Military spouses should see more flexible employment opportunities under OPM’s new hiring policy


Agencies will soon have another flexibility in their hiring toolkit, this time to help recruit military spouses.

A new final rule from the Bureau of Personnel Management, due for release on Tuesday, will allow agencies to forgo traditional government hiring procedures and appoint certain military spouses to certain positions without competition.

Hiring flexibilities apply to spouses of servicemen on active duty, spouses of servicemen with a 100% disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain widows of servicemen killed in the line of duty.

Under the new policy, agencies can appoint military spouses to temporary, term or permanent positions in the public service, the OPM said. Military spouses must be currently married to an active or injured member of the service at the time the agencies make their appointments.

The flexibility of hiring has been years in the making. Congress has included changes to the hiring of military spouses in several previous defense policy bills, most recently in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.

The OPM Final Rule implements many of these changes, including a temporary waiver of certain eligibility requirements for military spouses.

“This removes the limitations – such as a relocation requirement, geographic restrictions, and arbitrary quotas – that have resulted in this authority being underutilized so far,” said Rob Shriver, associate director of employee services at ‘OPM, on the new military spouse hiring authority in a Medium blog. Publish. “As a result, this new regulation means more military spouses can find their place in the federal workforce, and federal agencies have a greater talent pool of highly skilled people to hire from.”

For the next 22 months, military spouses are no longer limited to federal jobs in the geographic area where their partners are posted on active duty. They can also receive unlimited non-competitive nominations until the August 2023 deadline, OPM said.

Under the previous policy, military personnel were to receive orders authorizing a permanent change of post, and military spouses were required to relocate to that location in order to be eligible for appointment without competition to an agency in that region.

This requirement is gone, at least temporarily, until August 13, 2023, when Congress is included in NDAA 2019.

For OPM, this temporary flexibility dovetails perfectly with the recent adoption of telework by the federal government, giving military spouses a chance to take advantage of new remote work opportunities.

“Employers in all industries and around the world are heavily dependent on telecommuting and remote working due to the pandemic, and the federal government is no exception,” said Shriver. “These have become the new ways of working, and OPM helps agencies use these flexibilities as strategic management tools to better recruit and retain workers. This creates a unique opportunity for military spouses – while military families often have to relocate frequently, they can access their jobs remotely and stay in their federal jobs. “

Geographic and eligibility flexibilities will be lifted on August 13, 2023. After this date, military spouses will only receive appointments without competition to a federal position in the region where their partner is stationed, unless there is no competition. has no agency in this particular area. site.

From that date, military personnel must be actively ordered to relocate and their spouses must move with them to be eligible for future non-competitive appointments, the OPM said.

In addition, military spouses will no longer have unlimited appointments without competition after the expiration date of August 2023. Instead, they are limited to one such appointment every time for every move, said OPM.

Military families typically move every two to three years, and military spouses face an unemployment rate of 22%, the Defense Department said last year.

The hiring of military spouses was also a priority under the previous administration. A 2018 executive order ordered agencies to step up the hiring of military spouses, primarily by using the authorities they already have to recruit them through appointments without competition. The ordinance also required annual reports from agencies and the OPM on how they use the hiring powers of military spouses.

The Military Spouse Final Rule finally implements these reporting requirements. Under the new hiring flexibility, agencies are required to report annually on the number of applicants, new hires and positions they have made available through the military spouses hiring policy.

Tuesday’s final rule is the third hiring flexibility OPM has imposed through regulatory procedures this summer. The agency finalized a non-competitive hiring authorization for student interns last month, as well as a new policy that allows agencies to rehire former federal employees at higher grades than when they initially left the workplace. government.

The authorization to hire military spouses comes into effect on October 21.


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