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Memorandum on Utilization of Older Workers in the Federal Service.

March 14, 1963

Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and Agencies:

In the message to the Congress transmitting my recommendations relating to a program for our older citizens, I pointed out that it is the policy of the Federal Government as an employer to evaluate each job applicant on the basis of ability, not age. This policy is intended to assure that the Government obtains the best possible talent from the widest range of choice.

The Federal Government has been an exemplary employer in this regard. There is no age restriction on appointments to competitive positions. However, with older persons constituting an ever increasing proportion of the Nation's work force and with growing evidence that older persons are capable of the highest quality work, Federal appointing officers shall take positive steps to insure that current practice carries out this .policy. Older persons must receive fair and full consideration for employment and advancement in the competitive service. Personnel actions should be based, in accordance with merit principles, solely on the ability of candidates to meet qualification requirements and physical standards of the position to be filled.

With respect to Federal personnel systems outside the competitive service, these same principles are to be followed. All departments and agencies are requested to review their policies and practices regarding maximum age limits in other than the competitive service, and to take steps to insure that such limits are established only when absolutely necessary.


John F. Kennedy, Memorandum on Utilization of Older Workers in the Federal Service. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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