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Friday, July 10, 2020

Current PMFs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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The following FAQs are directed towards Fellows.

  1. When will Orientation, Graduation, etc., be held?
  2. How do I develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
  3. How do I find a developmental assignment?
  4. What do I need to do to graduate from the PMF Program?
  5. Is the PMF Orientation and Graduation Ceremony a requirement for completion of the PMF Program?
  6. I lost my certificate for the PMF Orientation Session and I need to include this with my ERB package to complete the Program. How can I get a duplicate certificate?
  7. As a Fellow, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
  8. Does my time as a PMF count toward the 3-year service requirement for career tenure?
  9. As a PMF, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
  10. Does my time as a PMF count toward the probationary period required for competitive service positions?
  11. What happens if a PMF does not complete their 2-year fellowship?
  12. As a Fellow, can I move between PMF positions/agencies during my fellowship?
  13. As a current Fellow, my agency does not have a position to convert me into, what options are available?
  14. Can Fellows complete a rotation with a House or Senate Committee?
  15. COVID-19: In light of the COVID-19, I am concerned that I will not be able to meet my Fellowship requirements, particularly with my 80 hours of formal, interactive training each year and completing a 4 to 6-month developmental assignment before my two-year anniversary. What should I do?
  16. COVID-19: What should I do if I feel I will not be able to complete some of my Fellowship requirements by my two-year anniversary due to COVID-19 restrictions?
  17. As a current Fellow, what are my leave options and how can the PMF Program Office help me solicit leave donations?

1. When will Orientation, Graduation, etc., be held?

The PMF Orientation sessions are conducted via on-line webinars throughout the year. Current Fellows should go to the Orientation webpage for available dates and how to register.

The Graduation Ceremony is typically held in late-spring/early-summer to ensure as many graduating Fellows complete the program requirements and convert. Additional information can be found on the Graduation webpage.

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2. How do I develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?

You and your Supervisor should develop the required IDP together. The OPM Form 1302, PMF IDP, is an optional Adobe Acrobat fillable PDF form that Fellows may use, and can be found under the Resources webpage. 

The Training webpage offers many suggestions to get you started. You will need to complete 80 hours of formal interactive training per year during your fellowship as well as a 4-6 month developmental assignment. You should also consult with your Agency PMF Coordinator and Mentor.

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3. How do I find a developmental assignment?

You should work with your Supervisor to help identify a developmental assignment and it should be included on your IDP. You and your Supervisor are encouraged to review the Rotational Opportunities for possible assignments that may meet the requirements. Another option is to network with other Fellows who may know of assignments within their agencies. However, the employing agency has the final approval of whether you may perform the developmental assignment outside of the employing agency. A developmental assignment may take place at the Fellow's organization, appointing agency, or to another Federal Agency. Visit the Training and Development webpage to learn more.

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4. What do I need to do to graduate from the PMF Program?

All requirements of the PMF Program must be satisfactorily completed before you can be certified and converted. Each agency has an Executive Resources Board (ERB), or equivalent, that must verify that all requirements of the PMF Program have been successfully completed. The appointing agency notifies the PMF Program Office of the results of the ERB's decision. Agencies may have specific requirements for their ERB process and the Agency PMF Coordinator should be aware of that process. Early on in the fellowship, you should work with your Supervisor, mentor, and Agency PMF Coordinator to determine the requirements, deadlines, etc., for successful ERB certification. Successful completion of the PMF Program requirements and ERB certification is what authorizes you to non-competitively convert to a permanent or term position. Once you are ERB certified and converted, you are eligible to participate in the Graduation Ceremony and considered graduated.

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5. Is the PMF Orientation and Graduation Ceremony a requirement for completion of the PMF Program?

No, neither is a requirement. However, your agency may require you to complete the PMF Orientation. Your participation in a PMF Orientation session may count towards your required training hours and should be recorded on your IDP. Graduating Fellows may choose to participate in the Graduation Ceremony or have a certificate of completion mailed to their home address on file; this is done during the Graduation Ceremony registration process. Certificates may only be requested up to a year after your class graduation ceremony.

