The compromise version of the annual DoD authorization bill (S-2943)—passed last week by the House and pending a final vote in the Senate—includes changes to some personnel policies government-wide and others specific to DoD. In the former category, it sets a maximum of 10 days of “administrative leave” (excused absence) for employees being investigated for possible disciplinary action or while such an action has been proposed but has not been carried out; exceptions would be allowed if the agency determines that keeping the employee at work would represent a danger to co-workers or the government’s interest.
It also requires agencies to put the results of disciplinary investigations in an employee’s official personnel folder even if the person resigns or retires before any action is taken, and requires agencies to review the folders of former federal employees who are being considered for a job.
That language reflects provisions the House passed separately as individual bills. For DoD only, the measure accepts a Senate proposal to raise the buyout maximum payment from $25,000 to $40,000, although that boost would end on September 30, 2018. It further would cut the department’s SES cadre by a quarter by 2019; grant DoD direct-hire authority to fill certain high-demand positions and for current college students and recent graduates; and encourage rotations of employees between DoD and the private sector, among other changes.