The White House has finalized adjustments to Federal employee disciplinary procedures that will assist agencies in carrying out Executive Order 13839 – signed in 2018 – and shrink the timeline under which managers can take disciplinary steps against employees.
The final rule issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) updates current regulatory language commensurate with statutory changes, and clarifies procedures and requirements to support managers in addressing poor employee performance, removal actions, and adverse actions.
“As the previously enjoined portions of the Executive Order are now fully effective and binding on executive agencies, OPM anticipates proposing additional revisions to regulations, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act’s notice-and-comment process, consistent with the President’s expressed policy goals,” a Federal register notice said.
Some commenters expressed concern over the rule saying that it would undercut whistleblower protections. OPM disagreed with this assertion, and said the new rule will:
- Set procedures meant to discipline supervisors for whistleblower retaliation;
- Shorten employee timelines to improve performance before the agency can recommend disciplinary action;
- Shorten the time period for employees to respond to allegations of poor performance or misconduct;
- Clarify there are no specific requirements to help employees improve;
- Require agencies remind supervisors of expiring probationary periods for employees; and
- Restrict agencies from altering employees’ official personnel records or change information as part of a settlement agreement.
“The Federal personnel system needs to keep pace with changing workplace needs and carry out its core functions in a manner that more effectively upholds the public trust,” OPM said.