Fedweek

OPM has said that it intends to finalize several sets of rules involving federal employee leave policies and official time for employees with union duties.

In the latest “regulatory agenda,” OPM said that it would issue rules before October 1 on the upcoming paid parental leave authority for federal employees which is set to begin for births, adoptions or foster placements as of that date. OPM earlier had recommended several changes to the details of that authority as passed late last year, but Congress has not addressed them—it is, however, moving toward extending the authority to several categories of employees inadvertently left out.

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OPM also said that is still working on finalizing rules to carry out changes in paid administrative leave (commonly called excused absence) policies that were enacted into law nearly four years ago. OPM previously finalized rules affecting one new category of leave under that law—weather and safety leave, which some agencies have been paying to some employees whose offices have been closed but whose jobs do not allow for telework.

However, rules to carry out new forms of leave for when employees are being investigated for possible disciplinary action and when such actions have been issued but have not been carried out. Also coming are revisions to administrative leave, which previously was invoked for those and various other situations but which is to be more tightly defined.

Also still in progress, OPM said, is finalizing proposed rules to carry out Trump administration executive orders of 2018 limiting the amounts and allowable uses of official time, which the rules would designate as “taxpayer-funded union time.”

“The proposed regulation will also address certain employee conduct with regard to use of agency paid time and agency resources when a federal employee is serving as a union representative,” it said.

Other than the parental leave rules, though, OPM did not specify a target date for finalizing those rules. Various changes in hiring and other practices, most of them technical in nature, also are in progress, it said.

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