IT System Changes Impacting OIMT and CBER

HHS provided courtesy notice to NTEU regarding IT system changes in FDA OIMT and CBER.

information securityAs a courtesy, HHS notified NTEU regarding changes to the IT system that began on March 29, 2018. According to the notice, the changes will further enhance information security for the Office of Information and Management Technology (OIMT) and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). Yesterday, OIMT began implementing Data Loss Prevention e-mail protection measures designed to prevent the unauthorized release of information. Due to these changes, employees will no longer be able to use their FDA computer to attach documents to e-mails created when logged into personal e-mail accounts (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.). However, employees will still be able to send non-work-related attachments to a personal e-mail account using their FDA e-mail account. The agency claims that this new measure is designed to protect the commercial, confidential, and trade secret information that FDA employees access daily from inadvertent disclosure, and to ensure that employees are using only their government-issued computer to perform official business.

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OPM Releases Survey of Work-Life Flexibilities in the Federal Government

OPM recently released a report on the results of the Federal Work-Life Survey, which evaluated Telework, Work Schedule Flexibilities, Employee Assistance Programs, and Worksite Health and Wellness Programs.

Directional signs symbolizing work-life balanceEarlier this month, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the Federal Work-Life Survey Government-wide Report that highlights key findings and recommendations on the federal workforce use of workplace flexibilities and participation in work-life programs. It is well known that investment in such programs and practices promotes the recruitment and retention of diverse talent, improves employee morale, and sustains high individual and organizational performance. The OPM study only reinforced these findings. Continue reading “OPM Releases Survey of Work-Life Flexibilities in the Federal Government”

Two Federal Workforce Bills Introduced

Last week, two bills were introduced that affect the federal workforce.

Binary codeRepresentative Gary Palmer (R-AL) introduced House Resolution (HR) 5300, which exempts from federal employee labor-management collective bargaining agreements any negotiation on the actions of the agency head to restrict or prohibit access to an agency web site. A bill similar to HR 5300 was introduced last year by Representative Palmer. At that time, NTEU opposed the bill, stating that it was unnecessary. The bill amends Title 44 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) by granting agency heads sole and exclusive authority in the information technology (IT) arena. NTEU believes that the language is overly broad and could eliminate collective bargaining on any IT issues. While NTEU members understand the importance of a safe and secure federal IT environment, federal employees should not be facing the possibility of being unable to be contacted in the event their children’s school closes or their childcare provider suddenly needs to change their planned arrangements for the day. Current Title 44 provisions already prescribe detailed agency head responsibility to “ensure that all personnel are held accountable for complying with the agency-wide information security program.” [44 U.S.C. 3554 (a) (7)]. NTEU continues to oppose the bill. Continue reading “Two Federal Workforce Bills Introduced”