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.”

Reader comments

Tue, Apr 20, 2021

The people you really want to hire DON'T want temp jobs. Unless they are using the temp job to spring board themselves to permanent jobs in other orgs. There should be a way to be able to transition a valuable "temp" person into a permanent position without the current hiring process that are time consuming and complicated. Many private companies will hire temp workers from third party companies and if they prove themselves they are hired as permanent employees working directly for the company. This keeps the cost down and allows you to take a "risk" on someone with a way out if it is not a good fit.

Mon, Apr 5, 2021

Hope appointments are monitored for adherence to the COVID criteria.

Fri, Apr 2, 2021 Jim

I hope at some point they reconsider whether it’s needed to hire like this. Temporary hires not great solution long haul.

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