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Annual Employee Viewpoint Survey Coming Next Month, and More

A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.

The Office of Personnel Management announced Wednesday that its annual survey measuring federal employee job satisfaction will go out to the federal workforce next month, with an eye toward returning to the traditional spring survey period in 2022.

The 2021 iteration of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey will go out to all federal employees in two five-week phases, the first beginning Nov. 1 and the second starting Nov. 8.

In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said the “core” questions that form the basis for metrics like employee engagement and morale remain unchanged from last year’s survey, and OPM will continue to ask feds about their agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That will allow agencies to more easily compare data across multiple years, as well as prepare to return to the traditional spring survey solicitation period.

“A major consideration in planning for the 2021 survey was the expressed interest of most agencies in returning to a spring administration of the OPM [viewpoint survey] in 2022,” Ahuja wrote. “Plans for the 2021 OPM [survey] have been developed to ease the administrative burden of conducting two surveys in quick succession.”

That said, there will be some changes in this year’s survey. OPM is expanding who is eligible to fill it out, to include temporary, seasonal and otherwise part-time employees, and it will streamline the reports OPM provides to agencies to make it easier to prepare for another survey period next spring. Ahuja wrote that a schedule of how it will roll out the various reports based on the survey will come later this fall.

“The 2021 survey provides employees an opportunity to participate in data collection with the potential to shape future policies and interagency learning regarding human capital management in the face of an emergency,” Ahuja wrote. “The OPM FEVS continues to be one of the most powerful platforms for federal employees to share their opinions and perceptions regarding work experiences influencing productivity, enabling leadership to identify improvements necessary to realize greater workplace effectiveness and efficiencies.”

Eastern Pennsylvania Added to Hurricane Leave Transfer Program

OPM announced last week that it has added several counties in eastern Pennsylvania to the existing emergency leave transfer program established to help federal employees impacted by Hurricane Ida in September.

After Ida made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi in late August, it moved up the East Coast, causing flooding and other storm damage in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. OPM first established an emergency leave transfer program, which authorizes agencies to create a bank of leave for federal employees to donate to their colleagues impacted by a disaster, on Sept. 3. But a week later, President Biden expanded the disaster declaration to include Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties in Pennsylvania.

As a result, federal employees in those counties may now use donated leave from their colleagues for the purposes of taking time off to recover from the storm’s impact. Employees who wish to receive emergency leave through the program must apply in writing to their agencies, who are responsible for setting up leave banks to which other federal workers can donate.