From hiring freezes to government shutdowns, there is no shortage of bad policies coming from the Trump White House. Now the administration is rolling out some major anti-worker changes to personnel policies as part of its public service deconstruction plan.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is proposing four new regulations and planning to finalize a fifth rule proposed about two years ago. The proposed rules will need to be published in the Federal Register for public comment. The fifth rule may be issued and put into effect shortly.
1. Making more federal employees term employees
Just because the gig economy has made employment for so many Americans unstable and insecure doesn’t mean the federal government should follow suit. But this new rule will do just that.
The rule allows appointments of up to 10 years for certain science and engineering positions. These federal employees would have to “recompete” for their jobs every few years. This is part of an effort to make all federal employees renewable term employees.
This regulation is designed to politicize the career civil service as political appointees and bad managers could simply allow an employee’s term to expire if they didn’t like the employee – for any or no reason, and with absolutely no recourse for employees.
We’ve already seen how forced relocations and rejection of basic science have led to an exodus of qualified, career civil servants and researchers, and this rule would be another way for political agendas to harm our country’s important, long-term research.
2. Allowing for more direct hires
The direct hire authorities, including removal of administrative law judges from the competitive service, are similarly designed to politicize the career civil service. Many of these appointments will be in the “excepted service” – meaning job applicants don’t have to go through a competitive hiring process such as a written test or an evaluation of education and experience. Agency managers simply set their own requirements and hire whomever they want, regardless of qualifications.
3. Changing administrative leave rules
This rule, which has previously been proposed and will soon become final, would allow employees who are facing an investigation or adverse action to be placed on administrative leave for a maximum of 10 days per calendar year. After that, they have to be put on one of the two newly created paid-leave categories: investigative or notice leave. This is simply politicized personnel policy as it puts the punishment before the investigation of the facts, allowing employees to be punished on the basis of an allegation.
4. Extending seasonal employee appointments
This rule allows agencies to keep seasonal employees on the job longer. This may sound harmless on the surface, but it actually promotes endless back-to-back temporary and term appointments. Instead of being hired as full-time employees with workplace rights and fair compensation, these seasonal employees will remain temporary workers despite working the same hours as full-time employees.
5. Allowing temporary and seasonal employees to enroll in dental and vision plans
This proposed change is not objectionable, but since employees have to foot 100% of the premiums, it’s not particularly useful to the employees either.
Tired of being targeted by this administration?
Join together in union to fight back and inform your colleagues about the disastrous impacts if these policies are allowed to go into effect. Only when federal employees stand united, together, and speak with one voice do we have the power to stand up against a bullying administration like this.
That’s why it’s so important that every member of your bargaining unit join your union now! Visit www.afge.org/join and join us now!