DOD issues new labor, pay rules for civilian employees

National Security Personnel System final regulations

The Defense Department released today final rules for a new labor-management and pay system that will affect 650,000 DOD civilian employees. Lawmakers have 30 days to review the 437 pages of regulations before they go into effect, barring litigation to block them, DOD officials said this week.

Congress authorized DOD to create the regulations, known as the National Security Personnel System, after the 2001 terrorist attacks. At an Oct. 26 news briefing on the new system, Navy Secretary Gordon England, senior executive of NSPS, offered to allay fears that the new system has evoked among many of DOD’s unionized workers and their leaders.

“We believe the regulations strike a balance between employee interests and DOD’s need to accomplish its mission effectively and to respond swiftly to ever-changing national security interests,” England said.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) released a statement today, expressing concern that the new regulations will end the General Schedule, under which DOD civilians are now paid, “and replace it with a new and untested system that has the potential to be used in an arbitrary and unfair manner.”

England said DOD has spent the past 18 months consulting with all involved parties to develop and revise the regulations. DOD has started training supervisors to implement the new regulations, he said. But if the department encounters problems as it is implementing the new rules, he added, “we will slow down the program.”

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