Employee Performance Management System
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283

References

  • SC Code of Laws § 8-11-230 (6)


  • SC Code of Laws § 8-17-380


  • State HR Regulations Section 19-715 Adobe Acrobat


  • EPMS Model Policy 


  • EPMS Performance Characteristics


  • EPMS Form


  • EPMS Online Training


  • The following questions and answers do not apply to instructional personnel. Institutions of higher learning may have probationary periods that are longer than 12-months duration which may require adjustment in the answers below. Persons who become TERI participants after June 6, 2005 and retired members of SCRS or PORS who are hired into a FTE position do not have grievance rights, and therefore do not serve probationary periods.
    Probationary Period

    Q: When does the review period begin and end for a probationary employee in an FTE position?
    A: For a probationary employee, the review period begins on the date of employment and ends the day before the annual performance review date. For example, an employee who is hired on December 2nd should have his annual review completed on or before December 1st of the following year.

    Q: What benefits does an employee receive during the probationary period and after the successful completion of a probationary period?
    A: During the probationary period, the probationary employee receives leave and may participate in retirement, insurance, and deferred compensation benefits. Insurance benefits are only available for employees working at least a 30-hour workweek. If the employee successfully completes the probationary period, the employee becomes covered under the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act and becomes eligible for recall and reinstatement rights in the event of a reduction-in-force.

    Q: Is an employee ever required to complete another probationary period?
    A: Once a probationary period has been completed, the covered employee does not serve another probationary period, provided there is no break in state service or movement from a position covered by the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act.

    Q: Can an employee's partially completed probationary time in one State agency be counted toward completion of a probationary period in another State agency?
    A: The agency head or his designee may count up to six months of continuous satisfactory service toward completion of the probationary period in accordance with the State Human Resources Regulations.

    Q: What happens to the probationary period of an employee who is promoted, demoted, reclassified, or reassigned, prior to completion of the probationary period?
    A: The employee would start a new 12-month probationary period. However, at his discretion, the agency head or his designee may count up to six months of continuous satisfactory service in the previous class toward the employee's probationary period which would result in a reduction in the length of the employee's performance review period.

    Q: Can an employee's probationary period be extended?
    A: An employee’s probationary period cannot be extended beyond 12 months

    Q: How does a trial period differ from a probationary period?
    A: The probationary period occurs upon an employee's initial employment. A trial period occurs when a covered employee experiences a change in state class title.
    Trial Period

    Q: When does a trial period begin and end for an employee?
    A: Generally, a trial period is a six month test period immediately following a covered employee's promotion, reclassification, demotion, reassignment or transfer to a classification in which he has never attained permanent status. Upon successful completion of a trial period, the employee attains permanent status in the class. The trial period provides the supervisor an opportunity to observe an employee's performance prior to the employee receiving permanent status in a new classification.

    Q: Can an employee's trial period be extended?
    A: An employee's trial period may be extended for up to 90 calendar days upon written notification to the employee of the extension prior to the end of the six-month trial period.

    Q: What happens if an employee receives a "below" rating on his evaluation before completing his trial period?
    A: If the employee has been promoted, reclassified, or reassigned and does not successfully complete the trial period, the employee may be demoted, reclassified, or reassigned back to his old position or a position equal to his old position from which he was promoted without recourse through the grievance process. If a transfer from another agency is involved, the agency has the option of reassigning the employee to a position similar to the prior position. If the covered employee is terminated, he would have grievance rights.

    Q: Does an employee serve a new trial period when moving to a class in which he previously held permanent status?
    A: When an employee's state class title changes to a class in which he has previously completed a successful trial period and attained permanent status in the class, he does not serve another trial period.

    Q: After the successful completion of a trial period, when is the next annual performance review date?
    A: The annual performance review date is established one calendar year from the end of the trial period. For example, if the employee's trial period ends on January 1st, the annual performance review date is January 2nd; therefore the employee's evaluation must be completed by January 1st of the next year.
    Performance Review Date

    Q: What happens to an employee's annual performance review date if he is promoted, demoted, reassigned, transferred, or reclassified?
    A: The employee's annual performance review date is reestablished six months from the date of promotion, demotion, reclassification, reassignment or transfer and yearly thereafter.

