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Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

FACT SHEET: Office of Personnel Management Displays Strong Leadership Under Director Ahuja’s Tenure

Key Federal Government Human Resources Agency Delivers on Biden-Harris Administration Priorities

Throughout her first year at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Director Ahuja has led OPM as the agency works to implement the Biden-Harris Administration priorities. The policies and authorities OPM delivered are allowing agencies to hire and support the skilled workforce they need to meet America’s needs.  

OPM’s efforts are positioning the federal government to lead by example at a time when the future of work is being redefined. As the largest employer in the nation, the positive impact extends far beyond the 2+ million federal workers, to sectors and communities across America.    

OPM’s work has been focused around three major priorities: positioning the federal government as a model employer and employer of choice, bringing much needed talent to the federal workforce and preparing it for the demands of the future, and reinforcing OPM’s role as a strategic partner for federal agencies.   

Major accomplishments include: 

Model Employer:As the largest employer in the United States, the federal government has the opportunity to serve as a model employer for other sectors to follow. Under Director Ahuja’s leadership, OPM is capitalizing on this opportunity by defining the future of work for federal employees, embracing workplace flexibilities and quality of life improvements, leaning in on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility to draw from the diversity of the American people and working to ensure every federal job is a good job.  

  • Leading on aspects of President Biden’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Executive Order 14035 implementation, including the rollout of the Government-wide DEIA Strategic Plan 
    • The Government-wide DEIA Strategic Plan helps position the federal government as a model for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, where all employees are treated with dignity and respect.  
    • The plan is helping strengthen agencies’ ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain our Nation’s talent and remove barriers to equal opportunity and works to ensure that the Federal Government has a workforce that reflects the diversity of the American people.  
  • Bringing back the Presidential Rank Awards, the premier awards program for federal employees, after the last Administration canceled them in 2020 
    • New OPM leadership made it an early priority to bring back the annual Presidential Rank Awards as a way to demonstrate this Administration’s commitment to honoring the federal workforce.  
    • 2021 recipients were honored in an event at the White House with President Biden. 
    • A Presidential Rank Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the federal career civil service, and these awards are critical to recognizing the hard work and important contributions of dedicated civil servants in the American federal workforce. This year, 230 winners from 37 federal agencies were selected by the President.  
  • Implementing time off for voting for all federal employees 
    • All federal employees now have up to four hours of administrative leave to vote in federal, state, local, and tribal elections as well as up to four hours per year to serve as a non-partisan poll worker thanks to OPM’s new time-off guidelines.  
    • By granting federal employees time off to vote and work the polls, OPM continues to strengthen our democracy by encouraging civic participation amongst the federal workforce.  
  • Implementing a $15 minimum wage across the federal government  
    • OPM championed efforts to grant all federal employees a living wage by setting the minimum pay for U.S. federal workers to $15 an hour. By doing so, OPM increased pay for over 67,000 federal employees in every state in the country.  
    • OPM’s work to ensure that all federal employees are appropriately compensated for their work has provided a myriad of benefits to the federal government, ranging from improved recruitment to greater retention and increased productivity.  
  • Providing health benefits that are responsive to employee needs 
    • All Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) carriers provide telehealth services ensuring access to health providers during the pandemic and on an ongoing basis going forward. In a 2021 survey, 43% of FEHB enrollees report using telehealth benefits and use was greatest among those with mental health or behavioral health concerns. 
    • In accordance with EO 14035, which directed OPM to promote equitable healthcare coverage and services for enrolled LGBTQ+ employees and their covered family members through the FEHB Program, OPM prioritized and strongly encouraged FEHB Carriers to provide gender affirming care benefits consistent with standards published by recognized medical experts. 

Bringing much needed talent to the Federal Workforce:OPM is committed to helping agencies rebuild the federal workforce while drawing from the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and viewpoints of the American people.  

