Hearing on Future of the Federal Workforce
The House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held the second in a series of hearings on the future of the federal workforce. Jason Miller, Deputy Director of Management at the Office of Management and Budget, and Kiran Ahuja, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, testified at the hearing. NTEU submitted this statement noting that key to recruiting and retaining employees is for the federal government to provide employees flexible work schedules and expanded telework; better paying jobs and a strong benefits package—including strong retirement and health care benefits and paid family leave; and a work environment that is based on merit, values its employees and engages with them and their representatives to solicit input and address workplace challenges in a cooperative way.
Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) echoed many of these points, pushing for an average 5.1 percent pay increase for 2023 and his legislation aimed at preventing a future Schedule F in the excepted service. Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-GA) said that in trying to make sure the federal government is a model employer, it is treating federal workers like a privileged and protected class while emphasizing the creation of more perks, raising the minimum wage for federal workers and promoting unions. Instead, Representative Hice urged Congress to pass his legislation to codify the anti-union and Schedule F executive orders from the last administration that would undermine employee rights and protections.
During the hearing there was much discussion about telework, with Representatives Hice, Andrew Clyde (R-GA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) questioning productivity levels of employees teleworking, pushing for reduced telework, and questioning the locality pay provided to certain employees who telework. As you may know, last month Representative Biggs offered an amendment to H.R. 7951, the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act, which would have prohibited an employee who teleworks three or more days during any biweekly pay period from receiving locality pay during that period. That amendment failed.
NTEU will continue to push for stronger pay, benefits, and workplace rights and protections to ensure that the government can recruit and retain skilled workers and that employees are treated with dignity and respect.