The United States has more than 2.2 million workers in the civil service sector. Every day, these workers keep the nation functioning on the local, state and federal levels.
Public employers have an obligation to treat these workers fairly and not to politicize their roles. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Biden administration will soon enact a regulation that shields federal civil service employees from political favoritism and
What was Schedule F?
The measure is a response to an executive order that Pres. Trump issued late in his term. In 2020, he issued an executive order known as Schedule F that reclassified thousands of civil service workers as at-will. This stripped them of critical protections and made it easier for employers to terminate them.
Advocates of Schedule F contend that it granted more freedom to civil employers, freeing them from the constraints of bureaucratic red tape in the hiring and firing processes. Detractors, however, claim that it violated the rights of servants and placed their careers in danger of political retribution.
A new rule in the near future
After revoking Schedule F, the current administration intends to propose a rule to:
- Clarify that employers cannot take away the accrued status of federal civil servants.
- Define jobs that involve confidentiality, policy-making, or policy-advocating as nonpolitical.
- Create procedures for changing positions between the competitive service and the accepted service.
Per the release from the OPM, the rule would solidify the nonpolitical nature of civil service roles at the federal level.
What the new regulation could mean for employers
Schedule F had little impact on federal employers, as Mr. Trump issued it late in his final term as president and Mr. Biden revoked it on his third day in office. If Pres. Biden does issue the new regulation, it means greater difficulty for employers when it comes to hiring and firing. It also grants employers less discretion in demoting or transferring employees. For federal civil service workers, though, it would mean much-deserved peace of mind that partisan politics would not affect their careers.