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6. I lost my proof of participation for the PMF Orientation session and I need to include this with my ERB package to complete the Program. How can I obtain proof?

Typically at the conclusion of a PMF Program Office sponsored event (such as the PMF Orientation), a confirmation of participation is sent via email; this serves as your proof of participation.

It is important that when you attend training during your fellowship and throughout your Federal career that you keep documentation of training attended. This is often used to support future career opportunities! You are encouraged to keep copies of all training certificates, send copies to your Agency PMF Coordinator, and maintain a PMF Program folder to keep track of all program requirements. It is ultimately your responsibility to track your training and any evidence of participation. The PMF Program Office may not be able to provide proof if after the fact.

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7. As a Fellow, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?

No. As a Fellow in the PMF Program, you do not have non-competitive appointment eligibility in this regard. Non-competitive appointment eligibility is based on statute or Executive order and specifically identifies the circumstances under which the non-competitive appointment eligibility is granted (e.g., persons with certain types of disabilities, certain military spouses, veterans of the armed forces). The Executive order authorizing the PMF Program did not confer such a non-competitive eligibility; instead, it provides a time-limited fellowship in the excepted service that could lead to a permanent position.

When Fellows see Federal positions advertised on www.USAJOBS.gov, they should ignore such references on "Who May Apply," showing "non-competitive appointment eligibility". However, if you are eligible and you apply and accept such a position, you will be taken out of the PMF Program.

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8. Does my time as a PMF count toward the 3-year service requirement for career tenure?

Yes, but only if you are converted to a permanent position in the competitive service upon successful completion of your 2-year fellowship. PMFs may notice that "Tenure" appears as "2 - Conditional" on their SF 50, Personnel Action, upon their appointment; this is commonly referred to as "Career-Conditional".

For most PMFs who convert after successful completion of their 2-year fellowship, the time served as a PMF is creditable for career tenure and once an additional year of continuous service is completed the former PMF should be converted from career-conditional to career; commonly referred to as "Career Status".

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9. As a PMF, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?

No. As a PMF holding an excepted service position, you are not considered a "status candidate." The term "status" is reserved for individuals holding permanent positions (or who held a permanent position) in the competitive service. However, if you are converted to a permanent position in the competitive service upon the successful completion of your 2-year fellowship, complete an additional year of continous service, and receive a Personnel Action (SF 50) stating your conversion to "Career Status", you may apply for positions that are open to "status candidates".

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10. Does my time as a PMF count toward the probationary period required for competitive service positions?

Yes, if you are converted to a permanent job in the competitive service upon the successful completion of your 2-year fellowship the time served as a PMF is creditable toward the probationary period. Probation in the PMF Program is referred to as the 2-year trial period (2-year fellowship).

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11. What happens if a PMF does not complete their 2-year fellowship?

If a PMF separates prior to conversion of their PMF appointment then the time served as a PMF is not creditable toward the 3 year service requirement for career tenure. If the former PMF later applies and accepts a Federal job in the competitive service, then he/she must have 3 years of continuous service under the new position to be converted from career-conditional to career. The 1-year probationary period also starts over.

As PMFs know, obtaining a PMF appointment is very competitive and agencies invest a lot of time and resources in that PMF. Not completing the 2-year fellowship is seen as unfavorable.

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12. As a Fellow, can I move between PMF positions/agencies during my fellowship?

Yes.  The PMF Program regulations allows for Fellows to transfer from one PMF position/agency to another.  This process is commonly referred to as a "reappointment".  The Fellow must meet the qualifications of the new position and cannot have a break in service.  A break in service means he/she cannot resign from their current PMF position and start the new PMF position days later; the Human Resources Office or Agency PMF Coordinator can explain this.  Finding a reappointment opportunity is the Fellow's responsibility.  Fellows are not able to log into the PMF TMS to search for appointment opportunities as these are reserved for Finalists seeking their initial appointment.

