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Rules on Designation in the Civil Service

Designation is one of the HR actions heavily relied upon by government agencies to keep its activities in order especially if there is serious lack of personnel. In the Philippine civil service, designation as an HR action is defined as “the imposition of additional and/or higher duties to be performed by a public official/employee which is temporary and can be terminated anytime at the pleasure of the appointing authority.” 

With the promulgation of the 2017 Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Human Resource Actions (ORAOHRA) last August 2017, changes in the rules on designation have been quite notable. For one, designation in the past was strictly understood as the imposition of additional duties while concurrently performing the duties attached to the position originally occupied. Under the new rules, however, the Commission has made it clear that a designation may involve the performance of the duties of another position either on concurrent or full-time capacity. This is interesting because, as it appears, an employee can be fully deloaded of his/her original functions through a designation so that he/she may perform the functions of another position on a full-time basis.

Another interesting innovation in the ORAOHRA is this express distinction between a designation as Officer-in-Charge and one in an Acting capacity –

Acting CapacityOfficer in Charge
exercises both ministerial and discretionary functions attached to the position because he/she is deemed to be the incumbentEnjoy limited powers confined to administrative functions and ensuring that the office continues its usual activities

As for the rest of the rules under Section 13 (c) of the ORAOHRA, allow me to simplify :

1 – Designations must be made through an Office Order issued by the appointing officer/authority concerned.

2 – Employees to be designated must hold permanent appointments to career positions. – This means that employees who hold casual, temporary, substitute, fixed term, and non-career positions cannot be given designations.

3 – A qualified employee can only be designated to a position within the level he/she is occupying. –  Thus, a first-level employee can only be designated to first-level positions while second level employees can only be designated to second level positions. But, Division Chiefs may be designated to second level executive/managerial or third level positions.

4 – An agency can request exception with the proper CSC Regional Office so that they may be allowed to designate a first level employee to a second level position.  Exception will only be granted in meritorious cases such as organizational set-up, calamity, or exigency of the service. Take note that the exemption will not apply to designations to supervisory and executive managerial positions, irrespective of the reason for the request.

5 – The period of designation to a position with an incumbent who temporarily cannot perform the duties of the position (due to official leave or other legitimate reasons) is synchronized with the period of temporary absence. (e.g. 6 months of study leave of incumbent = 6 months designation of designee). In this case, the designation can be renewed every year but not to exceed two years. The agency head cam revoke or recall the designation earlier if he/she deems proper.

6 – The period of designation to a position without an incumbent is at one year maximum. However, in the exigency of the service, this can also be renewed every year but not to exceed two years.

7 – Employees cannot be designated to positions with duties involving the practice of profession (e.g. Accountant, Legal Officer, Dentist, Nutritionist-Dietician) unless they possess the necessary license of such position.

8 – The Human Resource Management Officer of local government units are required to furnish a copy of the designation order to the proper CSC Field Office if the designation covers critical positions such as that of a Department Head.

9 – The designated employee is not entitled to the salary of the position he/she is designated. However, he/she may be granted RATA (Representation and Transportation Allowance) or EME (Extrardinary and Miscellaneous Expenses) which comes with the performance of the function, provided that the grant is specifically stated in the designation order; and

10 – Only experience gained from a valid designation (compliant with the above rules) will be credited as relevant experience for purposes of appointment.

So there you have it! I hope that, with the help of the unequivocal rules laid down in the ORAOHRA, government agencies will be able to issue appropriate designations to improve the delivery of its services.

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