HRDG 4335 - Merit Promotion Plan - Section E

HRDG 4335 - Merit Promotion Plan - Section E

Subchapter 4335
Merit Promotion Plan 

Section E - Career Ladder Promotions



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What is a Career Ladder?

A career ladder is the normal grade progression through which employees advance to reach the full-performance level (top grade of the career ladder) of a particular occupation, when the employee meets all requirements. A career ladder consists of grades ranging from the lowest level at which an employee can be hired, to the journeyman level grade, also known as the full performance level.

Candidates may be selected for any grade within the ladder for which they qualify, and then be promoted progressively to the full performance level without further competition.

Career ladders for the major occupations in MRP are listed in the MRP Directive 4335.1 (PDF), Merit Promotion Plan. Some positions may have higher ladders than shown in the MRP Merit Promotion Plan. This is due to specific classification issues that are considered at the time the position is classified. (The classification specialist addresses position management concerns with the supervisor/manager before setting the full performance level of a position.)

What are the Requirements for Career Ladder Promotion?

To advance to the next level in a career ladder, an employee must:

  • Meet qualification requirements,
  • Meet time-in-grade requirements, and
  • Be recommended by his/her supervisor for promotion.
    (Career ladder promotions are not guaranteed.)
How Can We Ensure that Career Ladders are Successfully Used?

To ensure that career ladders are successfully used in MRP:


  • Need to ensure that employees are provided increasingly difficult assignments and training in order to prepare them for the next higher grade.
  • Need to ensure that staffing plans will accommodate subsequent promotions of employees selected below the full performance level.
  • Should promote employees who have demonstrated the ability to perform the higher graded duties in the career ladder, whose current rating of record is “Fully Successful” or better, and, who have completed any timeingrade and qualification requirements.
  • Need to ensure that an SF-52, Request for Personnel Action, is submitted as far in advance as possible, in order to have actions effective in a timely manner. Requests must be received by the SPO at least 1 full pay period before the effective date.

The servicing personnel office:

  • Is responsible for ensuring that all statutory and regulatory requirements have been met.
  • Works closely with the supervisor to ensure that full performance levels have been established and shown as promotion potential on vacancy announcements when filling vacancies below the full performance level.
  • Sets effective dates of personnel actions.


  • Need to actively pursue and satisfactorily complete assignments and/or training that will prepare them for advancement.

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