If a PMF reappoints from one position/agency to another position/agency, he/she will need to re-evaluate their training and development requirements in consultation with their new Supervisor and Agency PMF Coordinator.  For example, if the PMF was initially appointed into a Budget Analyst position and all of their training and development was related to that position or their target position, but then reappoints to a Human Resources Specialist position, he/she may need to re-start their training and development requirements based on their new position.  It is the new appointing agency's responsibility to ensure the PMF completes all training and development requirements for their target position before obtaining ERB certification and conversion.

If a PMF reappoints to a different position/agency as a result of their developmental assignment, that rotation may not count as it was associated to the previous position/agency.  The PMF would need to consult the Supervisor and Agency PMF Coordinators for the newer position/agency to determine if the rotation counts.

Also, the PMF must be able to meet the qualifications of the newer position and the newer position cannot exceed the full promotion level (FPL) of the previous position. For example, if the PMF's current FPL is to a GS-12 (or equivalent), then the newer position cannot exceed a GS-12 (or equivalent); this is because the PMF did not initially compete for a position with a higher FPL.

A Fellow may not reappoint to another PMF position/agency after obtaining ERB certification. The PMF Program regulations are very specific that a Fellow may only convert to a term or permanent position at the agency that certified his/her program completion.

If a Fellow is close to completing their 2-year fellowship and wishes to reappoint to another PMF position/agency, he/she needs to consult the losing and gaining Agency PMF Coordinators. The newer position may require a background investigation. Agencies have discretion to extend a PMF's fellowship for up to 120 days; however, agencies must follow their policies and procedures for such.

Also, the gaining agency may have additional PMF training and developmental requirements (for example, requires two developmental assignments/rotations) that the Fellow must complete. Depending on the timing of the reappointment and the Fellow completing their fellowship, there may not be sufficient time to meet the gaining agency's requirements.

When a reappointment occurs, the PMF should fill out an OPM Form 1306, PMF Appointment Intake Form, and submit to their new Agency PMF Coordinator and to the PMF Program Office to ensure the appointment information for the newer position/agency is recorded in the PMF Talent Management System (TMS).  The form can be found under the Current PMFs\Resources section on the PMF website.

The process to record reappointments in the PMF TMS has been automated. The losing Agency PMF Coordinator would initiate a reappointment and the gaining Agency PMF Coordinator must accept.

If the PMF reappoints within the first 6 months of their initial appointment, the losing agency may request the gaining agency to reimburse them 25% of the PMF reimbursement placement fee the losing agency has submitted to the PMF Program Office.  The placement fee is typically owed by the initial appointing agency and must be submitted within 30-days of the Finalist accepting a tentative PMF appointment offer.  The PMF Program Office is not involved in situations where a PMF reappoints between agencies during the first 6-months.  Any reimbursement between agencies, such as the 25% mentioned above, is handled between the losing and gaining agencies.

Reappointments are discouraged as the PMF's current agency has already invested significant time, resources, and funds.  It is critical the PMF Program Office is aware of any such reappointments and that the PMF TMS is updated.

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13. As a current Fellow, my agency does not have a position to convert me into, what options are available?

An agency may not have a position to convert a Fellow for a variety of reasons (e.g., a change in the agency's mission, budget shortages, a re-organization, or staffing adjustments). The Fellow's Agency PMF Coordinator should be consulted on what options may exist at their agency as several agencies have different policies and procedures in this regard. The following general options may be available and are based on the assumption there is no performance, conduct, or suitability issues:

