Fedweek

The House has passed HR-1531, which makes an employee of a land management agency serving under a time-limited appointment in the competitive service eligible to compete for a permanent appointment in the agency or any other agency if the original appointment was competitive, the employee has served under one or more time-limited appointments totaling more than 24 months without a break of two or more years, and the employee’s performance has been at an acceptable level. Meanwhile, the House Veterans Affairs Committee is set to advance as soon as today a bill (HR-1994) that would extend through the entire VA workforce some of the types of changes in appeal rights that were enacted into law last year affecting senior executives there. The measure would shorten the period in which a disciplined employee could appeal to the MSPB from the standard 30 days to seven, and require that the hearing officer issue a decision within 45 days or else the agency’s action would be upheld by default—currently, except for VA SES, there is no firm time limit and no provision for default judgments. There would be additional protections for employees who contend they are the victims of retaliation for whistleblowing. In addition, the measure would make the standard probationary period for VA senior executives 18 months rather than 12 months, with the department having the option to make it even longer.