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Human resources policies and procedures

MyPers, is the Air Force’s official online source for civilian personnel policy, information, and day-to-day transactions, empowering civilian employees to manage their careers. It is recommended that you take some time to familiarize yourself by visiting the MyPers website. This section provides an overview of important civilian personnel/human resources information you will need for a successful transition into the Air Force. It is a useful guide filled with information and references that will get you started on a fulfilling, lifetime career. It addresses topics such as appointments, job related injuries or illnesses, pay, retirement planning, and labor relations.


If you have trouble opening links in this section, see a list of urls in the Helpful Links section of this guide on page 95.

Notification of personnel action

Throughout your federal career, you will receive Notices of Personnel Action (NPAs), also referred to as “SF50s”. The NPA documents your career’s history. It begins with your appointment, and records promotions, salary, duty locations, and much more. Once you’ve received your CAC, you may view these in MyBiz+ via DCPDS.

Work schedules

There are a number of different work schedules. A work schedule is the time basis on which an employee is paid. Employees on different work schedules have varying benefits and entitlements, for example, leave accrual, health and life insurance coverage, paid holidays, etc. Core hours of work are from 0900-1500. Supervisors have the responsibility for establishing work schedules consistent with mission and workload requirements. Most work schedules are either full-time (40 hours per week), part-time (16 to 32 hours per week), or intermittent (irregular with no prearranged tour of duty). Changes to individual workdays and shifts may be made by the supervisor to meet mission workload and other operational requirements. If your position is in a bargaining unit, be sure to check your local Collective Bargaining Agreement for details specific to your bargaining unit. You may also contact your Civilian Personnel Office, and they will provide you information or direct you to your union steward. Below are different work schedule options that may be applicable to you. While there are varying work schedule options listed below, not all of them may be available to your particular position.

  • Full-Time - Usually requires an employee to work 40 hours in an administrative workweek.
  • Part-Time - Requires an employee to work less than full-time, but for a specific number of hours (usually 16-32 hours per administrative workweek) on a prearranged scheduled tour of duty.
  • Intermittent - A work schedule that requires an employee to work on an irregular basis for which there is no prearranged scheduled tour of duty.
  • Job Sharing - When two employees voluntarily share the duties and responsibilities of a full-time position. Job sharers are part-time employees and are subject to the same personnel policies on that basis. It is a way for management to offer part-time work schedules in positions where full-time coverage is needed.
  • On-Call - An employee who works when needed during periods of heavy workload with expected cumulative service of at least 6 months in pay status each year.
  • Alternate Work Schedule - Work schedules made up of flexible or compressed schedules. Flexible schedules can be made between 0600-1800 hours. An alternate work schedule can offer employees work schedules that help balance work and family or personal responsibilities.
  • Seasonal - An employee who works on an annually recurring basis for periods of less than 12 months (2087 hours) each year (e.g., snow removal and grounds maintenance crews).

For more information on work schedules, please refer to, keyword search “work schedules”.

Lunch periods

A lunch or other meal period is an approved period in a non-pay and non-work status that interrupts a basic workday for permitting employees to eat or engage in permitted personal activities; generally, it is 1⁄2 to 1 hour in duration, depending on the organization. Working through your lunch period to shorten your workday is generally not permitted. Lunch periods should be coordinated and agreed upon with your supervisor.


To the extent that mission requirements are not jeopardized, employees who exhibit suitable work performance and conduct and occupy eligible positions (i.e., those positions that involve portable work and are not dependent on the employee’s presence at the traditional worksite) are permitted to telework to the maximum extent possible. Telework is not an entitlement, and not all employees are eligible to telework (TW). The telework program provides individuals an opportunity to have some personal control over their work location. Your supervisor will let you know if your position is eligible for TW or not. If the position is eligible for TW, you must follow your organization’s procedures for requesting TW. If your organization does not have a TW policy, then contact your local Civilian Personnel Office representative for assistance. Prior to entering into a telework agreement, both the supervisor and employee must complete the OPM sponsored Telework Training for Employees and Managers. This training is available at Supervisors may approve or deny requests for telework based on mission requirements, employee performance, and the needs of the work section. Telework requests are approved or denied using DD Form 2946, DoD Telework Agreement.

