OPM extends COVID special hiring authority

As of this week, COVID-19 has killed over 550,000 in the U.S., and it continues to sharply impede economic activities, including disrupting normal federal recruitment and hiring.

Facing these severe disruptions early on, the Office of Personnel Management in March 2020 issued a special hiring authority—one that has eased the hiring of excepted service employees for temporary appointments of up to one year, wherever needed in government jobs.

And now—just as that special authority was about to expire—OPM has announced its extension. Agencies and departments can recruit and hire under this authority until Dec. 31, 2021. Further, such COVID authority hires, if need be, can be extended one extra year.

“Agencies may continue to use this authority to fill positions on a temporary basis for up to one year as needed in response to, or as a result of, COVID-19,” OPM’s acting director Kathleen M. McGettigan wrote in a March 29 memo. “These appointments may be extended up to one additional year as needed.”

“No new appointments may be made under this authority after December 31, 2021, or upon termination of this public health emergency, whichever comes first,” McGettigan added. “Appointments are limited to individuals needed in direct response to the effects of COVID-19.”

2021 Digital Almanac

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