Military Spouses May Gain Better Access to Federal Career Tenure

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is considering a change to the rule that requires three years of “substantially continuous service” to be eligible for career tenure in the Federal competitive service. The “substantially continuous” requirement effectively erases any time in a Federal career position towards tenure if the employee has a break in service of more than 30 days.

The rule, as it currently stands, is a hardship for trailing military spouses. Any military spouse in a Federal position loses their tenure if they relocate with their spouse prior to being employed for three years if they do not become reemployed within a 30 day time period.  The Department of the Army brought the issue to the attention of the OPM. The new rule change would allow tenure to be attained with an aggregate service of three years, ignoring any breaks in employment.

Once Federal career tenure is attained, a Federal employee can leave their position and reapply for employment within three years without having to compete against the general public for a future competitive service appointment. A tenured employee is also able to keep retention standing compared to non-tenured employees when workforce reductions occur, and have more job mobility than non-tenured employees. These earned career benefits are critical for military spouses because of the mobility of the service member’s career. OPM is considering comments on the rule change until March 7, 2014. You can send or deliver comments to:

Ms. Kimberly A. Holden
Deputy Associate Director for Recruitment and Hiring
Employee Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Room 6551,
1900 E. Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20415-9700
Fax: 202.606.2329

Spouses may also comment through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: Be sure to include the agency name (Office of Personnel Management) and Regulation Identifier Number (RIN 3206-AM64).

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