OPM drops time limit to boost military spouse hiring

Husbands and wives of service members disabled or killed in the line of duty soon will have indefinite noncompetitive eligibility for government jobs.

In a final rule to be published in Wednesday's Federal Register, the Office of Personnel Management will eliminate a two-year limit on a special hiring authority for the spouses of disabled or deceased military personnel. The new regulation will provide indefinite eligibility for spouses who are not prepared to enter the workforce within that period because they are still grieving, they are enrolled in school or training programs, or they are caring for children or their disabled spouse.

OPM in 2009 implemented a rule to allow agencies to hire the husbands or wives of members of the armed forces without comparing them to other candidates if the service member is transferred to a new location permanently, becomes completely disabled during active duty (though the injuries do not have to result from combat), or dies during an active-duty assignment.

Husbands or wives whose eligibility is based on relocation orders still would have to comply with the original two-year time frame. Findings from the Integrated Process Team for Spouse Employment and Empowerment organized by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff showed that spouses of deceased or disabled service members were not using the hiring authority, while those affected by relocation had no problem with the two-year requirement.

"All other noncompetitive hiring authorities have a time limitation for appointment eligibility," OPM wrote. "Elimination of the two-year window for [permanent change of station] military spouses would create an inconsistency between this group and other individuals eligible for noncompetitive entry into federal service."

The rule will take effect in 30 days.

Katie Savant, government relations deputy director at the National Military Family Association, said the organization is pleased with the indefinite extension of noncompetitive eligibility for surviving spouses. Agencies also could use additional clarification on the application of the hiring authority, she said.

The Obama administration is taking steps to increase the hiring of military spouses in government and the private sector. Officials in June launched the Military Spouse Employment Partnership to direct husbands and wives of service members from all military branches to long-term career opportunities. The program aims to match the skills of military spouses who want to work with the needs of businesses nationwide.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.