This Week: Congress to Consider MSPB and Probationary Period Changes

This Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled “to hear from the president’s nominees to fill all three open board seats at” the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), writes Nicole Ogrysko at Federal News Radio, noting that “MSPB’s authorization expired back in 2007.” Perhaps more notably, “It’s also lacked a quorum for more than a year-and-a-half.”      

The MSPB is an independent agency tasked primarily with hearing federal employees’ appeals.  In addition to the HSGAC consideration of three new nominees to the body, Congress will also consider two additional bills this week that would bring changes to the MSPB.

“One bill would reauthorize MSPB for the first time in a decade and set fees for any employees who files an appeal or claim with the agency. It would also amend a provision in the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” writes Ogrysko. “The change would allow VA employees in Title 38, typically medical professionals, to appeal directly to MSPB’s board, rather than an administrative judge.”

The second bill is the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act, “which would make significant changes to the way agencies fire and discipline poor performers and employees accused of misconduct,” requiring that agencies “give the employee written notice of the firing or disciplinary action within 15 days before taking action against the employee” and modifying appeal timelines to allow appeals for 7 days after the firing.

Posted in From the Hill

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