Agency Spotlight—OPM Program Divisions and Oversight

by | May 12, 2017

Last Updated May 21, 2024

A previous post looked at the very basics of what OPM oversees in the federal government. This post will go a bit more in-depth into some of those program divisions.

Program Divisions

Employees Services (ES)

The division provides oversight to programs and benefits regarding federal employees. It offers policy direction and leadership in designing, developing, and implementing government-wide human resources systems and programs for recruitment, pay, leave, performance management and recognition, employee development, work/life/wellness programs, and labor and employee relations.

They also provide technical support to agencies for a full range of human resources management policies and practices, including veterans’ employment and the evaluation of agencies’ HR programs. Along with managing other agencies’ HR programs, they must manage and operate their internal HR system.

Recruitment and Hiring

OPM develops these programs to help strengthen the current hiring reform movement by streamlining and simplifying the hiring process.

Pay and Leave

They provide leadership on federal pay and leave administration policies and programs. They maintain pay tables for GS employees, manage the Federal Wage System, and develop and provide government-wide regulations and policies on other pay and leave authorities.

Sr. Executive Service and Performance Management

OPM leads a government-wide human capital policy for SES employees, as well as non-executive performance, awards, and leadership development.

Partnership and Labor Relations (PLR)

OPM provides technical expertise, policy guidance, and professional development opportunities for employees across the federal government. They work with federal agencies on issues under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute to help maintain good relations among agencies, labor organizations, and employees.

Veterans’ Services

They provide government-wide leadership and direction to improve federal employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning military service members, military spouses, and their families.

OPM HR (Internal)

This functions as OPM’s HR office. They work to support the needs of the many program offices within OPM from recruiting candidates for employee opportunities to handling all internal HR-related matters for OPM’s current workforce.

Retirement Services

This service is responsible for the government-wide administration of retirement benefits and services for federal employees, retirees, and families. These benefits and services offer employees the opportunity to plan for their retirement. They also strive to provide timely and responsive services and information to retirees and their families. In addition, they administer the CSRS and FERS retirement systems, serving 2.5 million federal retirees and survivors who receive monthly annuity payments.

Healthcare and Insurance

This is organized into two groups; Federal Employee Insurance Operations (FEIO) and National Healthcare Operations (NHO). The FEIO is responsible for the government-wide administration of health benefits and insurance programs for federal employees, retirees, and their families through the FEHBP. They are also responsible for administering 3 voluntary enrollee programs—LTCIP, flexible spending accounts, and group dental and vision insurance programs.

Merit Systems Accountability and Compliance

MSAC ensures federal agency HR programs are effective and meet Merit System principles and requirements. They work directly with other HR programs to make improvements or changes to programs that aren’t in compliance. They also adjudicate classification appeals, job grading appeals, Fair Labor Standards Act claims, leave claims, and compensation claims.

Federal Investigative Services (FIS)

They are responsible for helping ensure that the federal government has a workforce that is worthy of public trust. Each year, FIS conducts over 2 million background investigations using a staff of 8,800 investigators. They also provide investigative systems training and conduct oversight of other agencies to ensure they follow federal security regulations.

Human Resource Solutions

OPM provides HR products to meet the needs of the federal government. They do this with a group of consultants, psychologists, IT specialists, and program managers and partner with federal agencies to develop leaders, attract and build a high-quality public sector workforce, and transform agencies into high performing organizations.

Administrative Law Judges

By law, the ALJ office has sole authority for administering, planning, operating, and directing recruitment for ALJ’s. Several agencies employ them to adjudicate disputes, presiding over hearings and making initial determinations on disputes. OPM manages their applicant assessment program.

HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions (HRSES)

This division provides strategies that help agencies plan and position for maximum performance. It includes organizational strategies such as workforce planning and strategies geared towards individuals.

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