The Trump administration has put out further guidance on the exceptions to its general federal hiring freeze, clarifying for example that internal career ladder promotions of current federal employees are exempt. That had been the general assumption in the federal personnel community, since the original freeze memo focused on the filling of vacancies and such promotions do not involve a vacancy but rather an upgrade of a current position. Also, “conversions in the ordinary course to competitive service” can continue in programs such as the Veterans Recruitment Act and Pathways Program. Also still allowed is placement of persons with job restoration rights, such as those returning from injury compensation status or returning from active military duty, and the filling of positions “under programs where limiting the hiring of personnel would conflict with applicable law.” Details of employees between agencies also remain allowed, although agencies are not to use them to “circumvent the intent of the hiring freeze.” Similarly, a “limited number” of voluntary transfers of current SES members between agencies will be allowed, and agencies may move employees internally through noncompetitive reassignments for “preservation of national security and other essential services.” Further, employees currently serving under temporary or term appointments may be continued up to the maximum time for that appointment. Prior to the new memo, the only formal guidance regarding the impact on current employees was a short OMB memo clarifying that persons who had confirmed job offers–which could include some federal employees changing jobs–but who were not actually on the job as of January 22 should report to work on the assigned date if that date was on or before February 22, but that agencies are free to cancel offers if the assigned reporting date was afterward–or if the date was indefinite, as might happen with someone given a conditional job offer pending results of a background investigation.
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