Adjustment of work schedules for religious observance

If modifications in work schedules do not interfere with the efficient accomplishment of an organization’s mission, you may work alternative work hours to fulfill religious obligations that require you to abstain from work at certain times of the workday or workweek. The hours worked in lieu of the normal work schedule do not create any entitlement to premium pay (including overtime pay). Your organization may require you to submit a written request for an adjusted work schedule in advance. When requesting to adjust your work schedule for religious observance, you should specifically state the request is for an adjusted work schedule for religious purposes and provide acceptable documentation of the need to abstain from work (e.g., attendance at religious services).


For additional information, see the OPM information on adjusted work schedules.


It is important that you communicate late arrival or other leave concerns with your supervisor. Repeated failure to follow leave procedures may lead to counseling and possible disciplinary action. You may be charged with failure to follow leave procedures and/or Absent Without Leave (AWOL) for serious or repeated infractions. Adjusting work schedules, if feasible, can often eliminate excessive tardiness.

Failure to report to work

Failure to report to work as scheduled may terminate a temporary employee’s appointment immediately upon written notification. If your appointment is not time limited and you fail to report to work, your timecard may reflect an absent without leave status or AWOL. Failure to report for work (AWOL) and/or failure to follow proper leave procedures may result in formal disciplinary action up to and including removal.


You are entitled to 10 holidays each year in addition to annual and sick leave.

New Year's Day1st January*
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.3rd Monday in January
President’s Day3rd Monday in February
Memorial DayLast Monday in May
Independence Day4th July*
Labor Day1st Monday in September
Veterans Day11th November*
Thanksgiving Day4th Thursday in November
Christmas Day25 December*

Most employees are entitled to 10 holidays each year in addition to annual and sick leave dependent upon your work schedule. Part-time employees could be have different holiday entitlements. When a holiday falls on a non-workday (that is a Saturday or Sunday), full time employees are entitled to an “in-lieu of” holiday. For example, when the holiday falls on a Saturday, full time employees’ “in-lieu of” holiday is the previous Friday. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, full time employees’ “in-lieu of” holiday is the following Monday. Part-time employees are not entitled to an “in-lieu of” holiday.


Employees are paid bi-weekly (i.e., every other week) through automatic direct deposit. Typically employees who begin on the first Monday of the pay period can expect to receive their first pay check by the third Friday, which will cover their first 2 weeks of work. Pay periods are 2 weeks long, beginning on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday. Each calendar year typically contains 26 pay periods.

Leave and Earning Statement (LES)

At the end of each pay period, you will be provided with an electronic LES, which will detail your salary, tax and benefit deductions, and leave. This is available through the Defense Finance and Accounting website after your first paycheck has been issued. You will need your CAC in order to validate your identity and create an account. You should always check your LES carefully to ensure the information is correct.


As a general rule, overtime work means each hour of work in excess of eight hours in a day or in excess of 40 hours in an administrative work week that is officially ordered and approved by management and is performed by an employee. It is work that is not part of an employee’s regularly scheduled administrative work week and for which an employee may be compensated.

Compensatory Time

Comp time may be authorized in-lieu of payment for overtime. When requested and authorized, non-exempt employees may work and take comp time (1 hour off for each hour worked) in-lieu of receiving overtime pay. Exempt employees paid at a rate higher than GS-10/ Step 10 may receive overtime pay, or may be required to take comp time. Comp time earned should be scheduled and used as soon as possible. Comp time not used within 26 pay periods of the date earned automatically converts to overtime and is paid at the rate it was earned. One hour of comp time off is granted for each hour of overtime worked.


According to the Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004, if you must travel for business outside normal working hours, you will receive comp time off for the travel time, if the travel time is not otherwise compensable.

