White House Issues Three Workforce Executive Orders

Late last week, the Trump Administration released three new executive orders aimed at various functions of the federal workforce, including measures expanding government-wide the efforts contained within 2017’s Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.

The first executive order limits the opportunity period for federal employees to demonstrate acceptable performance, does away with the use of progressive discipline, removes suspension as a suitable replacement when removal is appropriate, and asks that agencies issue decisions on proposed removals within 15 days of the end of the employee reply period. The order also encourages the use of probationary periods, encourages that performance be prioritized over length of service, and orders agencies, “to the extent practicable” to “limit the written notice of adverse action to the 30 days prescribed in…title 5.”

The second executive order “limits to 25% the amount of time a federal employee can spend each year on union activities.”

The third order “directs federal agencies to renegotiate union contracts” and “contemplates that agreements can be reached in less than one year.”

The full text of the executive orders is available here:

Executive Order Developing Efficient, Effective, and Cost-Reducing Approaches to Federal Sector Collective Bargaining

Executive Order Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer Funded Union Time Use

Executive Order Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles

New director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Jeff Pon, released the following statement in conjunction with the executive orders:

“These Executive Orders are about protecting taxpayers’ dollars, including those of our dedicated federal employees, and putting those resources to use in the most efficient and effective way possible,” Pon said. “By holding poor performers accountable, reforming the use of taxpayer-funded union time, and focusing negotiations on issues that matter, we are advancing our efforts to elevate the federal workforce.”

Pon continued, “The vast majority of our employees are dedicated public servants who are dedicated to their missions and service to the American people. It is essential that we honor their commitment, and these measures reflect just that. Looking ahead, our focus will be on continuing to leverage technology to digitize our federal human resources infrastructure, build modern public human resources systems for the 21st century, and celebrate the hardworking federal employees who serve our great Nation each and every day.”

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