Biden’s budget aims to make agencies a ‘model employer’

President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2023 aims to address some of the federal government’s oldest problems: hiring and managing human capital.

The issue of federal human capital management has been on the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list for two decades, in part due to agencies’ difficulty filling positions with high-demand skills like cybersecurity and others. scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical disciplines. And agencies and job seekers have been complaining for years about how long it takes to hire a new federal employee.

Many labor provisions in Biden’s budget proposal, released Monday, aim to make the federal government a “model employer,” building on initiatives already underway within the administration. . For example, after the Office of Personnel Management issued regulations last year making it easier for federal agencies to pay interns and eventually hire them permanently, the budget includes funding to support agency plans to increase the reliance on internships after a decade in which the practice fell out of favor across the federal government.

“Agencies included in the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 have committed to hiring more than 35,000 interns in 2023, which will represent an increase from the expected hiring of interns in 2022,” the White House wrote in a statement. document accompanying the budget. “Agencies are integrating internships into workforce planning and prioritizing resources to increase paid internship opportunities.”

The budget also builds on efforts to improve the hiring process, in particular the initiative to rely more on skills assessments by agency subject matter experts to assess applicants, rather than self-administered assessments that dominated the traditional federal hiring process. In addition to scaling up the new assessment method, the Biden administration has said it wants to make it easier for agencies to share qualified candidates with each other, which would reduce duplicate job postings and make it easier for qualified people but who were. not selected for a job to still be hired by another agency.

“To scale these best practices, OPM is building functionality to engage subject matter experts in technical assessments and leverage centralized technology platforms to enable agencies to share lists of approved candidates, so that hiring managers can quickly view the resumes of applicants who have been assessed and are ‘pre-cleared’ for immediate selection,” the White House wrote.

The effort to reform how the federal government recruits new employees is expanding beyond Washington, DC, with more funding and a plan to restructure how regional federal executive councils are governed. Under Biden’s budget, funding for federal executive councils would shift from an “ad hoc” system to a centralized $10 million interagency line of business and the creation of a council program management office. federal executive, to which the local councils would report.

“Fluctuating budget and staff commitments by employing agencies previously compromised a sustained and dedicated approach over time,” the administration wrote. “Centered around a coordinated set of workforce and administrative priorities, BEFs will focus on local recruiting efforts helping to nurture the next generation of federal talent from diverse communities. In particular, leveraging BEFs to build internal and external relationships that will strengthen federal talent pipelines and recruitment is urgent given the challenges federal agencies face with federal hiring.

Biden’s funding proposal also addresses the need to retain federal workers, especially in high-skilled fields with high turnover. In addition to proposing to Congress a 4.6% average pay increase for federal employees in 2023, the plan proposes a variety of adjustments to federal pay, including changing pay for critical positions, establishing a new salary incentive for employees with critical skills, increased special rate capping for critical positions and updated general schedule compensation parameters for new hires.

There are also proposals in the budget that would improve non-wage benefits for federal workers. As part of a broader effort to expand Americans’ access to mental health care, the budget “reduces patient costs” for mental health services for those enrolled in Medicare, TRICARE, veterans and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

“The budget also mandates parity in coverage between behavioral health and medical benefits, and expands coverage for behavioral health providers under Medicare,” the budget says.

In one blog post Published on Performance.gov on Tuesday, Jason Miller, Deputy Director of Management in the Office of Management and Budget, and OPM Director Kiran Ahuja wrote that the federal government is serving as a “model employer” in order to enable the federal workforce to do its best work for the American people, and said the administration is committed to a long-term effort to improve human capital management.

“Together, each of these levers – the [President’s Management Agenda], the President’s Budget, and a strong OPM guiding innovative workforce policies – shaping a multi-year strategic plan to address critical workforce needs across government,” they wrote. “There is a lot of work to be done to meet and exceed each of these goals to support the federal workforce and ensure the federal government is a model employer.