OPM modifies rules for hiring veterans

klunney@govexec.com

Federal agencies must hire veterans using normal competitive procedures because of changes to the 1998 Veterans Employment Opportunities Act, the Office of Personnel Management has announced.

Previously, OPM said agencies should use special noncompetitive Schedule B hiring authority to hire veterans under the act, which granted veterans special privileges for federal employment not previously available. Congress worried that the special hiring authority prevented veterans hired under the act from competing for job promotions within their agencies, so lawmakers included an amendment to the act in the 1999 Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act.

The amendment requires agencies to use normal competitive procedures for all new veteran hires under the 1998 act. The amendment is retroactive to Oct. 31, 1998, meaning that any veterans hired under the act since then must be moved from Schedule B positions to standard competitive positions.

The 1998 act applied to veterans who had served a minimum of three years in the military. The amendment gives agencies the authority to hire people who fall just shy of the three-year minimum, since some military personnel are released from duty a few days short of three years.

OPM has posted questions and answers about the changes on its Web site.

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