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FMA Washington Report: March 8, 2024

This report provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.

Also, be sure to look for the monthly FMA Grassroots Update, where we offer links to action letters and FMA-PAC matters we do not address in the Washington Report. The grassroots newsletter is sent exclusively to non-governmental email addresses to avoid any Hatch Act violations. If you are not receiving it, contact the national office to provide your non-governmental email address.

Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing Greg Stanford at gstanford@fedmanagers.org or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It’s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.

Legislative Outreach
FY2024 Funding Nears Finish Line for Several Agencies; March 22 Deadline for DOD and Others

On March 6, 2024, five months and six days after Fiscal Year 2024 began, the House of Representatives approved a bill to provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year for several agencies. The package, approved by a vote of 339-85, would fund the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, and other smaller agencies. The Senate is expected to pass the bill today, and the White House backs it, to avert a partial government shutdown.

FMA joined other member organizations of the Federal-Postal Coalition on a letter to all members of Congress last week, urging swift action to prevent a devastating government shutdown. To read the letter, click here.

ICYMI: FMA Enthusiastically Endorses Federal Employee Pay Raise Bill for 2025

On January 30, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR Act) (H.R. 7127 / S. 3688, which would provide for an average 7.4 percent pay raise for the federal workforce in 2025. The bill would provide for a 4.0 percent boost in base pay and 3.4 percent in locality pay. H.R. 7127 has 78 cosponsors and S. 3688 currently has 16.

The Federal Managers Association (FMA) endorsed the legislation and National President Craig Carter was quoted in a joint press release from Connolly and Schatz upon introduction. “Federal managers deserve to be treated with respect for their efforts and the work they have performed over many years,” Carter said. “Every job they hold and perform daily is because of a congressional mandate. It is not too much to ask that, in return, feds be given the ability to maintain a living wage that provides for them and their families. We are grateful for Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz’s continued leadership on behalf of the entire federal community with the introduction of the FAIR Act. They are steadfast supporters of the workforce and FMA enthusiastically endorses the FAIR Act. We look forward to working with Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz to build support for this important bill.”

Agency Outreach
Biden EO Brings Return of Labor-Management Forums and Emphasis on Registered Apprenticeships

On March 6, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) promoting the use of Labor-Management Forums and expanding the use of registered apprenticeships to develop the federal workforce.

The EO directs officials from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Labor, and other agencies to “reduce barriers and create pathways” across the federal workforce for registered apprenticeships. “As the Nation’s largest employer and procurer of goods and services, the Federal Government can be a model for the use and promotion of skills-based hiring, such as the use of Registered Apprenticeships, which reduces barriers to employment and attracts a diverse workforce to meet our Nation’s critical needs,” the EO reads. The EO also promotes and expands the use of RA’s through grants and contracts, building on $95 million in competitive grants through Apprenticeship Building America and $100 million available for State Apprenticeship Expansion Formula Grants.

OPM Releases the Future of the Workforce Playbook and Offers Free Webinars for Managers

On February 22, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) shared a new Workforce of the Future Playbook supporting "a federal workforce that is inclusive, agile and engaged, and equipped with the right skills to deliver for the American people." The Playbook provides actions that agencies can take to build and equip the workforce of the future, incorporating new strategies and sharing best practices across government. OPM will make periodic updates on the Workforce of the Future webpage.

“OPM is 100% invested in strengthening the federal workforce,” said OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. “This Playbook is just another example of OPM’s ongoing efforts to equip federal agencies with the tools and resources to hire the right talent and strategically plan for their future workforce. The federal government works best when we leverage the full talent of our nation and workforce – this playbook is full of useful strategies to do just that.”?

OPM Provides Guidance on Pay, Leave, and Other Issues Related to Artificial Intelligence

On February 27, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja sent a memorandum on pay flexibility, incentive pay, and leave and workforce flexibility programs for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The memo was pursuant to an Executive Order aimed at increasing AI talent in the federal workforce. OPM provided guidance for agencies related to AI, including programs available to recruit and retain AI talent.

The guidance, available on FMA’s website and at this link, covers recruitment, relocation and retention incentives, special rates and critical position pay, alternative work schedules, telework and remote work, and other leave and workforce flexibilities.

Administration Touts New Student Loan Repayment Plan

The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, launched by the U.S. Department of Education in August 2023, is a new income driven repayment (IDR) plan that helps to ease the financial burden of student loans. Tailored to offer the lowest monthly payments among IDR plans, SAVE adjusts payments based on income and family size and increases the income exemption to 225% of the federal poverty line. The plan also provides an interest subsidy for borrowers who make their monthly payments, so they don’t have to watch their balances grow. Because payments are calculated on a smaller portion of one’s income, monthly payments are lower for most borrowers.

Additionally, borrowers can benefit from SAVE’s lower monthly payments and interest subsidy while also pursuing loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. After the equivalent of 120 qualifying payments, PSLF forgives Direct loans for those in qualifying public service jobs, which includes work for government or 501(C)(3) non-profit organizations.

OPM – Retirement Quick Guide

In March 2023, OPM launched a Retirement Quick Guide that shares what feds can expect through the retirement application process, how benefits are determined, and guidelines related to their interim and annuity payments. You can also view a three-page printable PDF version of the quick guide here: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-center/retirement-quick-guide/opm-retirement-quick-guide.pdf.

What's Affecting Feds?
Partnership for Public Service Suggests Additional Probationary Period Guidance

In December 2023, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provided “Practical Tips for Supervisors of Probationers,” guidance aimed at helping managers maximize their use of the probationary period. The key points are:

• Understand why the probationary period is important.

• Know your new hire’s rights.

• Make full use of the probationary period for employees.

• Communicate expectations for performance and conduct.

• Provide regular and frequent feedback.

• Set reminders to assess the probationer regularly.

• Act promptly.

• Know about the excepted service and the trial period.

• Remember that there are other types of probationary periods, too.

• Regularly consult your human resources advisors.

Get Involved At These Events!
FMA’s 86th National Convention & Management Training Seminar

FMA's 86th National Convention & Management Training Seminar will be held Sunday, March 24 - Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town. Registration is open! The hotel is conveniently located across the street from the King Street Metro Station and near the FMA National Office! We hope to see you there! Use this link to make your hotel reservations. For the most up to date information, visit FMA's website regularly.


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The Association’s considerable influence stems from a team approach to advocacy. When lawmakers or agency decision-makers consider proposals that could adversely affect the management of the federal workforce, they quickly realize that TEAM FMA stands together to protect the interests of all its members.

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