Bush proposes more flexibility on work force

Bush proposes more flexibility on work force

The Bush administration last week proposed giving federal managers greater discretion in worker buyouts, recruitment and retention.

The Managerial Flexibility Act was part of a package called the Freedom to Manage initiative that the administration submitted to Congress. The proposal also included the Freedom to Manage Act, which would require Congress to quickly consider proposals to change federal management rules.

The flexibility act would let managers offer workers buyouts of up to $25,000. Rather than using buyouts and early retirement options only for downsizing, agencies could trim one area to build up another, such as IT employment.

Under the bill, federal managers would have more flexibility to set special salary rates and give bonuses for recruitment, retention and relocation, as well as to pay education costs. The proposal also would make it easier to implement demonstration projects by eliminating the 5,000-worker limit for a project and removing the limit of 10 demonstrations per agency.

Managers also could directly hire candidates for positions with a worker shortage or a critical need.

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