Federal Manager's Daily Report

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The level of trust that federal employees have in civil service protections “is shaped by their perceptions of how leaders understand, adhere to and enforce civil service rules,” the Partnership for Public Service has said.

A blog posting notes that in a survey and personal interviews of some 500 federal employees, it found that of civil service law and rules to protect employees, those aimed against discrimination was the highest—but collectively barely above the midpoint of “moderate” trust on a five-level scale. Trust in protections against whistleblower reprisals, arbitrary action and political coercion came close to the midpoint, but trust in protections against personal favoritism was closer to small than to moderate.

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Similarly, it said that trust was just above moderate regarding rules requiring that job applicants receive fair and equitable treatment; that employees receive equal pay for work of equal value; and that employees are hired solely on the basis of ability, knowledge and skills. Overall trust was moderate or just below regarding employees receiving fair and equitable treatment; having clear career advancement paths; and supervisors being able to address inadequate performance.

Said the posting, “respondents connected their concerns about leaders’ bias or favoritism influencing hiring, performance management and promotions to their trust in civil service institutions. Furthermore, some respondents said they wouldn’t report a civil service violation—even if they know how to—citing lack of trust in leaders to prevent retribution or facilitate an effective investigation.”

“This connection suggests that efforts to increase federal workforce trust in government should focus on improving civil servants’ trust in their leaders,” it said.

It added that overall, respondents “indicated only a modest level of familiarity with civil service institutions, with familiarity falling between “a little” and “moderate” for all six mentioned: in descending order, EEOC, IGs, OGE, MSPB, OSC and Title 5 of the U.S. Code.

Overall familiarity with the latter was barely above “a little” which the posting said is “a surprising fact given that this statute governs salary scales, performance management, insurance and retirement benefits, and other aspects of employees’ day-to-day work.”

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