Q. 1. When are the provisions of the new law effective?
A. They are effective as of October 31, 1998, the date the bill
was signed by the President.
Q. 2. What new statement is required on vacancy announcements?
A. Agencies must include the following statement on all merit
promotion announcements open to applicants outside their own agencies:
Q. 3. Must the new statement required for vacancy announcements be placed
on those which have already been posted?
"Veterans who are preference eligibles or who have been separated from
the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous
active service may apply."
A. No. Agencies should ensure that all vacancy announcements
issued after the date the bill was signed into law (October 31,
1998) contain the required statement.
Q. 4. What appointing authority should be used for appointing veterans under this law?
A. OPM has created a Schedule B appointing authority under 5 CFR 213.3202(n) for appointing veterans who are eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998. This authority, published in the Federal register on December 3, 1998, is available for your immediate use.
Q. 5. How are these new veterans to be considered?
They may be considered as a separate source of eligibles (as are most
VRA eligibles) or they may be rated and ranked with the agency's merit
promotion eligibles. This decision is the agency's choice. However, while
these veterans must be allowed to apply, they do not receive any
priority over other candidates.
Q. 6. Does veterans' preference apply to appointments under this new
A. Veterans' preference does not apply to merit promotion actions.
However, if an agency is considering these candidates as a separate source
of eligibles and one or more veteran is a preference eligible, then the
agency must apply preference within this group in the same way that it
is now required to apply preference within a group of VRA eligibles who
apply under a merit promotion announcement.
Q. 7. Will this new law permit veterans to be placed in other jobs in
A. Yes. A veteran appointed under this law may be reassigned,
promoted or demoted to another position within the agency, as appropriate,
but would remain employed under this excepted appointment. The veteran,
however, is always eligible to apply for competitive service positions
under an open competitive process.
Q. 8. If selected under merit promotion procedures to a position with
promotion potential, e.g., career ladder, can the veteran hired under this
excepted authority be promoted?
A. Yes. The veteran who was selected under merit promotion
procedures to a position with promotion potential may be promoted under
this excepted authority.
Q. 9. Under this new law, can a veteran with a Schedule B appointment
apply for other jobs within the agency?
A. If the agency is seeking candidates from outside
the agency through a merit promotion announcement, or through an open competitive
announcement, a veteran appointed under this new law may apply. However,
a veteran with a Schedule B appointment may not apply for merit promotion
vacancies opened only to internal agency candidates.
Q. 10. With a Schedule B appointment under this new law, may veterans
apply for vacancies in other agencies?
A. Yes. A veteran appointed under this new law may apply for
other vacancies in other agencies when the agency is seeking candidates
from outside the agency through a merit promotion announcement, or through
an open competitive announcement.
Q. 11. Will this new authority permit veterans to obtain competitive
A. No. To achieve status, a veteran would still need to
be appointed under an open competitive process or be eligible under a special
authority for noncompetitive conversion to the competitive service.
Q. 12. Are eligible veterans permitted to apply for vacancies that are
opened to CTAP candidates only?
A. Veterans who are eligible for appointments under this new
law could not apply for agency vacancies limited to CTAP
candidates because the agency is not seeking candidates from outside its
Q. 13. Are eligible veterans permitted to apply for vacancies that are
opened to ICTAP candidates only?
A. Yes. Veterans may apply for vacancies opened to ICTAP eligibles.
Q. 14. How does this new authority differ from the Veterans' Readjustment
A. The VRA provides for noncompetitive conversion to the competitive
service after 2 years of acceptable performance. This new law does not
provide for noncompetitive conversion.
Q. 15. If a veteran is eligible for appointment under both this new
appointing authority and a different appointing authority such as the VRA,
how does an agency decide which authority to use?
A. If a veteran is eligible for appointment under some other
authority (such as reinstatement or the VRA), an agency may not
use the new excepted appointing authority.
Q. 16. The new law creates a sweeping new redress process that allows
a preference eligible who believes an agency has violated his or her rights
under any law or regulation related to veterans' preference to file a formal
complaint with the Department of Labor, which may eventually end up before
MSPB or the courts. Who is going to administer this provision and how?
A. The Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training
Service (VETS) will administer this provision in much the same way that
it now administers the appeal rights of veterans under the Uniformed Services
Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
Q. 17. The new law also makes failure to comply with veterans' preference
requirements a Prohibited Personnel Practice under title 5 United States
Code. How does this provision relate to the new redress procedure also
created by this law?
A. The two provisions are separate and distinct, although there
is obviously some overlap. For example, a veteran who believes that an
agency "knowingly took" an action (or failed to take an action) that violated
his or her veterans' preference rights, would have the option of filing
a complaint with the Department of Labor or going directly to the Office
of the Special Counsel which adjudicates violations of Prohibited Personnel
Q. 18. Is OPM issuing regulations to implement the new law?
A. Yes. Although most of the provisions of the new law do not
affect statutory provisions administered by OPM, we are issuing a new regulation
-- 5 CFR 335.106 -- to reflect the additional requirement for merit promotion
vacancies and we are issuing issue a new Schedule B appointing authority
as mentioned previously.
Q. 19. If an agency is seeking candidates outside the agency and limits
a merit promotion announcement to status candidates in the local
commuting area, can veterans outside this area apply?
A. No. Veterans outside the commuting area are subject to the
same criteria that apply to other candidates.
Q. 20. Does this new law mean that an applicant who is retired military
can apply for a position in DOD without regard to the 180-day restriction
A. No. The new law made no change at all in existing provisions
of law. Thus, the provison that retired military personnel cannot be reappointed
to a position in DOD within 180 days of retirement (5 U.S.C. 3326), continues
Q. 21. A candidate for a Schedule B appointment must meet OPM's qualification
requirements for the position. What about any test requirement? Can it
A. Yes. Agencies may waive any written test for these candidates
in the same way they are now authorized to waive a written test for VRA
candidates. (See OPM's Qualifications Standards Operating Manual, Section
Q. 22. Does the new law apply to mothers, widows, and spouses as well
as to veterans themselves?
A. Yes. Anyone who qualifies as a preference eligible under
5 U.S.C. 2108 -- including those entitled to so-called derivative preference
(i.e., mothers, widows, and spouses) if otherwise eligible, may apply under
the new law and would also be covered by the new redress procedures.
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