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FMA Washington Report: November 9, 2020
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 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.

What's Affecting Feds?
FEHB Plan Year Rates for 2021: Open Season Begins November 9!
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced the 2021 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program rates. The open season for health benefits, dental and vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts is November 9 through December 14, 2020.

The average FEHB premium increase will be 3.6 percent in 2021. The average enrollee share increase will be 4.9 percent, down from a 5.6 percent increase last year. The new health premiums go into effect in January 2021.
Agency Outreach
OPM Final Rules on Probationary Period, Dealing with Poor Performers, Take Effect November 16
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a final rule on October 16 making changes to the probationary period and giving managers more tools to deal with poor performers. The final rule becomes effective on November 16.

Government Executive provided an overview of the new rules in this article. The new rules enhance the probationary period by reminding managers of when the end of an employee’s one-year probationary period is three months and one month away. They also “streamline the process by which agencies can demote or fire workers for ‘unacceptable’ performance, clarifying that agencies are not required to help employees improve or provide an improvement period longer than the law requires . . . The regulations also bar agencies from agreeing to settlements with employees where the workers agree to resign in exchange for having adverse personnel actions stripped from their employment records.”
FMA FMA Statement on Executive Order Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service
On Wednesday, October 21, President Donald Trump released an Executive Order (EO) creating Schedule F in the Federal Government’s Excepted Service. FMA immediately voiced opposition to the action, which creates a new class of career “confidential, policy-determining, or policy-advocating” positions, unprotected by traditional due process. Click here to read the EO in full.

FMA endorses the Saving the Civil Services Act (H.R. 8687) introduced by House Government Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). This bill would prevent the executive order being implemented by blocking agencies from converting employees to or hiring any new Schedule F employees, as well as reinstating anyone fired because of this executive order, and granting them back pay.
OPM No Longer “Actively Pursuing” Merger with GSA
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has told its staff it is no longer actively pursuing the proposed merger with the General Services Administration (GSA). FMA has vocally opposed the proposed merger since its inception and supported congressional efforts included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that put the brakes on the proposal.

The NDAA prohibited the transfer of OPM’s statutory functions to GSA and required a formal study of the proposal by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). FMA National President Craig Carter, President Emeritus Pat Niehaus, and National Vice President Ron Gryga recently spoke with NAPA to contribute to their report, which is expected to be delivered to Congress in March 2021.  
Get Involved At These Events!
FMA Government Affairs Update Town Hall: November 12, 2020
Join FMA National President Craig Carter, Director of Government & Public Affairs Greg Stanford, Government Affairs & Communications Assistant Adam Kay, and other FMA members in a live video panel discussion and member-exclusive Town Hall on Thursday, November 12, at 8 PM Eastern. This discussion will analyze the results of the 2020 election and the composition of the 117th Congress, and what it means for FMA priorities over the next two years. Members will also be given a chance to say what direction they would like to see FMA take as we decide our 2021 Issue Briefs.

We will also discuss how we have laid the groundwork for policy successes in recent collaboration with several legislators, and how these successes can be realized in the 117th Congress.

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Click here to access the Government Affairs Update Archive.

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