Fedweek

In addition to providing for paid parental leave for federal workers and delaying virtually indefinitely the administration’s plan to break up OPM, the defense authorization bill touches on a range of personnel issues, some government-wide and some specific to DoD.

Here’s what it does:

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* Extends to all types of relocation allowances government-wide an authority to reimburse employees for the impact of making many of those payments taxable, an authority that currently applies only to some types of relocations.

* Protects employees affected by any partial government shutdown from having to pay FEDVIP and FLTCIP premiums until they return to paid status, and require that changes in enrollments in FEHB and FEDVIP continue to be processed.

* Puts into law a policy currently in effect under a 2016 presidential order generally barring agencies from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until a provisional job offer has been made, with certain exceptions.

* Loosens restrictions on special hiring authorities for students and recent graduates that can lead to conversion into competitive service positions.

* Requires a report on the impact of DoD’s use for the last three years of a two-year standard probationary period for competitive service jobs, compared with the one year that is standard elsewhere.

* Extends a number of special pay flexibilities for employees assigned to combat zones or other hazardous areas overseas.

* Creates a Space Force as a new branch of the military, which likely would absorb thousands of civilian employees now working on related issues in other DoD components.