The Office of Personnel Management has finalized a rule allowing term appointments of more than four and maximum of 10 years for federal job posts related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
According to a notice in Federal Register, the rule, which takes effect Jan. 3, will enable government agencies to fill non-permanent positions in long-term STEM-related projects.
OPM proposed the rule in 2020 in an aim to meet the needs of time-limited projects with STEM vacancies. It would include a hiring authority to serve as a supplement but not a substitute for current recruitment agencies.
Research data showing that over 37 percent of STEM-related appointments in the last five fiscal years were extended upon the expiration of their four-year contract in part prompted the agency to issue the proposal.
The longer-term recruitment regulation is expected to benefit programs on information technology development and implementation, as well as projects that need manpower for research, analysis, testing and data collection. It could also improve federal agencies’ chances of attracting and retaining talent with up-to-date knowledge and training in the four disciplines, OPM stated.