Lankford Bill Would Increase VSIP Payments for First Time in 15 Years
A bill introduced last week by Senator James Lankford (R-OK), the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment Adjustment Act of 2017 (S.1888), is slated for markup by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Relations Committee (HSGAC). Lankford serves as chairman of HSGAC’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management.
The legislation seeks to raise the maximum Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) for civilian federal employees from $25,000 to $40,000. An increase in maximum VSIP payments is seen as a useful tool for agency decision-makers, some of whom are faced with the prospect of workforce cuts in the process of restructuring. Increased buyouts for employees interested in voluntarily separating could help soften the blow of some federal downsizing efforts.
A similar measure for the Department of Defense was included in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a pilot program and has subsequently been re-included in the House version of the 2018 NDAA, which is currently under consideration. However, those programs apply only to civilian employees within DoD. Sen. Lankford’s bill would expand the provision to cover the entire civilian federal workforce.
The Government Manager’s Coalition -- a group comprised of the Senior Executives Association, FAA Managers Association, Federal Managers Association, Professional Managers Association, National Council of Social Security Management Associations – and representing 200,000 managers and executives within the federal government, released a letter in support of the legislation, arguing that it was a common-sense measure representing the first increase in VSIP amounts in 15 years and finally connecting the payment amounts to inflation.
In its letter to HSGAC in advance of Wednesday’s markup, GMC members wrote that they hoped committee members “will continue to consider the necessity of adequately equipping those tasked with carrying out the difficult job of restructuring the federal government. In light of ongoing agency reorganization efforts, it is more important than ever to ensure federal managers making personnel decisions are equipped with a comprehensive toolset that represents both flexibility for agencies and fairness for impacted federal employees.”
Posted in From the Hill