Temporary Employment Reform

The seasonal work of land management agencies is accomplished by a mix of permanent seasonal employees and temporary seasonal employees.  Permanent seasonal jobs are preferable to employees because they feature greater benefits and job security (see table of differences).  Currently, regardless of how many seasons they serve, temporary employees cannot compete for permanent jobs under the merit promotion procedures available to other federal employees.  This barrier causes high attrition, leading to high training costs and a less capable and less safe workforce.  It erodes our nation's wildland firefighting and emergency response capabilities.

The Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act removes a barrier to the career advancement opportunities of long-serving temporary seasonal employees of land management agencies.  The bill gives temporary employees the opportunity to compete for agency positions on an equal footing with other federal employees if they've worked over 4 seasons (at least 24 months of service time) and their performance was satisfactory.  This provides long-serving temporary employees with opportunity and their employing agencies with better applicant pools.  In addition, the bill authorizes the direct placement of temporary employees who have successfully performed the same job for over 4 seasons (24 months) into vacant positions that are identical to their temporary positions (i.e., same duties, qualification requirements, and location).  This is a common-sense, good government reform with no direct costs and significant payoffs.

Companion bills have been introduced in the House and Senate.  The bill numbers are H.R. 533 and S. 1120, respectively.

The following documents provide additional background on the issue and the bill:

HR 533 was introduced by Rep. Gerald Connolly [VA-11] on 2/6/2013.  The bill has strong bipartisan support.  The 30 cosponsors include 17 Democrats and 13 Republicans.  Noteworthy cosponsors include the Chairs of the authorizing and appropriations subcommittees of the affected agencies.  The list of cosponsors follows:

S. 1120 was introduced by Senator Jon Tester [MT] on June 7, 2013.  Senator Mark Udall [CO] is an original cosponsor.

Latest update: August 5, 2014


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