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  1. Field Management Directives

Employee Requested Transfers

Employee Requested Transfers
Operations Management
Date Revised:
January 04, 2013


To provide uniform guidelines and procedures for evaluating the requested transfer of ORA employees at all grade levels and job series to different ORA locations where no vacancy has been advertised and an employee is amenable to the transfer. This FMD does not pertain to transfers associated with a reduction in force (RIF) and does not necessarily exclude other agency employees.


From time to time, the need arises for a person with certain skills to be added at a specific location and an ORA employee indicates a willingness to transfer to that location, even though a vacancy has not yet been announced. There are several factors which ORA must consider in effecting the transfer of an ORA employee to another location in the absence of a vacancy announcement, such as:

  1. Staffing and fiscal restraints.
  2. Impact on Affirmative Action Plans and upward mobility of women and minority employees.
  3. Our encouragement of mobility for employees.
  4. The investment in training and development of an employee.
  5. The employee's job performance. (Employees with a current performance rating of less than fully successful will not be considered for transfer under this FMD.)

NOTE: A transfer effected under this FMD cannot be used to place an employee in a position with greater promotion potential than their position of record. Employees in probationary status (excepting employees on probation by virtue of their being new supervisors or managers) will not be considered under this procedure.


All ORA headquarters employees requesting transfer to a field office should follow the same procedures as below. Requests should be made through supervisory channels to the Director, Office of Operations (OO), who will consult with the RFDD to determine if the transfer can be effected.

1. Employee

If an employee wishes to be considered for a transfer to a different geographic area and no vacancy announcement is open at the time, the employee must submit a written application to his/her immediate supervisor. This request for transfer must include a detailed statement describing why he/she should be considered and supporting documentation (e.g., transfer of spouse, medical condition of employee or close relative of employee, eldercare, etc.) if applicable.

The existence of a long commute which the employee voluntarily selected when he/she chose to purchase a home, for example, is not adequate justification for a transfer under this FMD.

The application must also include: as many options as possible for relocation sites, the lowest grade and/or salary the employee is willing to accept, the tentative timeframe for transfer, and a copy of the employee's current SF-171.

2. Management

  1. The employee's immediate supervisor shall provide a copy of the employee's last two performance appraisals and, as appropriate, comment on the employee's SF-171. These records shall be attached to the employee's request and forwarded, within 10 working days, through appropriate channels to that employee's District Director.

    (When medical records are to be evaluated, this timeframe will be extended as necessary to obtain the review available through the FDA Employee Relations Branch and some HHS Regional Personnel Offices. This medical review will pay particular attention to: existence of a medical condition, illness or injury and the expected duration of this condition; availability of definitive medical treatment resources in the destination community; and the likelihood that the individual will suffer injury or harm as a result of progression or aggravation of the condition if the relocation to a specific destination does not take place.)

    NOTE: If management approves the transfer, management will also determine if the transfer is deemed primarily for the benefit of the employee or FDA. Relocation expenses may be paid in part if the transfer primarily benefits FDA. The law does not permit the Agency to pay for a transfer made primarily for the convenience or benefit of the employee.

  2. If the request is for a transfer from one district to another, the employee's current District Director will review the request and make a recommendation, within 10 working days, to his/her RFDD.
  3. The employee's current RFDD shall review the request. If the request for transfer is to another region, the RFDD shall forward the request to the RFDD of the region to which the employee seeks relocation. If the RFDDs can accommodate the transfer, or if the transfer is within one region, no other clearance is needed. Every effort will be made to reach a decision at this stage, within 10 working days of the receipt of the request from the DD.
  4. If the RFDDs cannot agree, the RFDD who would lose the employee will forward the request to OO for a final decision and provide the RFDD's respective rationale.
  5. The Director, OO, will review the recommendations, consider all factors involved, and consult with the Director, ORM, in reaching a decision. OO will notify the RFDDs of the final decision in writing within 30 working days, with a copy to the employee through appropriate management channels.

    Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate requests; however, circumstances may be such that a transfer cannot be approved.

  6. If an employee seeking a transfer contacts a district directly, that district should advise the employee to follow the procedures described in this FMD.
  7. All employees involved in the processing of transfers must be mindful of requirements of the Privacy Act and its implications.
  8. Under no circumstances shall an employee be advised or led to believe that a transfer has been or will be approved until written notice is obtained from the appropriate RFDD or the Director, OO.


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