New OPM rule will let agencies refine areas for job cuts

Agencies will have more leeway on defining areas subject to job cuts under an Office of Personnel Management rule that took effect Aug. 11. The rule lets agencies group employees in competitive areas based on their pay systems or pay bands when preparing for reductions in force.

The new rule is a necessary and well-measured response to an obvious gap in the regulations, said Jim McDermott, director of human resources at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The world of federal compensation is no longer two-dimensional, series and grade,” he said.  “The RIF regulations — and probably others — need to catch up to reality.”

The rule change will iron out inconsistencies in existing RIF regulations as agencies move some employees to pay-for-performance and pay-band systems, while others remain in the traditional General Schedule system, OPM said in the Federal Register.

A competitive area could include pay-band and non-pay-band positions or a mix of both, for which an agency would further define a competitive area, OPM said. In the latter case, an agency could define a separate competitive area to include only the pay-band positions. The original competitive area would include only the positions not covered by a pay band, the rule states.

McDermott said the rule was smart, adding that, “it’s clear, it’s simple, it’s wary of unintended consequences, and it’s optional.” 

The National Treasury Employees Union disagreed, saying that potential separate competitive areas with pay bands would give agencies additional management rights without providing federal employees any safeguards against abuses. 

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.