Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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The following FAQs are directed towards Fellows.
- Where can I find out more about Orientation and Graduation?
- How do I develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
- How do I find a developmental assignment?
- What do I need to do to graduate from the PMF Program?
- Is completing the PMF Participant Handbook and Graduation Ceremony a requirement for completion of the PMF Program?
- I lost my proof of participation for an older PMF Orientation session and I need to include this with my ERB package to complete the Program. How can I obtain proof?
- As a Fellow, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
- Does my time as a PMF count toward the 3-year service requirement for career tenure?
- As a PMF, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
- Does my time as a PMF count toward the probationary period required for competitive service positions?
- What happens if a PMF does not complete their 2-year fellowship?
- As a Fellow, can I move between PMF positions/agencies during my fellowship?
- As a current Fellow, my agency does not have a position to convert me into, what options are available?
- Can Fellows complete a rotation with a House or Senate Committee?
- As a current Fellow, I would like to volunteer as a PMF Ambassador. Where I can learn more?
- As a Fellow, I am starting a family. How does this impact my fellowship?
- As a current Fellow, what are my leave options and how can the PMF Program Office help me solicit leave donations?
- Can my fellowship be extended?
- How does military service impact my fellowship?
- What are the program requirements for Fellows completing training hours and is there flexibility?
- How would a lapse in funding (shutdown furlough) impact the PMF Program?
1. Where can I find out more about Orientation and Graduation?
Current Fellows should go to the Orientation webpage to learn more about the PMF Program Office’s Orientation Program for Fellows and the “PMF Participant Handbook”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Is completing the PMF Participant Handbook 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 Participant Handbook”, which supplements our Orientation Program for Fellows. Completing the “PMF Participant Handbook” counts for 1-hour of formal training 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.
6. I lost my proof of participation for an older 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 previous PMF Orientation Webinars), 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.
Go to the Orientation webpage to learn about the “PMF Participant Handbook” and how it supplements the PMF Program Office’s Orientation Program for Fellows.
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, accept, and start such a position, you will be taken out of the PMF Program.
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".
If you are converted to a permanent position in the excepted service, the time served is not creditable toward career tenure. The time served remains creditable towards retirement and leave benefits.
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 continuous 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".
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).
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.
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". 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.
We have assembled detailed "PMF Guidance on Reappointments" that is posted under the Current PMFs\Resources and Agencies\Resources webpages.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- If none of the above options are available, the Fellow would either resign or the agency would terminate the appointment.
- 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.
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.
15. As a current Fellow, I would like to volunteer as a PMF Ambassador. Where I can learn more?
To learn more about the PMF Ambassadors Program, how to become a PMF Ambassador, and the PMF Ambassadors Directly, go to the PMF Ambassadors webpage.
16. As a Fellow, I am starting a family. How does this impact my fellowship?
There are leave options that cover adoption, maternity leave, and paternity leave. To learn more about leave options, see FAQ# 17 below and the Benefits section.
Fellows are still required to complete all of the program requirements during their 2-year fellowship. Fellows should consult with their Agency PMF Coordinator and HR Office.
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.
18. Can my fellowship be extended?
Yes, Federal agencies have the authority to extend a Fellow’s 2-year appointment (otherwise referred to as the fellowship) for up to 120 additional days for rare and unusual circumstances. When doing so, agencies must adhere to the definition and procedures outlined in their Pathways MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with OPM. Agency PMF Coordinators must record a fellowship extension in the Portal Site of the PMF TMS (Talent Management System).
If a Fellow’s appointment has been extended, the agency must still render a certification decision 30-days prior to the extended anniversary date. There is no allowance to further extend beyond 120 days.
19. How does military service impact my fellowship?
Fellows may be called into active duty or to participate in military reserves training during their 2-year fellowship. Time spent in these activities may be covered by the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). If the time spent in military service is covered by USERRA, then the Fellow is entitled to return to their position after the service is completed. The Fellow continues to accrue time towards tenure status and retirement. Additional information for veteran employees can be found at https://fedshirevets.gov/veteran-employees/. Fellows should consult with their agency’s HR Office for additional guidance. In addition, Fellows must still complete all program requirements during their fellowship (e.g., a total of 160 hours of formal, interactive training; have an IDP; completed a developmental assignment; and, annual performance plan).
20. What are the program requirements for Fellows completing training hours and is there flexibility?
One of the program requirements is for agencies to provide their Fellows a minimum of 80 hours of formal, interactive training per year (for a total minimum of 160 hours at the conclusion of their fellowship) that addresses the competencies outlined in their IDP (Individual Development Plan). Fellows, their Supervisors and Agency PMF Coordinators, should work together to ensure this requirement is met, as it also required for successful certification in completing all program requirements by the end of their fellowship. Some Fellows may exceed 80 hours of training during their first year and offset the difference in hours in their second year; however, per the regulations, each Fellow must complete a minimum of 80 hours of training for each year. Additional information can be found under the Current PMFs/Training and Development webpage.
21. How would a lapse in funding (shutdown furlough) impact the PMF Program?
A lapse in funding (otherwise known as a shutdown furlough) occurs when there is lapse in annual appropriates for the Federal Government. Shutdown furloughs can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Some agency functions have alternative funding sources and, as a result, are not directly affected by a lapse in annual appropriations. Employees performing those functions will generally continue to be governed by the normal pay, leave, and other civil service rules.
The PMF Program Office is not impacted by a shutdown furlough as it is a revolving fund program and exempt.
See below for general PMF Program guidance for those impacted by a lapse of federal funding. Always defer to your home agency guidance for specific questions.
- Agency Personnel: May pause their duties until work resumes, based on individual agency contingency plans.
- PMF Supervisors: Consult their HR Office for guidance.
- Fellows: (1) consult their Supervisor, (2) pause their participation in any PMF LDP (Leadership Development Program) activities, (3) pause their work in completing program training and developmental requirements, (4) consult their Supervisor, Agency PMF Coordinator, and/or HR Office for any impact to rotations, et al.
- Applicants/Semi-Finalists: The PMF Program Office will continuing reviewing and processing all Applicants and Semi-Finalists. If any impact occurs to Semi-Finalists scheduling or participating structured interviews participation, they will be directly informed by the PMF Program Office.
- Finalists: May continue to apply to appointment opportunities. A shutdown does not impact the entire Federal Government. Many agencies will continue to process appointment opportunities. The appointment eligibility period of 12 months will not be extended.
Upon resumption of funding, program participants program requirements will adjust accordingly. The PMF Program Office will inform Fellows participating in program-sponsored activities (e.g., the PMF LDP) directly of additional information and changes.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” for Federal agencies and employees reference. The OPM guidance can be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf. In addition, each Federal agency issues their own guidance to their employees.