified, they have priority over RPL candidates who are not registered in the PPP and RPL candidates who are registered in the PPP with a lower priority.
Notifying employees of the RPL
Activities must give eligible employees information about the RPL at the time the employees receive their specific RIF notices. The notice must also advise each employee of the right to file an RPL appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.