OPM has authorized the use of excepted service appointments to address the need for hiring additional staff in response to the coronavirus.
Agencies may use the authority to fill positions on a temporary basis for up to one year as needed in response to, or as a result of, COVID-19.
Individuals may be appointed nationwide and at any grade level, and those appointments may be extended for up to an additional full year – and agencies could apply for an extension even beyond that in extenuating circumstances, according to the guidance.
These appointments – limited to individuals needed in direct response to COVID-19 – can be made up until March 31, 2021 or upon termination of the current public health emergency – whichever comes first.
OPM cautioned that it would be monitoring agency use of these more relaxed hiring standards, hinting that it could be pulled at any time, and there’s a chance agencies will be required to report on usage of the authority going forward.