DoD has presented its unions with a draft of desired changes in personnel policies that in many ways would harken back to its former NSPS system that featured a stronger link between pay and performance, along with greater management rights to impose disciplinary actions. While some of the ideas could be put in place at the Pentagon’s discretion, others would require changes in law. Initial union reaction was highly negative, though, and it was such opposition that ultimately led to repeal of the NSPS in 2009 (employees were mostly phased back into the GS system over the following year) only several years after it was up and running. Among the provisions that would require legislation are: extending existing pay for performance programs for certain components within DoD, including several demonstration projects, department-wide following a feasibility study set to start as soon as October 1; lengthening the standard probationary period for new employees from one year to two; moving all employees not in bargaining unit into the excepted service; broadening the circumstances in which employees facing discipline could be immediately suspended without pay with no option to be put on paid “administrative leave,” shorten the time they have to answer proposed discipline and shorten the time they have to appeal actual discipline to the MSPB (from 30 days to seven, in both cases); and making performance the first factor in RIF decisions, rather than the last of the four. The Senate version of the pending annual DoD authorization bill already contains similar language regarding the probationary period and RIF retention, so those provisions could be put in law as soon as the upcoming months. The rest likely would be proposed and considered by Congress in next year’s budgetary cycle.
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