A new bill was introduced to congress that would allow for a swifter termination of federal employees. And it could threaten federal workers’ retirement plans as well.
The Public Service Reform Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Chip Roy, gives government officials a process to fire federal employees at will. It applies only to career employees, including postal workers and others under the executive administration. This means an employee can be dismissed for any reason.
According to Roy, “My bill would make all federal bureaucrats at-will employees—just like private sector workers—and claw back the inordinate protections some federal employees grossly abuse while helping legitimate whistleblowers and victims of discrimination get the justice they deserve.”
Here’s the basic process of what’s proposed in the bill:
Employee receives written notification of termination, and are immediately suspended from duties
Employee has 14 days (or potentially less, determined by the person that recommended the termination) to provide a written response
It’s unknown if the hearing will be guaranteed. Here is what it says in the bill: “The deciding official shall review the proposed removal and employee response under paragraph (1), and may, in their sole and exclusive discretion, conduct a hearing on the matter.”
Here’s The Basic Process Of What’s Proposed In The Bill:
- Employee receives written notification of termination, and are immediately suspended from duties.
- Employee has 14 days (or potentially less, determined by the person that recommended the termination) to provide a written response.
- It’s unknown if the hearing will be guaranteed. Here is what it says in the bill: “The deciding official shall review the proposed
- removal and employee response under paragraph (1), and may, in their sole and exclusive discretion, conduct a hearing on the matter.”
The process abolishes the Merit Systems Protection Board, an organization that has traditionally presided over wrongful termination cases in the federal space, and instead gives the power to the agency that is directly linked to the employee being terminated.
This is the third iteration of this bill since 2016, and with each time it’s brought up, the likelihood of potentially passing becomes greater.
Here Are A Few Further Details To Consider
- There is a process to file complaints against discrimination and wrongful termination with the leaders of the department. However these leaders are likely the ones who are officials proposing the termination. Therefore, some might feel better filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, OSC, or judiciary.
- Contesting the termination (for whistleblowing) could affect the retirement benefits of the employee; according to the bill, if the court rules that the appeal is “in bad faith or frivolous,” the court could decide to reduce the employee’s retirement annuities by 25%.
- Not only would the employee have to go without a paycheck during the appeal, if they win and are reinstated they wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed the position they previously had, and might have to settle for being placed in a similar position.
This would obviously be a major change in the federal workplace. The bill has not passed into law yet, but it could be something that may be a part of the near future.
Know Your Options!
Claim Your Free Federal Benefits Workbook Today
Was this article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!
Sorry about that
How can we improve it?