  1. Assuming the Fellow will obtain a favorable certification from their agency's Executive Resources Board (ERB), the agency may noncompetitively convert the Fellow into a term position (5 CFR 362.409(b)). A term position may last up to 4 years (beyond the Fellow's 2-year fellowship). The agency may then noncompetitively convert the former Fellow into a permanent position within the competitive service at any time before the end of the term appointment within the agency as a whole (5 CFR 315.201(b)(1)(xv)). For example, if the PMF is converted to a term appointment in FEMA, he/she may be noncompetitively converted to a permanent position within FEMA or DHS.
  2. Fellows can work with their Agency PMF Coordinator(s) and other agency colleagues to find any potential opportunities for reassignment within their agency (during their fellowship and prior to obtaining a favorable ERB certification). NOTE:  A PMF may only convert at the agency that conducted the ERB certification.  
  3. Fellows can also reach out to Agency PMF Coordinators in other agencies, as well as colleagues in other agencies, to find any potential opportunities for a transfer (during their fellowship and prior to obtaining a favorable ERB certification). 
  4. The Fellow's Agency PMF Coordinator can reach out to other Agency PMF Coordinators to see if they have positions that may be available to reappoint a Fellow, either through reassignment or transfer (which must take place by the end of the Fellow's 2-year fellowship and prior to any favorable ERB certification).  A current list of Agency PMF Coordinators can be found here:  https://apply.pmf.gov/coordinators.aspx.
  5. If none of the above options are available, the Fellow would either resign or the agency would terminate the appointment.
  6. A Fellow, who resigns or is terminated, may be eligible to reapply to the PMF Program to become a Finalist or request reinstatement from the original appointing agency at a later date (5 CFR 362.407(b)).

A Fellow can only convert to a term or permanent position at the agency that conducts the ERB certification process. If the agency does not have a permanent position to convert the Fellow into, it may convert the Fellow to a term position lasting no more than 4 years. The agency may then noncompetitively convert the Fellow to a permanent position anytime during the term appointment. A similar FAQ for Agencies can be found under the Agencies\FAQs webpage.

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14. Can Fellows complete a rotation with a House or Senate Committee?

Information about developmental assignments and rotations, including this topic, can be found under the Rotational Opportunities webpage.

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15. COVID-19: In light of the COVID-19, I am concerned that I will not be able to meet my Fellowship requirements, particularly with my 80 hours of formal, interactive training each year and completing a 4 to 6-month developmental assignment before my two-year anniversary. What should I do?

Fellows should work with their supervisor, Agency PMF Coordinator, and Human Resources Office to identify training and developmental assignment opportunities that can be completed while remaining compliant with any COVID-19 related guidelines at your agency and your duty location.

Training requirements can be met virtually, as long as the Fellow has an opportunity during the virtual course to interact with either other attendees and/or the instructor/facilitator. For the PMF Leadership Development Program, we are working on modifying our in-person sessions to be conducted virtually as much as possible in the coming months where travel restrictions for many agencies may be restricted for some time. We will be notifying eligible participants of these changes as necessary.

For developmental assignments that were interrupted during COVID-19, Fellows should work with both their host supervisor and the supervisor from the developmental assignment, along with Agency PMF Coordinators and Agency Human Resources Offices, to determine if the developmental assignment can be completed remotely or could be resumed at a later time but still within the 2-year window of the fellowship. Developmental assignments do not need to be completed consecutively, as long as they last a minimum of four months total. Duties and responsibilities of the assignment should be examined and re-evaluated if some duties could not be completed remotely. Agencies can agree on different duties and responsibilities, as long as they align with the Fellow’s target position at the end of their Fellowship.

For Fellows who are looking for developmental assignment opportunities that may have to be completed in whole or in part remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, feel free to continue to search developmental opportunities on the PMF Talent Management System and reach out to agencies and offices you are interested working with to see if work can be done virtually. For example, Fellows could complete a developmental assignment in a different agency or division within their overall organization, such as in a mission support or central office (e.g., Communications, Legislative Affairs, Contracting, Human Resources, etc.) that would provide excellent experiences and opportunities during your Fellowship while contributing to your home agency. For more information on finding Developmental Assignments please click here on our website.

