Federal workers on fast-track "career ladder" programs that permit one- and two-grade promotions (and pay raises) every 12 months could find themselves stalled if the Reagan administration's tough new performance standards go into effect.

The new performance guides would also determine who gets within-grade (longevity) pay raises, and who gets fired during reductions in force (RIFs).

They are part of a package of sweeping federal personnel changes the administration is pushing to put the final touches on the civil service reform act inherited from the Carter administration.

Federal agencies and employes have until May 31 to comment (to the Office of Personnel Management) on the proposals published two weeks ago in the Federal Register.

Most of the changes will go into effect this fall unless Congress blocks them.

Federal worker unions and most employes see the changes as an updated version of the Spanish Inquisition.

Under present rules, workers in most career ladder programs--including but not limited to management analysts, employe development specialists and education program specialists--can get promotions every 12 months if they get "satisfactory" or "fully successful" ratings from their bosses.

The proposed changes would limit career ladder promotions at Grade 9 and above to one every three years for those with a rating of "fully successful." More frequent promotions would only be possible for better-than-average performers.

For example, an employe with a rating of "exceeds fully successful" would be eligible for a career ladder promotion every two years. The only people in the career ladder program who could get annual promotions above the Grade 9 ($20,256-$26,331) level would be those with "outstanding" ratings.