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CALRPCV  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 02, 2019 6:24:55 PM(UTC)
CALRPCV

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Hello, question for you all.

I started my federal job that is considered competitive service September 19th 2017. So September 19th 2020 will be my 3rd year mark. I’m thinking of going to grad school fall 2020 and most schools start mid-late August, but also want to get my career tenure/permanent status at 3rd year mark first - so am planning on using 3 weeks annual leave in August-September 2020, so that I can attend the start of grad school and receive my career tenure in federal service.

So i’m wondering - is career tenure something that’s granted automatically after 3 years - or is it more like an application? I ask because I have a co-worker who said it took a year after his 3rd year mark to get it on his record, and would be harder for me if I was leaving the government a few weeks beforehand. (Also if you have any general thoughts on my plan that is welcome as well).

Thanks for any help!
RVRGRL  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, July 03, 2019 4:29:45 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: CALRPCV Go to Quoted Post
Hello, question for you all.

I started my federal job that is considered competitive service September 19th 2017. So September 19th 2020 will be my 3rd year mark. I’m thinking of going to grad school fall 2020 and most schools start mid-late August, but also want to get my career tenure/permanent status at 3rd year mark first - so am planning on using 3 weeks annual leave in August-September 2020, so that I can attend the start of grad school and receive my career tenure in federal service.

So i’m wondering - is career tenure something that’s granted automatically after 3 years - or is it more like an application? I ask because I have a co-worker who said it took a year after his 3rd year mark to get it on his record, and would be harder for me if I was leaving the government a few weeks beforehand. (Also if you have any general thoughts on my plan that is welcome as well).

Thanks for any help!


I did this a few years ago, but instead of taking a bunch of leave, I just took leave for the class times that were during the day so that I still worked as much as I could during the start of school and that three year mark. I also picked up a physical copy of my separation SF-50 when I was signing out on my last actual day, and ensured it stated what needed to be said. (I was in constant communication with CPAC/HR during that last week when they were working on my final out paperwork)

Since it seems that you're still planning...If you are trying to get a masters in a STEM field, check out the S.M.A.R.T. program. It's not just for recruitment, they also approve education for retaining government employees. Must have a gov sponsor though and be a STEM degree. Basically if granted the scholarship, you'd work full-time in the summer for your sponsor, and go to school full time during the school year--with a stipend. Usually for retention awards your stipend is your current gov salary--though that might depend on who your sponsor ends up being. Also, if you separate before application and granted a scholarship, you may only get the recruitment benefit instead of retention.

Wish I had known about S.M.A.R.T.!

Edited by user Wednesday, July 03, 2019 4:47:56 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

djp  
#3 Posted : Saturday, July 06, 2019 7:29:01 PM(UTC)

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3 yrs of continuous service time gives you tenure. Now there may be some weird formula and double check with HR on this.

For grad school...is this career related where you can take classes and get reimbursed?

Why not wai another year then leave in August before grad school.

In federal service unless you are in afield that requires a graduate degree there isn’t a need to get it unless you are doing a career change.
.

spence  
#4 Posted : Sunday, July 07, 2019 7:27:27 AM(UTC)

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It shouldn't require an application, and should be automatic, but HR doesn't necessarily track it properly in their systems, especially if you ever switched jobs between different agencies. So you should make sure it's reflected in your final SF-50. Ideally you would still be on the job following up till it's reflected on your record, but that could take months. I had to open a ticket with HR when my time came at the IRS to get it done and it took months. But the IRS may also be a bit of a special case because in addition to my having left for a different agency and come back, which messed with their records, time in seasonal nonpay status also extended the time required for career tenure beyond three calendar years as most of the time in nonpay status didn't count. Fortunately I knew how to add up the time to know when to open a ticket, but I can imagine other people falling through the cracks.

Edited by user Sunday, July 07, 2019 7:36:14 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

GWPDA  
#5 Posted : Sunday, July 07, 2019 10:27:50 AM(UTC)
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You need to double check your 'Service Computation Date' as well. I went in and out of the government about four times, and this last got the SCD recomputed so as to take into account all the various lengths of service. Consequently, the SCD is sort of artificial - it doesn't represent the actual date of hire - but what it does is include all those fragments of time into one continuous (and continuing) period. The SCD is what is used to calculate all those time-based employment elements, like tenure, pensions, all that.
CALRPCV  
#6 Posted : Sunday, July 07, 2019 10:44:10 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for the responses everyone, they have been very helpful.

RVRGRL: Thanks for sharing your experience and for the intro on the SMART program. I will look into it as a possibility.

DJP: If I pursue this Grad school plan it would be for a career change into something climate/agriculture/environment related (I have some prior experience). I’m trying to do it sooner rather than later because I’m not happy with my current job - sitting behind a computer all day not interacting with anyone, and also I would like to move somewhere warmer.

SPENCE: Thanks for sharing your experience, useful to know about the ticket option.

GWPDS: My SCD is actually 3 years prior to when I started federal service as I was in the Peace Corps, but from my knowledge it doesn’t apply to career tenure as I was not considered an actual federal employee.
TheRealOrange  
#7 Posted : Monday, July 08, 2019 6:03:31 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: CALRPCV Go to Quoted Post
GWPDS: My SCD is actually 3 years prior to when I started federal service as I was in the Peace Corps, but from my knowledge it doesn’t apply to career tenure as I was not considered an actual federal employee.

Be careful using the SCD, as there are different SCDs for different purposes. For instance, my SCD for leave purposes is different than my SCD for retirement purposes. So, if you're double checking, make sure you double check all of them (apparently there are 5). Below is a link to a good article on the topic, and is even addresses the SCD used for Career Tenure.

https://www.fedsmith.com...e-comes-in-five-flavors/
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