There are many incredible opportunities to contribute to the COVID-19 pandemic response that could be very great developmental assignments. We encourage Fellows to search these opportunities available for current Federal employees here on the Open Opportunities platform.

Fellows are reminded to document all of their training and development on their Individual Development Plan.

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16. COVID-19: What should I do if I feel I will not be able to complete some of my Fellowship requirements by my two-year anniversary due to COVID-19 restrictions?

Fellows should work with their supervisors and Agency PMF Coordinators to determine if an extension of the Fellowship period may be needed in order to finish fellowship requirements. Agencies have the authority to extend the PMF Fellowship period for up to 120 days in the case where rare and unusual circumstances are present that may inhibit a Fellow to complete all of their Fellowship requirements by the end of their two-year anniversary. Circumstances related to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic can qualify as rare and unusual. Please check with your agency on their policies and procedures in such regards. Fellowships cannot be extended beyond one 120-day period and all PMF fellowship requirements must be met in order to be certified by an agency’s Executive Resources Board, or equivalent, which provides for the eligibility of Fellows to be converted to either permanent or term positions. During this time of uncertainty and challenge, we know that Fellows and our agency partners will increase their already-incredible ability to show and practice the leadership competencies of Adaptability and Resilience while navigating the Fellowship. We at the PMF Program Office are here to support you so if you have additional or more-specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at pmf@opm.gov.

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17. As a current Fellow, what are my leave options and how can the PMF Program Office help me solicit leave donations?

Fellows may utilize the various leave programs available to all Federal employees. To see a full list of leave programs and fact sheets covered by title 5 of the United States Code and title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, go to OPM’s Leave Administration’s Fact Sheets webpage at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/#url=Fact-Sheets. Fellows should consult with their Supervisor, HR Office, and Agency PMF Coordinator on available leave programs at their agency and the policies and procedures to follow.

To assist those Fellows wishing to solicit leave donations from other Fellows via the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, the PMF Program Office can assist by following the steps below. However, the PMF recipient should utilize all leave options at their home agency before soliciting requests for donated leave through the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program.

NOTE:  The steps below are specific to soliciting leave donations from Fellows outside of the PMF Recipient’s agency. Similar forms and procedures exist to solicit Fellows within the PMF Recipient’s agency; contact your agency’s HR Office for assistance. Fellows should consult with their Supervisor, HR Office, and Agency PMF Coordinator on what leave options are available.

1)     The Fellow must submit an application to become a leave recipient under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program at their agency.

  • Check with your agency on what the procedures are to apply.
  • OPM provides form OPM 630 as an optional form for employees and agencies to use.

2)     We will need your consent to solicit leave donations. Contact your Agency PMF Coordinator to notify the PMF Program Office of your need to solicit leave donations and provide your consent.

3)     The Agency PMF Coordinator is to notify the PMF Program Office of the need and provide the following information:

  • Fellow’s Full Name
  • Fellow’s Organization (e.g., Agency, Department, Office, Division, Branch, etc.)
  • Fellow’s Agency Mailing Address
  • And that the Fellow has provided his/her consent to solicit leave donations

4)     The PMF Program Office will send a “PMF Alert” (a broadcast email) to all current Fellows soliciting leave donations for the PMF in need, without any explanation (e.g., we will not disclose the nature of the need).

5)     Soliciting will be done through the form OPM 630B, Request to Donate Annual Leave to Leave Recipient Under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (Outside Agency).

6)     Fellows interested in donating leave will be asked to fill out the OPM 630B and submit to their servicing HR Office to process.

  • The Fellow’s agency in concert with the PMF Recipient’s agency will arrange for the transfer of donated annual leave. This may take a few weeks to process.

7)     Any questions will be directed to the PMF Recipient’s Agency PMF Coordinator.

8)     Donated leave is done anonymously and the donor’s information is not provided to the recipient.

UPDATED: 06-12-2020