Author Archive

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner

Erich Wagner is a staff correspondent covering pay, benefits and other federal workforce issues. He joined Government Executive in the spring of 2017 after extensive experience writing about state and local issues in Maryland and Virginia, most recently as editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Erich Wagner is a staff correspondent covering pay, benefits and other federal workforce issues. He joined Government Executive in the spring of 2017 after extensive experience writing about state and local issues in Maryland and Virginia, most recently as editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Management

OPM Finalizes Rule on Trump Executive Order to Ease Firing and Discipline of Feds

Regulations set to go into effect next month will implement several key provisions of President Trump’s executive order.

Management

White VA Employees Twice as Likely to Be Promoted as Black Workers

The American Federation of Government Employees said Thursday that new data it obtained via the Freedom of Information Act underscores its allegations of systemic racism pervading the Veterans Affairs Department.

Pay & Benefits

Feds Will Pay 4.9% More Toward Health Care Premiums Next Year

The Office of Personnel Management said Wednesday that it has revamped its online plan comparison tool and encouraged greater transparency from insurance carriers to tamp down on surprise billing.

Pay & Benefits

Retiree COLA Set at 1.3% Next Year, Prompting Calls for Change

Organization calls on Congress to shift the metric upon which annual cost of living adjustments for Social Security and federal retirement benefits are based from the general price of goods to one that takes into account spending by the elderly.

Pay & Benefits

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Make Payroll Tax Deferral Optional

Legislation requiring workers, including federal employees and military service members, to consent in writing to have their Social Security taxes deferred between now and the end of the year has the support of nearly 20 employee groups.

Pay & Benefits

OPM Seeks to Limit Back Pay Awards for Employees, Unions

Officials at the Office of Personnel Management want to upend a nearly 40-year-old set of regulations, restricting which actions are subject to grievances under the Back Pay Act, and banning unions from being awarded attorney's fees when their members win their cases.

Management

Civil Rights Groups Pressure VA Ahead of GAO Racism Audit

GAO has agreed to investigate the prevalence racism at the Veterans Affairs Department after a survey revealed that the vast majority of bargaining unit employees had either experienced or witnessed acts of discrimination on the job.

Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers Revive Push to Make Feds’ Payroll Tax Deferral Optional

The effort to pressure the Trump administration into allowing federal employees to opt out of the controversial initiative to delay collection of Social Security taxes until next year is now bipartisan.

Pay & Benefits

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect All Feds’ Leave Following COVID

Although OPM’s current policy only waives the 30-day annual leave cap for essential employees who are unable to use their leave due to their duties responding to the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats in Congress want to extend the waiver to all federal workers.

Management

OPM Memo Puts Pause on Diversity Training Across Government

The Trump administration is pushing forward with its controversial purge of training it deems “un-American.”

Management

Labor Authority Abandons Decades of Precedent, Eviscerates Union Bargaining Rights

Across multiple decisions on Wednesday, the agency that governs federal sector labor law removed unions’ right to midterm bargaining and made it harder for unions to demand agencies bargain over changes to working conditions.

Pay & Benefits

TSP Funds Hit the Skids in September

After months of gains, most of the portfolios in the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program ended September in the red.

Management

OPM Updates Job Qualifications Following Hiring Executive Order

The Office of Personnel Management is asking agencies for feedback on a draft list of the qualifications required for federal jobs as part of the implementation of a recent executive order emphasizing applicants’ skills and experience, rather simply education.

Pay & Benefits

More Feds Subject to Mandatory Payroll Tax Deferral Than Initially Thought

The National Treasury Employees Union on Friday said that the Trump administration failed to clarify that the controversial initiative applies to those making $4,000 or less after several pre-tax deductions, not their gross pay.

Pay & Benefits

Biden Vows to Raise Federal Employees' Pay and Protect Benefits

In a questionnaire published by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, the former vice president said he would abandon efforts by the Trump administration to force federal workers to contribute more to their defined benefit retirement accounts.

Management

Unions Dispute Government’s Latest Effort to Dismiss Impasse Panel Challenges

The Trump administration on Tuesday cited a federal appellate court decision affirming that claims against the president’s workforce executive orders must go through an administrative process to support dismissing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Federal Service Impasses Panel appointments, but unions say the cases are unrelated.

Management

Arbitrator Finds Trump Workforce Orders Violate Law

An independent arbitrator ruled that the president cannot reduce the scope of bargaining between an agency and a labor group “by fiat.”