In a proposed rule change, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is seeking to allow agencies to create term appointments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations to allow for greater flexibility to staff long-term, non-permanent STEM projects.

With the new rules, positions would have to “stand-up, operate, and close-out time-limited organizations which have specific statutory appropriation; and time-limited projects which have been funded through specific appropriation; for up to 10 years.”

“The intended effect of this change is to allow agencies the flexibility and discretion to hire individuals with knowledge, skills and abilities tailored to a specific project or Congressional funded work that may not be required on a permanent basis or transferable to other functions of the agency,” OPM said. “This longer-term appointment may also assist agencies in recruiting individuals with specialized STEM knowledge who prefer the opportunity to work on a project-by-project basis to build their resumes and maintain current skills.”

Currently, OPM regulations term appointments are limited to four years and cannot exceed them without OPM approval, but this rule change proposes terms of more than one year up to 10 years for positions needed in support of projects and organizations specifically funded by Congress.

OPM is seeking comment on the rule changes before November 10, 2020.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.