  • In the last year, OPM has issued multiple hiring authorities aimed at rebuilding the federal workforce that are aligned with Goal 1 of the Presidential Management Agenda. 
    • Promotion and Internal Placement Regulation: OPM published a new regulation ensuring agencies can re-hire former federal employees at a pay scale that accounts for the skills they’ve acquired since leaving.  
    • Post-Secondary Student and College Graduate Hiring Authorities: OPM published two rules allowing college graduates and post-secondary students to apply for positions across the federal government that offer up to $72,000. These regulations will help bring in new perspectives and tech-driven skillsets, and, through providing good, well-paid jobs will help early-career professionals, from all walks of life, meet America’s needs for decades to come.
    • In addition to these efforts, OPM is increasing paid internships, developing Pathways reforms, and improving the Presidential Management Fellowship through policy change.  
  • Resetting labor relations by implementing EO 14003 and participating on the Taskforce on Worker Organizing & Empowerment 
    • OPM is leading efforts to reset labor relations for the Federal workforce, including the federal government’s implementation of multiple strategies to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining.  
    • OPM is proud to work on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration on this government-wide effort to remove barriers and obstacles in federal workplaces which impede unions’ ability to strengthen union density and inform civil servants about their collective bargaining rights.  
  • Diversifying our federal workforce by implementing skill-based hiring practices 
    • OPM is leading a new approach that helps hiring managers recognize and value skills regardless of where they were acquired, whether in a formal degree program, on the job, or on one’s own.  
    • These efforts to focus on skills rather than educational credentials will work to diversify the federal workforce and bring a breadth of lived experience and talent to the federal government.  
    • Given today’s competitive labor market, OPM has positioned the federal government to compete with other sectors for top talent. 
    • By focusing on merit-based reforms that increase the use of competency-based assessments, OPM will broaden the umbrella of individuals able to apply for federal employment and managers will be better able to identify skills and abilities prior to hiring.  

Workforce Strategic Partner: Amplifying and reinforcing OPM’s reputation as a leader in workforce development and a solutions-oriented strategic partner for federal agencies, consistent with recommendations in NAPA’s report to Congress on strengthening OPM.

  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law surge hiring 
    • Agencies need to hire now to fill essential and mission-driven roles to support implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: scientists to combat climate change, engineers to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges, and workers to help ensure that every community in America has clean water, just to name a few.   
    • OPM released a Talent Surge Executive Playbook and is working closely with agencies to give them the tools needed to staff up quickly to support this important work. 
    • USAJOBS has created a designated Bipartisan Infrastructure Law jobs page to help job seekers better identify positions needed to implement the Law. 
  • Updating Telework and Remote Work guide and Developing Resources for Re-Entry 
    • OPM is leveraging lessons learned during the pandemic to update guidance on flexible work hours, telework, and remote work. In so doing, OPM is empowering agencies to effectively deliver on their mission and compete for top talent in a changing labor market.   
    • OPM developed toolkits and resources that provided agencies the support needed to safely transition the federal workforce to a hybrid work environment. 
    • OPM is building on the innovation and technology we put to work over the past two years to make the federal workforce even more resilient, efficient, and productive.  
    • USAJOBS released a new Remote Work feature, which allows agency HR professionals to advertise a position as remote with an “Anywhere in the US (remote job)” location.  
  • Restoring CHCO Council functions to OPM, announcing a new steering committee and charter 
    • OPM is once again helming the Chief Human Capital Officer’s Council, the preeminent council for interagency collaboration in the federal government.   
    • The Council has been crucial to helping solve critical human capital management challenges facing the federal workforce, including the transition to the hybrid workplace.
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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the strategic human capital partner to the federal government that is recruiting, retaining, and honoring the workforce that's landing rovers on Mars, fighting climate change and cancer, and building this country back better. OPM provides leadership and support to agencies through key issues and services-including human resource policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, and retirement services- that impact more than two million people in the federal workforce. As the nation's largest employer, the federal government is the model employer across sectors.


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