Temporary Land Management Employees May Soon Have Pathway to Permanent Employment
The Office of Personnel Management on Friday published proposed regulations that would allow temporary employees at six agencies to apply for permanent posts through merit promotion procedures.
The Office of Personnel Management on Friday moved to implement two laws that would allow temporary employees at six land management agencies to apply for permanent posts across the federal government using merit promotion procedures.
Currently, employees hired on a temporary basis, typically for terms of one year, are barred from applying for non-entry level permanent posts through promotion procedures because they are reserved for career and career-conditional employees. This effectively bars these workers from any avenue to advance their careers within the federal government.
The 2015 Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act and the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act both authorized providing a “pathway” for temporary land management workers to seek permanent career-track jobs.
In proposed regulations published to the Federal Register Friday, OPM wrote that six agencies are included in Congress’ “land management agency” description: the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Reclamation.
In order to be eligible to apply for a permanent job through the new promotion pathway, term employees must have spent at least 24 months in their current post, without a break of two or more years, and their performance must be rated at least acceptable for the entirety of their tenure. Former temporary employees also must have at least two years of “acceptable” tenure, but they must wait at least two years after they left federal service to apply for a permanent position.
In cases where employees are applying for a permanent job at their current agency—or their most recent employer for former employees—they may be considered as part of the merit promotion procedures when an agency is accepting applications from within its own workforce.
But if temporary or former temporary employees apply to a permanent job at another federal agency, including those outside of the six aforementioned land management agencies, they must wait until that agency has begun accepting applications from individuals outside of its own workforce.
“When considering applicants under the act, agencies must adhere to their merit promotion procedures and any applicable and enforceable collective bargaining agreements into which the agency may have entered,” OPM wrote. “This means land management eligible must be rated and ranked with other merit promotion candidates under the same assessment criteria as the other applicants. The appointing official may select any candidate from among the best qualified group of applicants.”
OPM is soliciting comments on these proposed rules between now and July 14.
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