Top News from FEDmanager
Fear has loomed for quite some time regarding the impact of automation on the U.S. workforce, and a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report only raises more questions. While the GAO was able to gather some information regarding the impact of advanced technologies on employment trends, lacunae persist. To fill these data gaps, the GAO requests that the Department of Labor (DOL) use existing or new data collection methods to better track how the workforce is impacted by new technologies.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced 18 “potentially revolutionary” technology concepts selected for funding through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. These concepts include a range of technologies that could transform human and robotic exploration outside Earth.
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) has introduced a companion bill to House legislation granting federal employees 12 weeks of paid family leave. Currently, federal employees receive no paid time off for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child or to address family medical emergencies. Senator Schatz’s legislation, introduced last week, would allow federal employees to receive pay for this time off.
Even though senior leaders know they need to keep their skills sharp through continued development opportunities, finding the time, let alone the budget, for training and development is a constant challenge.
Allegations can spring upon you at any point as a federal employee. If you were informed of an allegation being made against you tomorrow, would you be prepared? Do you know how you would be able to account for any potential financial costs or obtain legal representation? If you answered no to these questions, then investing in FEDS Protection should be a top priority for you. FEDS provides professional liability insurance you can rely on to help you with those allegations you never thought would be made against you.
In a rare occurrence, a trio of eagles (two males and one female) have come together to jointly raise a family of three eaglets after one male’s mate disappeared. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, U.S. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other groups have created a dedicated livestream to allow the public to watch this unique family bond.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has issued an Intelligence Community (IC) Policy Guidance calling for greater focus on hiring, retaining, and promoting individuals with disabilities. This directive builds upon a previous IC Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Enterprise Strategy which established goals for increasing inclusion within the IC from 2015 to 2020.
A newly released RAND Corporation study finds that the Coast Guard struggles to retain and advance women due to an array of gender related issues. The study used focus group analysis, statistical data, and relevant previous studies to identify the root causes for attrition of women in the Coast Guard and to develop recommendations to “help mitigate identified barriers to retaining women.” The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Diversity and Inclusion requested the study.
Last week on FEDtalk, host Natalia Castro discussed the 2020 Census with Deborah Stempowski, Chief of Decennial Census Management Division, Beth Lynk, Campaign Director for Census Counts at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government and Public Affairs at the Population Association of America. The group discussed the importance of the census and ways to ensure the 2020 Census moves forward without delay or issue.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that a federal employee may bring suit against the Secretary of Labor for retaliation under Title VII, but declined to decide on the limits of such a claim.
During the first few weeks of the shutdown, many Feds were disappointed by news of an executive order to freeze pay for Civilian Federal Employees in 2019. Then, in an unexpected turn, Congress passed a federal pay raise in a funding bill on February 15, effectively overturning the freeze. On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order officially implementing the change. In case you’re confused by the complicated discussions around federal pay, here are four things you need to know about the raise:
Bipartisan, bicameral legislation has been introduced to encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist states in focusing on cyber threats and vulnerabilities. U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) and House Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced the State Cyber Resiliency Act in their respective chambers.
Last week President Trump codified the average 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees with an executive order. This move comes over a month after Congress appropriated the funds in 2019 appropriations legislation. This executive order effectively voids the president’s previous executive order calling for a pay freeze for all federal employees.
This week the Department of Energy announced up to $26.1 million in funding “to drive innovative industry-led technology solutions to advance the marine and hydrokinetics industry and increase hydropower’s ability to serve as a flexible grid resource.” The news comes during Waterpower Week in Washington, a time when the National Hydropower Association and the International Marine Renewable Energy Conference meet in the nation’s capital to discuss ways to better use energy from water.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated an arbitrator’s decision denying a union’s request for attorney fees accrued in an arbitration proceeding since the arbitrator’s award decision failed to explain his reasoning for denying fees.
The House and Senate have introduced bipartisan measures to modernize the Internal Revenue Service, improve taxpayer services, and strengthen taxpayer protections. The measure, entitled the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, was introduced in the Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the House the measure was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who chairs the Oversight Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee.
As an organization that represents managers, supervisors, and executives in the federal government, including at the Internal Revenue Service, it was difficult, but necessary, to take a close look at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the IRS released last week. GAO was asked to “review IRS’s enterprise-wide strategic workforce planning efforts,” and its finding of serious risks to IRS’s mission should not come as a surprise.