Night Differential / Night Pay

Night shift differential means the differential paid for work performed when the majority of a prevailing rate employee’s regularly scheduled non-overtime hours fall between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m. It is computed as a percentage of the employee’s rate of basic pay. This would be most typical for a Federal Wage System (FWS) employee. A prevailing rate employee is entitled to a night shift differential when the majority of hours worked during a regularly scheduled non- overtime shift occur in either of these two shifts:

Shift HoursNight Shift Differential
3 p.m. to midnight11 p.m. to 8 a.m.
71⁄2 percent differential10 percent differential

If you are a General Schedule (GS) employee, you are not paid premium pay for night work solely because you elect to work credit hours, or elect a time of arrival or departure, at a time when night pay is authorized. However, agencies must pay night pay to GS employees for those hours that must be worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. to complete an 8-hour tour of duty. Agencies must also pay night pay for all designated core hours worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and for any regularly scheduled overtime work between those hours.

Holiday Pay

Holiday premium pay (equal to 100% of the rate of basic pay) is limited to non-overtime hours worked, not to exceed a maximum of 8 non-overtime hours per holiday.

Sunday Pay

Sunday premium pay is paid for non-overtime work performed by full-time employees only. A full-time Federal Wage System (FWS) employee earns Sunday premium pay for an entire non-overtime regularly scheduled tour of duty (not to exceed 8 hours) that begins or ends on Sunday. It may not be paid for periods of non-work, including leave, holidays, and excused absence.

Salary Increases

For General Schedule and Federal Wage System (FWS) civilians, rate of pay is determined by your pay grade and step. The GS salary system is divided into 15 grades, each of which has 10 steps. The Federal Wage System—sometimes called the Wage-Grade (WG) or prevailing rate system, has 5 steps in each grade. When first appointed in the Federal Service, your pay is normally set at the first step of the grade. You will be advanced to the next higher step when you meet requirements for length of service and satisfactory performance as follows.

A GS employee must wait:

  • 52 weeks for each increase from step 1 through step 4
  • 104 weeks for each increase from step 4 through step 7
  • 156 weeks for each increase from step 7 through step 10

An FWS employee must wait:

  • 26 weeks for advancement from step 1 to step 2
  • 78 weeks for advancement from step 2 to step 3
  • 104 weeks for advancement to steps 4 and 5

For those in pay for performance systems, such as Laboratory and Acquisition Workforce Demonstration Projects, you will receive salary increases through pay for performance once per year. These systems are designed to make employee compensation consistent with their level of contributions to the mission of the organization.

Leave entitlements

If you are on permanent appointments and time limited appointments over 90 days, you are entitled to annual and sick leave benefits. Annual leave should normally be requested in advance and approved by your supervisor before using. Leave is charged only for absences on days when you would otherwise work and can only be denied for mission reasons.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is paid leave used for personal reasons, such as vacations and taking care of personal business; it may be used in-lieu of sick leave. The accrual rate will depend on your type of appointment and years of federal service, both civilian and creditable military service. New full-time employees earn 13 days (4 hours per pay period) per leave year; those with 3 years, but less than 15 years, earn 20 days (6 hours per pay period, plus 4 additional hours on the last pay period); and those with 15 years or more of federal service earn 26 days a year (8 hours per pay period). New part-time employees with less than 3 years earn 1 hour for each 20 hours in a pay status per leave year. Those with 3 years, but less than 15 years, earn 1 hour for each 13 hours in a pay status and those with 15 years or more federal service earn 1 hour of annual leave for each 10 hours in a pay status. You may accumulate and carry forward a balance of 30 days (240 hours) of annual leave per leave year, unless you are stationed overseas, then you may accumulate 45 days (360 hours). After returning from overseas, you may retain the extra 15 days until the balance is reduced by leave usage. Except for emergencies, your immediate supervisor or a designee must authorize annual leave in advance before it is taken. Should you need annual leave because of an emergency, make every attempt to notify your supervisor prior to the beginning of the work shift or as soon as possible thereafter.

Part-time employees earn annual leave on a prorated basis depending on their officially documented number of hours worked per pay period. An employee with less than 3 years of service earns 1 hour of annual leave for each 20 hours worked; with 3 but less than 15 years of service, the employee earns 1 hour for each 13 hours worked; and with 15 or more years of service earns 1 hour for each 10 hours worked.

