OPM has finalized what it describes as a mainly technical set of changes to hiring policies excepted service positions, in part clarifying and formalizing some policies already in effect.
Positions designated as in the excepted service are exempt from some hiring requirements applying to competitive service positions. However, agencies must follow the principle of veterans preference “as far as administratively feasible” when filling an exempted position in the excepted service.
Rules in the October 7 Federal Register clarify that positions falling under “Schedule A” hiring authority are subject to veterans preference requirements unless OPM specifically excludes them. In first proposing the rules in 2016, OPM said that rules could be read as not imposing that requirement.
The final rules also put in regulation a policy in effect since a court decision stating that when category rating hiring authority is being used to fill an excepted service position, an agency can pass over a preference-eligible candidate only in the same limited circumstances that apply generally.