    Q: When does the review period begin and end for a probationary employee?
    A: For a probationary employee, the review period begins on the date of employment and ends the day before the annual performance review date. For example, an employee who is hired on December 2nd should have his annual review completed on or before December 1st of the following year.

    Q: What happens to the annual performance review date of an employee who has been promoted or reclassified upward and is demoted or reclassified downward to the previous class before completing the evaluation period?
    A: When an employee is promoted or reclassified upward, and prior to attaining permanent status in the class is demoted or reclassified downward to the same class, he would retain the original performance review date.

    Q: Who is responsible for the evaluation when an employee's supervisor changes during the review period?
    A: When an employee's supervisor changes during the review period, the previous supervisor may complete the employee's evaluation within 90 days of the annual performance review date, or the new supervisor is responsible for completing the evaluation with or without the previous supervisor's input.

    Q: Who is responsible for an employee's evaluation when the employee transfers to another agency in the same class?
    A: The new supervisor is responsible for the evaluation because the annual performance review date will advance six months upon the transfer of the employee.

    Q: After the employee's review period begins, what is the earliest date that the supervisor can complete the employee's evaluation?
    A: The supervisor can complete the employee's evaluation any time during the 90 days before the conclusion of the employee's review period.

    Q: After the successful completion of a trial period, when is the next annual performance review date?
    A: The annual performance review date is established one calendar year from the end of the trial period. For example, if the employee's trial period ends on January 1st, the annual performance review date is January 2nd; therefore, the employee's evaluation must be completed by January 1st of the next year.
    Universal Review Date

    Q: What is a universal review date?
    A: A universal review date is the one date on which annual performance reviews are due for all employees in an agency or every employee in an organizational unit.

    Q: How does an agency implement a universal review date?
    A: The agency must update its EPMS policy to include provisions for a universal review date. As of the effective date of this policy, the agency will phase in a short year review period until the universal review date occurs.

    Q: What is a short year review?
    A: A short year review is a performance appraisal that evaluates an employee’s performance for a period of time less than twelve months to phase into a universal review date or to adjust an employee onto an annual performance review date triggered by certain personnel actions.

    Q: When would an employee receive a short year review?
    A: An agency should use a short year review in: trial periods new policy implementation probationary periods substandard performances leave without pay the event an employee is affected by a reduction in force who is recalled or reinstated.
    Planning Stage

    Q: What is the purpose of the planning stage?
    A: The planning stage is designed to outline job duties and performance expectations for the rating period.

    Q: How do the job duties on the position description relate to the elements of an EPMS planning stage?
    A: The job duties are used to identify the specific job functions that will be reviewed for the rating period and identify the success criteria for evaluating the employee's performance.

    Q: When should employees be given a planning stage?
    A: Each employee should have a planning stage conducted as soon as possible at the beginning of each rating period. Good management practices encourage the planning stage to be completed within at least the first six weeks of the beginning of the rating period.

    Q: Are objectives on an EPMS evaluation optional for all employees?
    A: Objectives are optional for all employees and not a requirement on an EPMS evaluation. The agency may determine whether to use objectives for all its employees.
    Evaluation Stage

    Q: How far in advance of the annual review date can the rater complete an employee's EPMS evaluation?
    A: The rater can complete the employee's EPMS evaluation up to 90 days prior to the annual performance review date which does not change the annual performance review date.

    Q: What happens if an employee does not receive an EPMS evaluation prior to the end of the rating period?
    A: The rater must complete the employee's EPMS evaluation by the close of business on the day before the employee's annual performance review date or the employee will receive a "successful" rating by default. EPMS documents should be completed prior to the annual performance review date. Good management practices encourage the rater to complete the employee's EPMS evaluation even after the annual performance review date has been missed.
    Q: Can a reviewer change the rater's (supervisor's) rating on an EPMS evaluation? A: The rater's rating on an EPMS evaluation can be changed by a reviewer only if it is allowed by the agency's EPMS policy.

