Federal Employees News Digest

OPM says agencies need to implement workforce EOs ASAP

The Office of Personnel Management just issued further guidance on instructing agencies to move forward with implementing the president’s controversial workforce executive orders.

“[A]s a matter of law and policy… agencies should thereby take all necessary and appropriate steps to incorporate applicable provisions of these [executive orders] as soon as possible…” reads a Nov. 26 guidance.

The injunction dates back to a federal district court ruling in August 2018, which determined that three orders were contrary to the intent of Congress in the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations statute. However, an appeals court determined that the unions opposing the executive orders were required to take their complaints to the Federal Labor Relations Authority on a case-by-case basis rather than dispute the whole orders in court. FLRA judgments are appealable to federal court, and it appears likely that many such cases will be pursued by unions in the future. In the meantime, the judgment overturning the orders was vacated, and, after some further appellate machinations, the injunction blocking the orders was lifted.

“Accordingly, these three executive orders, including their previously enjoined provisions, are in full force and effect and should be implemented by agencies as soon as feasible consistent with the requirements and guidance contained in the EOs and consistent with law,” the guidance continues, adding, “Key provisions no longer enjoined and therefore fully effective…Agencies should take steps to implement these and other EO provisions at the soonest possible opportunity consistent with law.”

New policies in the orders include restrictions on time unionized feds are permitted to spend on union business during work hours (called "official time"), union use of federal facilities, new time frames for grievance negotiations, new 30-day limits on turnaround plans and more.

Read the full guidance here.

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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