Federal Records Management

FAQs for GRS 2.5, Employee Separation Records

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


1.  Why doesn’t this schedule include an item for Official Personnel Folders (OPFs)?  What happens with them when employees move to a different agency or leave Federal employment?

Although OPFs are disposed of as part of the employee separation process, OPFs are created when employees enter Federal service, and agencies place most records in them while employees are in the active workforce.  For that reason, an item in GRS 2.2, Employee Management Records, covers OPFs from an employee’s entry into the Federal workforce through separation. In general, OPFs follow Federal employees when they move from one agency to another; when they leave Federal service, their personnel office sends their OPF to the National Personnel Records Center within 30 days of separation.


2.  Why are items 010 and 011 not a single item?

Records in item 010 are entirely administrative — created as the agency responds to a separation request initiated by a staff member at any point in time.  Agencies create records in item 011 as the result of an agency initiative -- a program specifically intended to reduce the agency’s work force. These records document agency decisions, how the agency made them, and how it carried them out.  Agency initiatives have clear start and end dates and therefore we can base disposition of the records on those dates.


3.  What programs are included in “specific agency separation initiatives”?

Pages nested at OPM’s website, http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/, discuss various types of separation initiatives.


4.  Why is item 030 a separate item and not just a bullet in item 020?

Items 020 and 030 cover different records, are created by different offices for different purposes, and have different retention periods.  They thus do not lend themselves to being grouped and handled together. Each agency’s human resources office creates and maintains records in item 020 for personnel and benefits purposes.  The retention period reflects the length of time an agency would normally need these records for business use. Records in item 030 concern information departing staff members provide to their offices about their programs, functions, and work, for continuity purposes.  Those offices maintain these records themselves. The item’s open-ended retention period reflects the varying value these records may have from agency to agency, office to office, and even staff member to staff member. 

5.  Does item 030 mean that the records a separated employee leaves behind can be destroyed when his/her office no longer needs them?

No.  Records a separated employee leaves behind are the property of the office for which the employee worked, and should be retained under schedules applicable to the subject matter.  Item 030 covers only records newly created in the process of trying to capture knowledge a departing employee may hold just in his or her head.


6.  How can I file SF 1150 on the “left side of the folder” if the Official Personnel File (OPF) is electronic?

A paper OPF is a single folder with two sides:  “left side” for temporary records and “right side” for permanent documents.  E-folders in the eOPF—“temporary” and “permanent”—replicate the paper folder sides and are actually called “folder sides.”  GRS 2.2, item 041 provides disposal authority for “left side” records.

7.  Why does item 040 not have a disposition authority?

Item 040 is not a disposition instruction but, rather, a filing instruction.  A filing instruction does not include authority to dispose of records; it simply instructs on where to file them.


8.  Does the bullet “records documenting knowledge transfer activities” include records a departing employee leaves behind?

No.  The bullet covers documentation of knowledge transfer activities.  This may be nothing more than an acknowledgment from the departing employee’s supervisor that knowledge transfer has taken place.  The bullet does not mean to imply that all records containing that knowledge are retained by the agency’s human resources office. In many cases, the reason there is a need to transfer knowledge before an employee leaves is because the knowledge is in the employee’s mind only; records resulting from such knowledge transfer are covered by item 030.  Exit interviews conducted for purposes of knowledge transfer with an employee in phased-retirement status are also covered by item 030. Records a separated employee leaves behind are the property of the office for which the employee worked, and should be retained under schedules applicable to the subject matter. 


Human Resources Schedules (GRS 2.1—2.8)

Do General Records Schedules for human resources records (section 2.0) apply to the records of personnel on staff solely as part of a detail or an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA)?

Yes. Items in schedules 2.1 through 2.8 apply to records your agency creates as part of managing personnel on the Federal payroll. This includes those temporarily assigned to your agency on a detail or through an IPA, as well as those permanently assigned to your agency.


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