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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Donald Trump Delivers Sweeping Changes for Federal Workers

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WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday gave himself greater flexibility in firing federal workers by signing an executive order designed to cut costs.

The new directive aims to offer federal workers “full and fair” pay for their performance, as well as putting a cap on their guaranteed employment tenure and the number of years they can work for a single employer.

It also seeks to increase the flexibility of government officials in discharging federal workers if they are no longer needed or if they were terminated for cause.

The White House issued the order, signed by Mr. Trump at the White House, as hundreds of thousands of federal workers face unpaid furloughs — and millions more face unpaid layoffs — amid a budget impasse between Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats.

Mr. Trump described the order as part of his broader efforts to reduce government spending and reduce the growing size of the federal government — a core part of his economic agenda — and to offer federal workers more pay in return for working fewer hours and fewer days a year.

The White House gave no estimate of how much the changes would save, or which cuts it might enact, although it did say that in general, they aim to limit government salaries.

It was Mr. Trump’s latest move to provide for more flexibility at the expense of government workers, who make up one-sixth of the 1.5 million-person workforce of the federal government.

Mr. Trump in May also signed an executive order that effectively paused a planned 5 percent pay raise, which was set to go into effect in January, for a year.

The order was described by the White House as the start of a series of upcoming executive orders intended to get more money to workers who did not previously receive additional raises or increase their base salaries, among other steps.

Under the new measure, federal workers will be paid based on a “pay protection index,” which tracks how much average compensation per employee at different organizations, or firms, increases.

But a law capping the number of years a worker can work for a single employer to be five would not apply to federal workers. And no longer would federal workers work consecutive 75-hour weeks, as they do under current law.

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