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Federal employees are learning a little more about the paid parental leave program. The Office of Personnel Management has sample forms that employees must fill out to request paid parental leave benefits. Employees can certify in writing whether they’ll continue working for their agency for at least 12 weeks after using paid parental leave benefits. They can use a birth certificate, adoption or foster care records, court documents, consular documents for births abroad and a variety of forms to show the birth, adoption or placement a new child is in connection with the benefits they’re using. Paid parental leave benefits kick in Oct. 1.
A bipartisan group of senators are introducing new legislation to ensure federal employees keep teleworking. The Pandemic Federal Telework Act would require agencies to keep eligible employees working remotely throughout the rest of the health emergency. It also requires agencies to determine whether any non-eligible employees could be converted to telework agreements and clarifies how the Technology Modernization Fund can be used to ramp up telework capacity. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced the bill.
The Agriculture Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer is offering early retirements to IT specialists. It’s also implemented a hiring freeze through fiscal 2021. USDA said the moves are part of a workforce restructuring needed to facilitate the department’s ongoing IT modernization initiatives. Early retirements are an option for all USDA IT specialists with 20 years of service at age 50 or older, or anyone with 25 years of service at the agency. Cybersecurity specialists and employees appointed through direct-hire authority are exempt from early retirements. (Federal News Network)
The first Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Advisory Board set the first training date for assessors. Companies and individuals who want to join the initial cohort of auditors under the CMMC cyber standards program must attend the first training program starting on Aug. 31. The CMMC Advisory Board announced the training session and requirements to be among the first 72 provisional assessors. The board said the four-day training course will be in person and online, followed by an exam. The application fee is $1,000 and the assessors must partner with a third-party assessment organization.
Two new tools are shining a brighter light on government contractors and the requirement that they meet Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ new national pre-award registry and hiring benchmark database aim to keep vendors accountability for complying with federal employment laws. The hiring benchmark database is focused on how contractors recruit and hire veterans, while the pre-award registry is focused on facilities, but not parent organizations.
The first ever doctrine from the Space Force shows what war out of Earth’s atmosphere might look like. The document outlines five areas where the newest service will focus over the next four years. Those include protecting U.S. and allies’ satellites and space systems, ensuring the safe retrieval of weapons as they return to earth and the unrestricted ability to enter space and return. In order to do that the Space Force said it is looking for employees with expertise in orbital warfare, battle management and intelligence. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Department announced a plan to share 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum with the commercial realm for the development of 5G technologies. Companies will be able to use the spectrum as soon as 2022. The Pentagon already uses some of the bandwidths for things like radar and air traffic control. DoD is testing 5G on a handful of bases. The newest generation of networks requires a mix of high, mid and low- frequency bandwidths to operate.
The Defense Department’s re-award of its controversial cloud computing contract called JEDI will take longer than expected. The Pentagon filed a motion with the Court of Federal Claims to extend its timeline to Sept. 16 from Aug. 12. DoD said the extra time will reduce the likelihood that it need to ask for additional requests of more time should further, unanticipated delays occur. DoD CIO Dana Deasy said late last month that the Pentagon was on track to make the re-award in mid-August.
Military families now have new childcare options. The Defense Department is providing a new way for military parents to find care for their children. Service members can now use the online Military OneSource portal to access a national online database to find, hire and pay for childcare. The database is usually subscription-based, but is free to military families. The Pentagon has been struggling to provide adequate childcare for service members and their families. DoD hopes the database will help incentivize people to stay in the service by empowering families.
Two House Democrats recently led 130 lawmakers calling for an end to sweeping changes at the Postal Service. Now they’re calling for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to step down. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) are seeking DeJoy’s resignation after he reshuffled 23 executive positions and placed a hiring freeze on management positions. The lawmakers also called on Congressional leadership to roll back operational cuts at USPS as part of the next coronavirus spending bill.
The Federal Aviation Administration won a top award for financial management. The FAA is the first agency to win in a new category at this year’s Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting program. The Association of Government Accountants gave the agency its first Value-Added Distinction Award, for demonstrating how financial management contributes to the agency’s mission. AGA holds the black-tie gala annually, but switched to a virtual format this year. It’s held the awards program since the 90s in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officers Council and the Office of Management and Budget.