    Q: What can employees do if they disagree with their EPMS evaluation rating?
    A: Employees may attach a response to the EPMS evaluation stating their reasons for the disagreement. The EPMS rating is neither grievable nor appealable under the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act.

    Q: What must an agency do to use less or more than the standard four levels of performance in its EPMS policy?
    A: To use less or more than the standard three levels of performance in its EPMS policy, the agency should consult its human resources consultant since its reduction in force must be updated and approved by the Office of Human Resources. The policy must have a conversion for the standard four levels of performance for merit pay and reduction-in-force purposes.

    Q: What happens if employees refuse to sign their EPMS evaluation forms?
    A: If employees refuse to sign their EPMS evaluation form, the rater should note the refusal on the form. If there is a witness to the refusal, the witness should also sign the form.
    Substandard Performance

    Q: Under what circumstances can an employee be given a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance"?
    A: If during the performance period an employee is considered "unsuccessful" in any essential job function or objective which significantly impacts performance, the rater should provide the employee with a written "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance".

    Q: What are the requirements of a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance"?
    A: The requirements of a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" are: The notice shall be in writing, addressed to the employee, labeled as a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance," and signed by the employee (witnessed, if employee will not sign). The notice shall list the job function(s) and/or objective(s) included on the employee's planning document that are considered "unsuccessful," with an explanation of the deficiencies for each job function and/or objective.The notice shall include the time period for improvement and the consequences if no improvement is noted (i.e., dismissal, demotion, reassignment). The notice shall include a plan for evaluating employee progress during the warning period. In addition, a copy of the notice shall be given to the employee and placed in the employee's official personnel file.

    Q: When performance problems exist during an employee's probationary period, is it necessary for supervisors to issue a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance"?
    A: While coaching and counseling may be used to improve an employee's performance, the use of a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" is not required in a probationary period. If an employee is not performing satisfactorily during the probationary period, the employee may be terminated before becoming a covered employee. Until an employee has completed the probationary period and has a "successful" or higher overall rating on the employee's performance evaluation, the employee has no grievance rights under the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act.

    Q: When a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" is issued how much time is given for improvement?
    A: The "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" must provide for an improvement period of no less than 30 calendar days and no more than 120 calendar days. The "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" may be issued at any time during the review period. Ordinarily, the warning period may not extend beyond the employee's annual performance review date. However, if the "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" is issued less than 30 days before the employee's annual performance review date, the annual performance review date would roll forward a day for each day the "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" is in effect.

    Q: During the improvement period, should the rating occur on one specific date or within a range of several days?
    A: It is recommended that a supervisor plan for a range of several days instead of one specific date to complete the employee's rating during the improvement period.

    Q: What happens if a review is not completed by the designated time frame for improvement?
    A: Once a time frame for improving substandard performance has been given, the employee must be rated prior to the end of the warning period or the employee will receive a "successful" rating by default.

    Q: Can a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" be extended?
    A: A "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" can be extended; however, the entire period cannot extend beyond 120 calendar days from the date that an employee is issued a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance".

    Q: How many "Warning Notices of Substandard Performance" can an employee receive in a 365-day period?
    A: Upon the third occurrence of a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" within a 365-day period, an employee shall be removed from the position without further notice.

    Q: What happens if an employee's performance improves to the "successful" or above level during a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" period?
    A: The employee is given written notice indicating the improvements that were made. The notice is placed in the employee's personnel file and he continues to perform his regular job duties. This action does not alter the annual performance review date.

    Q: What happens if an employee's performance does not improve to the "successful" or above level during a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance"?
    A: By the end of the warning period, if the employee is rated "unsuccessful" on any essential job function or objective which significantly impacts performance as noted in the "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance", the employee shall be removed from the position immediately (i.e. terminated, reassigned, demoted).

    Q: Can an employee grieve or appeal a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance"?
    A: According to the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act, a "Warning Notice of Substandard Performance" is not grievable or appealable. However, if an employee is subsequently demoted or terminated, these actions may be grievable or appealable.