Annual leave service credit – This is a flexibility at an agency’s discretion to grant time towards annual leave service credit based upon non-federal or active duty uniformed service positions having duties which directly relate to the duties of the position which the employee is being appointed. This determination must be approved before the employee enters on duty the determination cannot be made retroactively. Once an employee completes 1 full year of continuous service with the appointing agency, the period of service for which the employee was granted annual leave service credit for non-federal or active duty uniformed service work experience is permanently creditable for the purpose of determining the employee’s annual leave accrual rate for the duration of the employee’s career.

Sick Leave

If you are a full-time employee, you will earn 13 days of sick leave a year or 4 hours per pay period. If you are a part-time employee, you will earn 1 hour for every 20 hours you are in a pay status. You may use sick leave in 1⁄4-hour increments and with no restriction on the number of hours of sick leave you may accumulate. If you separate from federal service prior to retirement, you will not receive a lump sum payment for unused sick leave. If you later return to work in the federal service, you may request a re-credit of unused sick leave to your leave account. Retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are entitled to time credit in the calculation of retirement annuity for all unused sick leave to their credit at the time of retirement. Employees are entitled to use sick leave for the following reasons (based on supervisory approval):

  • Medical, dental, or optical examinations for you or family member(s)
  • Physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth that prevents you from working.
  • Providing care for family member(s) due to physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth
  • Making funeral arrangements for or attending a family member’s funeral as defined in 5 CFR 630.201
  • Your presence at work exposes others to a communicable disease
  • Child adoption

For more information on adoption benefits, see Adoption Benefits Guide for Federal Employees. It may not always be possible for you to obtain sick leave in advance unless you also know in advance about medical, dental, or optical examinations; treatment operations; periods of convalescence; lengthy illness; or something similar. However, once you learn of your need for sick leave, you must contact your immediate supervisor or designee, as early in the day as possible, after the beginning of the official workday to obtain authorization to use sick leave. Check with your supervisor for appropriate leave request procedures.

Advanced Sick Leave (ASL)

You may request ASL if you have a serious illness or disability, if you are taking care of a family member due to an ailment, or if you are adopting a child. You may request up to a maximum of 240 hours at any given time. The request must be in writing stating the purpose of the leave. Submit the appropriate medical documentation (diagnosis, prognosis, and length of incapacitation) and memo to your supervisor for approval/disapproval. If you are a part-time employee, or an employee on an uncommon tour of duty, you are also eligible to request advanced sick leave; however, the advance will be prorated according to the number of hours regularly scheduled in your workweek. If you leave federal service prior to paying the ASL back, you will incur a federal debt unless you file for a disability retirement and the OPM approves it.

Leave for Family Purposes

You are entitled to no more than a combined total of 12 weeks (480 hours) of sick leave each year for all family care purposes. This includes 13 days (104 hours) of sick leave for general family care or bereavement purposes.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA entitles most employees to 12 administrative workweeks of Leave Without Pay in any 12-month period, for the following purposes:

  • The birth of a child and care of the newborn;
  • The placement of a child with you for adoption or foster care;
  • The care of your spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • Your own serious health condition if you are unable to perform the duties of your position; or
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on a covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.

To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have completed at least one year of Civilian Service with the government. You must fill out Form WH-380E, Form WH-380F, or Form WH-384 and provide medical certification to your supervisor for approval prior to taking FMLA leave.

Exclusions: The FMLA does exclude some employees. For example, if you are serving under intermittent appointment or temporary appointment with a time limitation of one year or less; or have less than 12 months of federal service, you are not covered under the FMLA. If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for FMLA, please contact your local Civilian Personnel Office for more information.

Effective 01 October 2020, Paid Parental Leave (PPL) was enacted to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child for employees covered by Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions applicable to federal civilian employees. PPL is authorized for up to 12 weeks for one qualifying event and must be used within the 12 months following the qualifying event date. PPL may never be carried over beyond 12 months.

Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)

If you are affected by a medical emergency and facing at least 24 hours without available paid leave (i.e., insufficient sick or annual leave to cover the time), you may apply to participate in the VLTP and become a voluntary leave recipient by submitting a written request through your supervisory channels. You must submit an OPM Form 630, obtain supervisor approval, and provide medical certification for the illness. Contact your local Civilian Personnel VLTP representative for assistance and additional information. This program allows any DoD Federal employees to donate their annual leave to you.

Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

LWOP is an approved absence without pay and may be granted at the discretion of the supervisory chain. LWOP may be used for purposes such as covering absences due to insufficient leave balances, attending to parental or other family responsibilities, education which would be of benefit to the organization, recovery from illness or disability, or protection of employee status and benefits pending action on claims for disability retirement or injury compensation. Employees on leave restriction or with a poor attendance record may face additional requirements when requested LWOP to include disapproval. Generally, the effects of LWOP vary depending on the length of absence. Extended periods of LWOP will affect your service computation date, waiting period for wage grade increases, accumulation of annual and sick leave, and benefit contributions such as insurance premiums going into arrears. If you are approved for LWOP for 30 or more consecutive days, please contact the Benefits and Entitlements Service Team (BEST) at 1-800-525-0102 for details of how this will affect your benefits.

Absence Without Leave

AWOL is any absence from the workplace (for example, not showing up for work as scheduled) that has not been authorized or approved by your supervisor. This means you receive no pay and may face disciplinary action.

Leave During Inclement Weather

Unscheduled leave under liberal leave policies may be available to you during adverse weather.

However, you must still call in to request that approval for annual leave be granted. Annual leave is charged for the entire workday, or for the appropriate number of hours requested. Early release during inclement weather is considered excused absence only if you are present for duty at the time of the release. Status of installation operations are usually announced on local radio/television stations. You will be notified in advance if you have been designated as “emergency essential,” if so, you should report for duty unless otherwise instructed by your supervisor. Most installations communicate inclement weather conditions via phone calls, e-mail, text messaging, and pop-up messages. Talk to your supervisor to see if your installation has this available. In instances where early release would be authorized due to inclement weather, installations have established procedures to ensure orderly release. For additional information on leave during inclement weather, please contact your local Civilian Personnel Office.

For employees in telework status during inclement weather conditions, it will be business as usual, and they will be expected to work from their alternate duty location.

Pay On A Holiday

Employees must be in a pay status or a paid time off status (i.e., leave, compensatory time off, compensatory time off for travel, or credit hours) on their scheduled workdays either before or after a holiday in order to be entitled to their regular pay for that day. Employees who are in a non-pay status for the workdays immediately before and after a holiday may not receive compensation for that holiday.

Full-time employees who are not required to work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay for the applicable number of holiday hours.

Employees under compressed work schedules on a holiday are generally excused from all of the non-overtime hours they would otherwise work on that day and which apply to their “basic work requirement.” For example, if a holiday falls on a 9- or 10-hour basic workday, the employee’s holiday is 9 or 10 hours, respectively. In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a “half-day” holiday, a full-time employee on a compressed work schedule is entitled to basic pay for half the number of hours he or she would otherwise work on that day.

A part-time employee is entitled to a holiday when the holiday falls on a day when they would otherwise be required to work or take leave. This does not include overtime work. Part-time employees who are excused from work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay for the hours they are regularly scheduled to work on that day.

Court Leave

The following table describes situations where you may be entitled to paid time off without charge to your leave balances, for your service as a juror or witness in legal proceedings.


Jury DutyAn employee who is summoned to serve as a juror in a judicial proceeding is entitled to court leave.
WitnessesAn employee who is summoned as a witness in a judicial proceeding in which the federal, state, or local government is a party is entitled to court leave.
Official DutyAn employee who is summoned as a witness in an official capacity on behalf of the Federal Government is on official duty, not court leave.
Fees/ExpensesEmployees must reimburse to their agency fees paid for service as a juror or witness. However, monies paid to jurors or witnesses which are in the nature of "expenses" (e.g., transportation) do not have to be reimbursed to the agency.

