August 24, 2016

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) recently issued policy guidelines on the three-salary grade limitation on promotions in government in response to the queries and appeals on disapproved appointments it has received.

Under CSC Resolution No. 1600732 issued on July 7, 2016 and published on August 5, 2016, the Commission reiterated the policy that no government employee may be promoted to a higher position which is more than three salary grades higher than his or her present position, popularly known as “quantum leap”, except in meritorious cases.

The CSC clarified, however, that the three-salary grade rule is not a deterrent to career advancement because it is allowed in meritorious cases, such as when the position occupied by the person is next-in-rank to the vacant position as identified in the agency’s Merit Selection Plan and the System of Ranking Positions (SRP), and when the vacant position is a lone or entrance position.

Another exception is when the vacant position is unique or highly specialized, or is hard to fill due to applicant’s lack of skills or inadequate experience of applicants, expectation of high salary, lack of professional license, and competition with private sector and overseas jobs.

Other exceptions include:

  • The candidate passed through a deep selection process, taking into consideration the candidate’s superior qualifications in educational achievements, highly specialized trainings, relevant work experience, and consistent high performance rating/ranking;
  • The appointee is the lone applicant who meets all the requirements of the position and passed through the deep selection process;
  • The vacant position belongs to the closed career system or those that are scientific or highly technical in nature, including the faculty and academic staff of state colleges and universities, and the scientific and technical positions in scientific or research institutions, all of which establish and maintain their own merit systems;
  • The qualified next-in-rank employees waived their right over the vacant position in writing or did not apply;
  • The next-in-rank position, as identified in the agency’s SRP is vacant; or
  • The next-in-rank employee/s is/are not qualified.

The prohibition applies only to promotion within the agency. It does not apply to transfer from one government agency to another, reappointments, reemployment, and reclassification of position.

The CSC reminded agency heads to strictly observe the policy so as to avoid the disapproval or invalidation of promotional appointments.

The three-salary grade limit was imposed in 2001 to limit the promotion of favored employees to a very high position to the disadvantage of other qualified employees, as well as the selection of candidates for promotion to employees within the organizational unit or agency which can discourage fresh blood from entering into government service.