Hiring bill races toward passage

Some federal workers in critical jobs will be getting additional job benefits when Congress finishes work on a piece of legislation that would make it easier to hire and keep talented workers.

The House passed legislation Oct. 6 that gives federal managers the ability to award recruitment and retention bonuses and provides other flexibilities to attract and keep talented workers. The legislation, which already passed the Senate, is on a fast track for final action by lawmakers before it is sent to the White House.

"The Federal government's most important asset is our people, and we must be able to recruit, retain and reward them," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

Among its provisions, the bill:

Gives federal agencies the power to pay bonuses of up to 100 percent of annual basic pay during a four-year-period.

Gives managers the authority to pay more for certain critical and hard-to-fill jobs.

Provides extra vacation time for newly hired but experienced workers.

Provides compensatory time when federal employees travel outside normal working hours.

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