Disabled Veteran Leave

Under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-75, November 5, 2015), an employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs is entitled to up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment for such disability. An eligible employee will receive the appropriate amount of disabled veteran leave as of the employee’s “first day of employment,” as defined below. Disabled veteran leave is a one-time benefit provided to an eligible employee. The employee will have a single, continuous 12-month eligibility period, beginning on the “first day of employment” in which to use the leave or it will be forfeited with no opportunity to carry over the leave into subsequent years. An employee may not receive a lump-sum payment for any unused or forfeited leave under any circumstance.


Retired From Uniformed Service

Credit for uniformed service is substantially limited for retired members. In enacting the Dual Compensation Act in 1964, Congress adopted a compromise between the view that retired members should receive preference and full credit for their service and the view that there should be no advantage for retired members.

Not Retired From Uniformed Service

For non-retired members, full credit for uniformed service (including active duty and active duty for training) performed under honorable conditions is given for leave accrual purposes, and for retirement purposes so long as a deposit, as required by law, is made to the retirement fund. Uniformed service means the Armed Forces, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Veterans in a position covered by FERS on or after 1 January 1984, must make a deposit to the retirement fund of 3% of basic military pay to obtain retirement credit.

Military Retirees Receive Leave Accrual Credit for the Following Reasons

  • Actual service during a war declared by Congress (includes WWII covering the period 7 December 1941 to 28 April 1952) or while participating in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized.
  • All active duty when retirement was based on a disability received as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in 38 USC. 101(11). “Period of war” includes WWII, the Korean conflict, Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War, or the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by Congress and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of Congress.

For Retirement: An employee must waive military retired pay to receive any credit for military service unless the retired pay is awarded based on a service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war.


Often, presenting a lender with an official LES is sufficient to verify your employment and salary information. If so, you can access your LES from myPay.

If a more formal employment verification is required, such as when you apply for an apartment lease, car loans, mortgage, or other major loans, you can utilize the self-service employment verification tool available at MyBiz (CAC-enabled). It will allow any organization (your bank, loan or credit institution, a background checking company, or even a prospective employer) that you authorize to verify your employment status.


Within the Federal Government, Appropriated Funds refer to monies allocated by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president. Appropriated Funds are usually specified in Congress’s yearly budget or continuing resolution. However, funds can be allocated in any bill passed by Congress. This money comes primarily from federal income tax and other federal taxes. Appropriated Funds may only be used for the purpose they have been appropriated for. Most Air Force Civilian positions are funded by appropriated funds. Non-appropriated funds (NAF) employment is considered federal employment. However, it is different from Federal Civil Service employment because the monies used to pay the salaries of NAF employees come from a different source, such as Morale, Welfare, and Recreation funds.


Permanent Appointments in the Competitive Service

Most permanent appointments to the FWS or GS system begin as career-conditional. Career-conditional employees attain career tenure after completing three years of substantially continuous creditable service. The first two years of a career-conditional appointment is a probationary period used to determine the new employee’s suitability as a federal government employee.

Permanent Appointments in the Excepted Service

Some federal employees begin their federal careers in the excepted service. Appointments in the excepted service are acquired either by virtue of the position held or by virtue of the legal authority used for appointment. For example, if you were hired using the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) or Schedule A authorities for employment of individuals with physical or mental disabilities, you are appointed to the excepted service for two years. After serving in the excepted service for the required two years, and with your supervisor’s recommendation, you will be converted to the competitive service. An additional year of service is then required before you obtain career tenure. Within the Department of the Air Force, certain positions, such as Attorney-Advisors and Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel Systems (DCIPS) positions, are classified as excepted service. Persons employed in one of these positions are considered to be in the excepted service for the duration of their service. The first year of an excepted service appointment is a probationary period that is used to determine the new employee’s suitability as a Federal Government employee.

