The OPM defines “acting” as the type of situation in which one SES official may stand in for another. For example, a Deputy has the responsibility and authority to perform an SES-level Director’s duties in that Director’s absence.
This acting capacity is meant to cover short-term absences. If the length of the acting assignment extends the timeline outlined in 5 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 317.903., then the provisions of that code — including competition requirements — apply.
OPM regulations on serving as a detail for an SES position are also outlined in 5 CFR 317.903. The provision specifies a detail as the temporary assignment of a non-SES member is to an SES position. Under a detail, the non-SES member continues to receive their regular pay and benefits. For example, a GS-15 detailed to an SES position will continue to be paid the GS-15 salary rate for their position of record.
Under paragraph (b) of 5 CFR 317.903, agencies are required to use competitive procedures for details longer than 240 days. If the detailed non-SES member is supervising SES members as part of the assignment, the agencies must receive approval from OPM to extend the detail longer than 240 days.