Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) held a business meeting and reported out the following bills, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK), by voice vote:
- 1888, the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment Adjustment Act of 2017, to increase the amount an agency can offer as a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) from $25,000 to $40,000, and to allow this amount to be adjusted annually based on inflation. NTEU supports this bill.
- 1886, the Temporary and Term Appointments Act of 2017, that would codify and extend the period of time agencies can hire employees on a temporary or term basis. The bill would also allow agencies to fill a temporary or term position by direct hire authority for 18 months if there is a critical hiring need.
- 1887, the Direct Hire of Students and Recent Graduates Act of 2017, that would provide direct hire authority for agencies to hire students, recent college graduates, and those with higher education degrees at the GS-11 level or below. The number of hires under this authority would be capped at 15 percent of the number of individuals that the agency hired during the previous fiscal year to a position in the competitive service at the GS–11 level or below.
NTEU strongly supports S. 1888 to increase VSIP incentives, particularly at a time when agencies are facing budgetary threats. However, NTEU opposed the passage of S. 1886 out of concerns that agencies would increasingly become reliant on temporary or term employees instead of on permanent employees. NTEU also opposed S. 1887 due to a concern about the negative impact on employees from the lack of notice for potential internal positions, and the fact that this hiring authority circumvents the competitive hiring process and veterans’ preference, and disadvantages individuals working on their associates or vocational degrees, and those with high school degrees, who do not qualify for the program.
NTEU will continue to fight to ensure that the hiring process remains fair for applicants and employees, and that employee rights, protections, and benefits remain strong.