Temporary Appointments

This type of appointment is for a limited time, normally not to exceed a year, and may terminate at any time during the first year. Generally, employers do provide you advance notice of early termination whenever possible. As a temporary employee, you are not eligible for promotion. You earn annual leave if your appointment is over 90 days, and you earn sick leave regardless of the length of the appointment. However, if you are on an intermittent work schedule, you do not earn either annual leave or sick leave. Temporary employees are not eligible for life insurance. Should your appointment be extended past one year, you will become eligible for health benefits.

Time‐Limited Appointments

Temporary and term appointments are time-limited appointments and confer no status or competitive appointment eligibility. Under the GS or FWS system, a temporary appointment is limited to one year or less with the possibility of an extension of up to one additional year. A term appointment is limited to 13 months or more, but may not exceed four years.

Term Appointments

Term appointments generally do not extend past four years. Term employees are required to serve a one-year trial period and may be terminated at any time during the probationary period for performance or conduct deficiencies. As a term employee, you may be eligible for promotion if hired into a career-ladder position. Otherwise, you must re-apply as an external applicant. You will earn annual and sick leave and are eligible for all benefits, to include both health and life insurance. Time served in a Term appointment may be counted towards a federal civilian retirement.


Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978

This Act provides the legal foundation for the operation of the Federal Labor Management Relations program. Under the provisions of the program, eligible employees may elect a labor organization to represent them through an election vote for union representation. If as a result of that election, a bargaining unit has been certified, a bargaining unit employee may choose to serve as a representative of the labor organization in presenting the union’s views to management officials and in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. Contact your local Civilian Personnel Office, Labor Relations Specialists, for additional questions.

Bargaining Unit Status (BUS) Codes

Your BUS is located on block 37 of your latest SF50. If the number is NOT 8888 or 7777, then you are a bargaining unit employee represented by a local union. The number 8888 means that you are excluded from joining a bargaining unit, and the number 7777 means that you are eligible for a union, but not represented.

Recognized Unions

To find out which union is the exclusive bargaining agent for your organization and the name and contact information for its representative, you can ask your supervisor, sponsor, or contact your local Civilian Personnel Labor Relations Specialist. If any of the information presented in this handbook is in conflict with the policies and procedures of a negotiated agreement applicable to your bargaining unit, the provisions of the negotiated agreement take precedence and must be observed.


In the event you believe you have been adversely affected by the misinterpretation or misapplication of a personnel policy or collective bargaining agreement, you may submit a grievance. First, you should discuss your complaint with your immediate supervisor in an attempt to resolve the problem in an informal manner. If unresolved and you are a member of a bargaining unit, you may file negotiated grievances (NG) in accordance with the procedures described in the appropriate collective bargaining agreement. Non-bargaining unit employees (block 37 of your SF50 will be either 8888 or 7777) must submit grievances in accordance with Administrative Grievance Procedures. For more information on administrative grievance procedures, employees can contact their local Civilian Personnel Labor Relations Specialist.


Bargaining unit employees are entitled to union representation if examined by a representative of the agency in connection with an investigation. This is commonly referred to as “Weingarten Rights.” The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute establishes three conditions that must be met for a meeting to be considered a “Weingarten” meeting:

  • One or more agency representatives are examining (questioning) a bargaining unit employee in connection with an investigation;
  • The employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee; and
  • The employee requests union representation.

Civilian Conduct and Responsibility

In the event of a breach of discipline, such as AWOL or a more serious offense, your supervisor will take necessary action to maintain discipline, prevent prohibited activities, and motivate employees to conform to acceptable standards of conduct. Inappropriate conduct falls into two categories: behavioral offenses for which disciplinary action aimed at correcting the behavior as appropriate, and violations of regulations or laws that require punitive sanctions. Disciplinary and adverse actions also fall into two categories:

  • informal actions involving oral admonishments and written warnings or
  • formal actions including letters of reprimand, suspensions, demotions, and removal.

The most effective means of maintaining discipline is through cooperation, sustained effective working relationships, and the self-discipline and responsible performance expected of mature employees.


The United States Air Force expects all employees to comply with standards of conduct and responsibilities to maintain a productive and safe work environment.