The government-wide restriction on administrative leave in disciplinary situations that was enacted just as Congress prepared to adjourn was one of many proposals considered in 2016 in response to what sponsors called a lack of accountability in the federal workplace for poor performance or misconduct. Most of those proposals made only partial progress, though, and could be atop the list for another try in 2017. These include extending from one year to two the standard probationary period for newly hired employees–and those promoted to supervisory, managerial or executive positions–as now applies at DoD; and shortening the time employees have available to respond to proposed discipline and limiting rights to appeal. Proposals regarding the disciplinary and appeals process focused on the VA, in light of its long-running scandal over appointment scheduling and patient care, proposals widely seen as models for later application government-wide. The House passed several such bills, some applying only to senior executives and some applying department-wide but the Senate never acted despite producing a bipartisan bill of its own with many similar provisions. Another try is expected, especially since the Trump campaign had named pursuing such changes at VA as one of its top government management priorities. One change enacted only for the VA that also is seen as setting precedent was strengthening certain protections for whistleblowers there; the Trump campaign also had listed whistleblower protection as a priority.
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