The new regulations will change current rules forcing agencies to re-hire former feds into the pay grade they were last under in government.
The Office of Personnel Management finalized a rule change on Monday to allow agencies to use a noncompetitive appointment authority to re-hire former feds without restrictions on hiring them into the paygrade they were in when they left government service. It will be effective July 8.
Under current authorities, agencies can rehire feds with a streamlined process, but only if it's at the same pay grade level they were in when they left federal service. Now agencies can offer higher pay grades that account for skills, knowledge and experience gained outside of the federal workforce.
OPM says this change will remove existing barriers agencies face when using this authority – the fact that they can't offer more than the pay level the fed had when they left – and offer them a larger pool of candidates to choose from.
The rule was originally proposed in December 2019.
"The rule allows the government to better recognize a former federal employee's full set of skills and experience as agencies continue to rebuild capacity and expertise," said OPM Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan in a statement about the change.
The new regulation also removes limits on hiring former feds into positions with more promotion potential than the last positions they were in.
There are some limitations. The employee must have been away from government service for at least a year before applying for reinstatement, and they must've gotten a fully successful rating of record on their last performance review.
Agencies will also still have to follow merit system principals, like checking certain lists for people who have re-employment priority in the government, such as those removed by a reduction in force, and publically posting the job listing. They'll also still be subject to any collective bargaining agreements the agency may have, OPM says in the regulation.
To get the job, the former employees will also have to meet time-in-grade requirements and all the qualifications for the position they're applying to.
The regulation also doesn't waive a three-year limit of eligibility for reinstatement for former feds that didn't meet the three year mark of employment in the federal service, although other former career employees will have lifetime eligibility for being re-hired under this authority.
The change also won't affect current promotion opportunities for current feds, OPM stated in the regulation.