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Policy, Data, Oversight Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

OPM Fact Sheet - COVID-19 Excepted Service Hiring Authority

Why is OPM extending this authority?

COVID-19 continues to be a serious public health emergency. OPM recognizes the presence of this pandemic may continue to have a negative impact agencies’ ability to meet mission and/or hiring needs throughout 2021.

The Authority expires December 31, 2021 - No new appointments may be made after this date. However, appointments made prior to December 31, 2021, may be extended beyond that date.

What is the COVID-19 Governmentwide Hiring Authority?

OPM has authorized the use of excepted-service appointments under 5 CFR 213.3102(i)(3) to address the need for hiring additional staff in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

What positions can be filled under this Authority?

Any positions needed in direct response to the effects of COVID-19.

What makes this Schedule A authority different than competitive hiring?

  • No Public notice (posting on is required; however, agencies can advertise if they choose and should conduct other appropriate recruiting activities.
  • Agencies must follow procedures in 5 CFR part 302, including veterans’ preference and pass overs of certain veterans, when using this authority.

Are employees hired under this Authority eligible for benefits? Yes...

Employees hired under the authority may be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Federal Employees Health Benefits
  • Federal Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts

Please contact your agency Benefits Officer to confirm eligibility.

What limitations apply to the use of Schedule A authority?

  • Agencies should use this authority in the same manner that they would use any other excepted service authority.
  • Agencies must have excepted service policies in place prior to using this or any expected service authority, which governs the process for receiving/processing applications; making qualification determinations; making selections; and the application of veterans’ preference (including pass overs).
  • Make appointments on a temporary basis for up to one year.
  • Extend appointments for 1 additional year (if need be).
  • These hires are subject to the same suitability/background investigation process as other applicants.
  • When documenting the SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action” for such appointments use “W9R/Sch. A, 5 CFR 213.3102(i)(3)” as the first authority and “W9C” as the final authority.
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