OPM has extended the “Schedule A” excepted service hiring authority that agencies can use to fill positions needed for pandemic-related purposes, which otherwise would have expired tomorrow (March 31), through the calendar year or until the pandemic is no longer deemed a public health emergency, whichever comes first.
“Agencies may continue to use this authority to fill positions on a temporary basis for up to 1 year as needed in response to, or as a result of, COVID-19. These appointments may be extended up to 1 additional year as needed. Appointments are limited to individuals needed in direct response to the effects of COVID-19,” a memo to agencies says.
The authority was initially granted last March and applies nationwide and at all grade levels; at the time OPM further stressed that it cannot be used to fill vacancies not related to the pandemic and that it may require agencies to document its need.