NFFE-Backed Path to Permanence for Temporary Employees Signed into Law
Before leaving town for August recess, the Senate passed HR 1531, the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act (LMWFA). This comes in the wake of the House passing the LMFWA in July. And finally, the NFFE-backed bill was signed into law by President Obama on August 7, 2015. We did it!
For far too long, thousands of employees of land management agencies have served their country for five, 10, 20, or more seasons under a string of temporary appointments. Clearly, such employees are not really “temporary.” However, they end up stuck in temporary positions because of regulations that recognize their prior service only for the purpose of being reappointed to the same dead-end job, year after year. Regardless of how long they have served, regulations deny them the opportunities to advance their careers that other federal employees have. The LMWFA fixes this injustice. It provides long-serving “temporary” employees with a path to advance their careers – with a path to permanence.
The LMWFA gives long-serving temporary seasonal employees in land management agencies, including thousands of wildland firefighters, the same opportunity to advance their careers that other federal employees have. It does so by giving them the ability, previously denied, to compete for promotions under internal agency merit promotion procedures. Age requirements that previously prevented temporary seasonal firefighters from competing for permanent positions for which they may be well qualified are also be waived for experienced applicants.
“This has been on NFFE’s radar for decades. I personally have been working on this reform for at least seven years,” said NFFE National Vice President Mark Davis and past President of the NFFE Forest Service Council. “After years of moving the ball down the field an inch at a time, it feels great to finally be on the one-yard line!”
“This is a great day for federal temporary employees in the Forest Service and other land management agencies,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “My deepest thanks go out to all of those many public servants, including rank and file union members, who have supported our efforts over the years. It’s very gratifying that it looks like all of this hard work is about to pay off!”