White House Wants to Increase Federal Employee Buyout Payments

The Trump administration has asked Congress to increase the amount agencies can offer employees for early retirement from $25,000 to $40,000 as it gears up for major workforce reductions in some agencies.

An Office of Management and Budget spokesperson confirmed that the Defense Department made the request to Congress last month. In the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress approved a one-year pilot program allowing for a maximum $40,000 buyout for civilian defense employees through the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment program.

The annual defense authorization bill for fiscal 2018 (H.R.2810) is slated to receive a floor vote in the House later this week. The bill currently would extend last year’s pilot program until 2021, but it does not appear to expand it to all agencies. For more, click here.

Proposed Regs for Administrative Leave Restrictions

With the signing of the Administrative Leave Act of 2016, enacted under section 1138 of the National Defense Authorization Act on December 24, 2016, Congress passed legislation restricting the use of administrative leave for federal employees.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has now proposed new regulations implementing the requirements of the Administrative Leave Act. Comments on the regulations are due before August 14, 2017.

For more: https://www.fedsmith.com/2017/07/17/regs-proposed-administrative-leave-restrictions/

New Human Capital Framework

OPM has issued a new rule in 5 CFR 250 intended to align human capital management practices to broader agency strategic planning activities, and better align human capital activities with an agency’s mission and strategic goals. This will enable agency leadership to better leverage the workforce to achieve results. In addition, the final regulation will allow agencies to gather additional information from employee surveys. The rule is effective April 11, 3017.

5 CFR 250 1216 (Federal Register, Vol. 81, No. 238, 12/12/16)

Regulatory Change for OF 306

OPM has issued a final rule, effective January 3rd, 2017, that prohibits an agency from making specific inquiries concerning an applicant’s criminal or adverse credit background of the sort asked on the OF306,”Declaration of Federal Employment” in its “Background Information” section, or in other forms used to determine suitability or conduct background investigations for Federal employment, until a hiring agency has made a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. The compliance date for the final rule will be March 31st, 2017.

Changes in Federal Probationary Periods

Legislation resulted in a change to probationary period that applies only to employees who are appointed to permanent positions in the competitive service in DoD.

“The probationary period for many new civilian employees hired by the Defense Department on or after Nov. 26, 2015, has changed from one year to two years, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy said.”

https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/961606/dod-announces-new-hire-probationary-period

However, Congress is considering extending it to all civilian employees, which as with all things Congressional may or may not happen and probably would not happen quickly.

“The House of Representatives’ Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Government Managers Coalition (GMC) and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) have asked the committee to consider extending the probationary period covering new federal employees. The committee is expected to consider the proposal in its next scheduled session on January 12, 2016.”

http://www.fedsmith.com/2016/01/11/expanding-the-probationary-period-for-new-federal-employees/#sthash.IkLNDnGf.dpuf