Federal employees generally could not be put on administrative leave for more than 14 days a year related to discipline for poor performance or misconduct, under HR-4359, passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That is one of several bills advancing in Congress to address use of that form of paid time off, also called excused absence, following reports of agencies using it extensively and sometimes for long periods when considering disciplinary actions. The Senate counterpart committee recently passed a bill (S-2450) that generally would limit the leave to no more than five days. Both create a presumption that employees would be returned to work—possibly through reassignments or telework—if an agency had not made a decision at the end of the initial period, while allowing for additional paid leave under limited circumstances. Also passed by the House committee was HR-4392, requiring OPM to issue an annual report detailing government-wide use of official time, which is paid time that employees may use for certain union-related duties; OPM issued such annual reports for a number of years but its most recent figures date to 2012. The panel also approved HR-4639, strengthening OSC’s powers to investigate claims of retaliation against whistleblowers and requiring an annual report on complaints of reprisal and other “prohibited personnel practices”; and HR-4361, specifying that federal employee unions may not bargain over planned computer security improvements.
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