Senate Committee Advances NTEU-Supported Bills on VSIP and CBP Hiring

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October 4, 2017

Washington, D.C – The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) strongly supports a government-wide increase in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) from $25,000 to $40,000 in legislation unanimously approved by a key Senate committee Wednesday.

This $15,000 increase is a long-overdue improvement to the VSIP program and brings parity with the Department of Defense,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “We encourage the full Senate and the House to pass this legislation quickly and send it to the president for his signature.”

The VSIP Adjustment Act, S. 1888, passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today with bipartisan support and now goes to the full Senate.

The VSIP was capped at $25,000 in 1993 and is no longer enough to be a true incentive for an employee to consider leaving government service.

“While NTEU believes that the federal agencies need to hold on to their dedicated workforces, if it becomes necessary to offer employees a buyout, it should be at the $40,000 level,” Reardon said. NTEU also supports the provision of the bill that would adjust the VSIP amount for inflation.

Also today, the committee approved S. 1305, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Hiring and Retention Act. NTEU endorses this proposal because it authorizes additional recruitment and retention bonuses and other incentive programs to help CBP address staffing shortages in hard-to-fill rural and remote area duty assignments.

"The staffing shortages at certain ports of entry have forced CBP employees to work unwanted overtime and take temporary duty assignments, and morale has suffered,” Reardon said. “This bill would help fill vacancies and compensate existing employees serving in certain remote areas.”

Finally, the committee approved two bills opposed by NTEU. The Direct Hire of Students and Recent Graduates Act, S. 1887, would unwisely eliminate the veterans’ preference in federal hiring and make it harder for existing federal employees to pursue promotions in their agencies.

And the Temporary and Term Appointments Act, S. 1886, would increase the government’s reliance on temporary workers and deprive taxpayers of the services of experienced employees. Agencies already have plenty of flexibility to hire temporary and term employees for two and four years respectively, and NTEU is concerned that expanding the program is a way to reduce the hiring of permanent employees and deprive these employees of job security and access to benefits.

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