Federal Records Management

FAQs for GRS 2.2, Employee Management Records

Download all Frequently Asked Questions of Individual GRS Schedules in a PDF



1. What is succession planning?

OPM defines succession planning as the “process where organizations identify those positions considered to be at the core of the organization—too critical to be left vacant or filled by any but the best qualified persons—and then creating a strategic plan to fill them with experienced and capable employees.” 5 U.S.C. 412. 201 requires the head of each agency, in consultation with OPM, to establish a management succession program.


2. Why do you exclude records maintained by executives responsible for policy formulation or other high-level actions from this item?  How do I schedule these records?

Records documenting executive-level decisions and actions are often considered permanent records.  Therefore, agencies should submit agency-specific schedules for these records.




3. Why do records of Department-level awards require agency-specific schedules?

Department-level awards are often awarded for distinguished or meritorious service.  As such, such awards are high-profile and records documenting them are potentially of great interest to the research community.  Since we cannot state that these records are always temporary or always permanent across the entire Federal Government, we cannot include them in the GRS.  Each agency must schedule its records for Department-level awards on an agency-specific records schedule.




4. Why did you exclude Official Personnel Folders (OPFs) for employees who separated prior to December 31, 1973, from this item?  Who is responsible for scheduling these older OPFs?

GRS 2.2 does not provide disposition authority for pre-1973 Official Personnel Folders (OPFs) because their value has not been decided.  NARA has determined that it is the responsibility of OPM to schedule these records, given that OPM is the owner of the records subject to OPM recordkeeping requirements.  Agencies may have physical possession (custody) of such records, but they do not schedule them.  


5.  Why is item 040’s retention period so long?

OPM relies on long-term Official Personnel Folders (OPFs) as a supplemental source of documentation when making decisions about retirement benefits, death benefits, and survivor benefits payable to annuitants and beneficiaries. The 129-year retention period comes from 5 U.S.C. 8466, which allows an employee to seek benefits based on Federal service through 115 years old, or a beneficiary to seek benefits up to 30 years from the event which entitled them to the benefits (death of the employee).  If we assume a person could not be an employee at younger than 16 years old, and may seek their benefits until they are 115 years old, then the person’s OPF records could be up to 99 years old. It is possible for a beneficiary to seek benefits for an additional 30 years under the statute. Thus, the 129-year disposition.




6. Why do items 040 and 041 still refer to hardcopy Official Personnel Folders (OPFs)?  Hasn’t the entire Government adopted the eOPF system as of 2014?

No, some agencies continue to maintain OPFs in hardcopy and have not migrated to eOPF.  As a result, we left the reference to hardcopies in these items.


7.  Why do you exclude agencies not subject to OPM recordkeeping requirements under title 5, U.S. Code, from Items 040 and 041?

We excluded agencies not subject to OPM recordkeeping requirements from using this schedule for three important reasons.  First, this GRS conforms to OPM recordkeeping requirements, and OPM has the authority to establish requirements only on those records created under its oversight.  Second, while it is tempting to assign the same legal minimum retention period to all other personnel folders as well, this is best determined, when possible, by each agency for itself.  Agencies not subject to OPM recordkeeping requirements either operate their own employment systems or participate in another agency’s employment system. Employees under these different systems may be paid under a different pay plan, have different rights to appeal and file grievances, or accrue time towards retirement differently from employees under OPM’s employment system. Third, we established a legal minimum retention period of 129 years for the OPFs covered under item 040.  We would not want to impose such a long retention period on other agency personnel folders when we know their retirement systems are different and they may not need the records as long.




8.  Why does the GRS not cover performance records of Presidential appointees?  How do I schedule these records?

Presidential appointees are often high-profile and a subject of great interest to the research community.  Since we cannot state that records documenting their service are always temporary or always permanent across the entire Federal Government, we cannot include them in the GRS.  Each agency must schedule its records on Presidential appointments on an agency-specific records schedule.




9. Why do you exclude records held at the Department of State from these items?  

The Department of State maintains agency and dependent requests for passports as part of its mission-specific function.  As a result, this GRS does not cover them. State covers its mission records under an agency-specific schedule.


10. Why did you include a filing instruction for official passports of transferred or separated agency personnel (item 092)?

Some agencies have scheduled these records, so this instruction provides clarity about steps any agency should take when the passports are no longer needed.




11.  Why did you exclude service records for certain volunteers from this item?  Does the GRS cover these individuals?

The volunteers whose records are excluded from this item ultimately have Official Personnel Folders (OPFs). Once those OPFs are created, records that otherwise would be covered by item 110 are incorporated into the OPFs, which are scheduled by items 040 and 041. 

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