The Office of Personnel Management has issued new guidance to agencies telling them how to prepare for an upcoming government reorganization. The reshaping guide states, “OPM is issuing this Workforce Reshaping Operations Handbook to aid agencies that are considering and/or undergoing some type of reshaping (i.e. reorganization, management directed assignments, furloughs, transfer of function, or reduction in force)”.
If President Trumps’ budget successfully passes, as is, many civilian agencies will face significant spending cuts which will lead to workforce reductions. The guide describes how agency leaders should “develop, review, analyze, and prioritize mission requirements”. It’s also designed to help agency leaders and HR staff ensure that the reshaping efforts comply with merit system laws and regulations.
OPM said, “Does management need to reduce whole numbers as in ‘across the board cuts’, or is there the possibility of reshaping specific functions within the organization? There is typically less disruption to an organization when specific functions are reshaped than when entire operations are closed.”
There is no mention of specific RIF’s furloughs or job cuts in the budget proposal, however, agencies should begin planning now for any future cuts.
A former chief human capital officer at the Department of Homeland Security said, “There is simply not enough time to get ready for a reduction in force if they wait until a budget is passed. Agencies that begin to plan for a RIF now, even without firm budget numbers, aren’t abandoning their employees. Quite the opposite is true: they are ensuring any RIF they may have…protects the rights of all of their employees.”
OPM also offers alternatives to RIF’s, such as, assigning employees to other departments on a reimbursable basis, using furloughs, and reassigning employees in “surplus functions” to other positions. They also suggest cutting hours, asking employees to change to a lower grade on the General Schedule, or using voluntary early retirements.
Also, included in a second updated guide is which types of employees are exempt from furloughs and what circumstances are exempt.
One thing that should be considered during this time is federal disability retirement. Many federal workers may not know they qualify for this, or worse, what it is. If you are a federal worker and have been suffering from an injury or illness, you may qualify for a federal disability retirement. If this describes you, please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form! The consultation is always free. We would love to speak with you about your case!