OPM issues time-off guidance for feds experiencing domestic violence

An employee's statement that he or she is dealing with domestic violence is generally enough for the agency to grant leave.

  • Federal employees will have more support from their agencies when dealing with issues of domestic violence and abuse. Under new guidance issued yesterday from the Office of Personnel Management, employees will be able to take time away from work to deal with the short- or long-term consequences of abusive behavior, like getting medical treatment or securing housing. OPM said the new guidance applies to both federal employees as well as their family members. An employee's statement that he or she is dealing with domestic violence is generally enough for the agency to grant leave.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ IT shop is preparing for big cuts across some of its priority areas, but not for its growing workforce. VA’s Office of Information and Technology is proposing a more than 80% cut to IT modernization funding in fiscal 2025 and more than a 65% cut to its infrastructure readiness program. That is because the VA is planning for a major increase in cybersecurity spending. The tech workforce budget is also going up, because of a Special Salary Rate VA approved last summer. VA Chief Information Officer Kurt DelBene said this pay raise doesn’t take away from other budget priorities. “The SSR is not a significant portion of our budgets, in the absolute terms. And I would do it again, because we need the best. The most important resource we have as an organization, bar none, is our people." DelBene said.
  • The Department of Commerce has a new technology leader. Brian Epley, the principal deputy CIO at the Energy Department, will be the new chief information officer at the Commerce Department. Federal News Network has confirmed Epley will start June 3. He will replace Andre Mendes, who left in in January to join Tarrant County, Texas to be its CIO. Epley joined the Energy Department in September 2022 as its principal deputy CIO. He previously worked at the Environmental Protection Agency for six years as the deputy CIO and as the deputy assistant administrator for administration and resources management.
  • The Defense Department will hold a virtual career fair for military spouses. The department is hosting a series of free events to help military spouses meet their career goals and connect with potential employers. The first three days of the symposium are dedicated to career development, including resume tips and negotiation tactics. Next week’s webinar series will prepare spouses for the career fair, which is scheduled for May 29 and May 30.
  • Where are the Best Places to Work in the federal government? NASA is once again the number one. The agency’s gold trophy now marks the 12th year in a row it has maintained that top spot. For midsize agencies, the Government Accountability Office is ranked the best place to work, for the fourth year running. The National Indian Gaming Commission took first place among small agencies, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring once again claimed the number one spot for agency subcomponents. The full rankings from the Partnership for Public Service will be released Monday morning, along with a ceremony to recognize the top-ranked agencies this year.
  • Senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are digging in their heels on a federal telework bill. During a mark-up yesterday morning, the committee delayed advancing the Telework Transparency Act. The bill would require agencies to report more up-to-date information on telework. But a few committee Republicans called for even more requirements. They want a stipulation for agency managers to monitor federal employees who work from home. The committee has opted to consider further amendments to the bill before advancing it to the full Senate.
  • Agencies could save millions of dollars, by making better use of federal buildings, according to the Government Accountability Office. GAO said agencies could save about $100 million if they used predictive models to make smarter decisions about deferred maintenance and repairs. The watchdog office said the government could save even more money by setting federal building utilization benchmarks and addressing underutilized office space. These GAO recommendations are part of a broader package that has helped agencies save tens of billions of dollars over the past 14 years.
  • Dozens of federal employees gathered in front of the White House yesterday to protest the Biden administration’s stance on the War in Gaza. The government workers came together on Nakba Remembrance Day, which marks the mass Palestinian displacement in 1948, with the emergence of the state of Israel. The government workers are part of a coalition called “Feds United for Peace,” and are calling for an end to the government's support of Israel. After getting questions about federal employees’ ability to discuss the Israel-Hamas War at work, the Office of Special Counsel clarified that feds can share their opinions while on the clock, as long as it is not a statement for or against a political party. To avoid legal trouble, leaders of Feds United for Peace also encouraged feds not to use any government property or resources while planning protests.
    (Nakba Day ceasefire rally and teach-in at White House - Feds United for Peace)
  • Brig. Gen. Camilla White, who currently serves as the deputy of the Army’s program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical, will depart from her role in two weeks. Col. Kevin Chaney will take over the position. Chaney most recently served as the project manager for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program. The Army canceled that program in February, citing new technological developments, battlefield developments and budget projections.
  • Agencies now have a prioritized list of areas to focus the collection-and-use of acquisition data around which to drive better results. In the new Circular A-137 released Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget said agencies should apply the high-definition acquisition framework to market research, to supply chain demand-and-management, and to vendor management-and-engagement support. Agencies will be required to share their acquisition data, such as prices paid and terms-and-conditions, with limited exceptions. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy, meanwhile, will develop policies and practices to support the collection, sharing, and use of acquisition data. It will also provide governance processes to help agencies manage, use, and secure the information.

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