Challenges for Federal Managers Increase

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Today’s environment in the federal government requires managers to be more adaptable than ever, as budgetary pressures combine with increased oversight and rapid technological change produce a myriad of challenges. In recent weeks, three developments have caught our eye.

  • At a Partnership for Public Service town hall on May 8, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) director Katherine Archuleta announced that her agency is finalizing regulations on phased retirement, and that the regulations should be released soon. Under phased retirement, employees who are eligible for retirement would, with the agency’s consent, be allowed to work half-time while getting a proportionate amount of their pension, with full retirement benefits recalculated at the end of their service taking into account the time spent working part-time. Once the regulations are issued and the phased retirement plans go into full effect, federal managers will be faced with the task of integrating these employees into the office. Beyond the burden of seamlessly spreading work between part-time employees that would otherwise be done by full-time staff, managers will also be forced to deal with the disruption among personnel that this may cause. As many of you have experienced, the expansion of telework in the office can often lead to disputes, petty jealousies, and hostility among staff. These problems could rear their head in offices with large phased retirement participation. If these problems would develop in your office, having a professional liability insurance policy would aid immeasurably in reducing your exposure. With FEDS PLI, complaints about unfairness or discrimination against you would be covered, and you would be have an attorney by your side to defend against such allegations.
  • A recent report by the Senior Executives Association (SEA) revealed that half of senior managers believe that overall morale in the federal government is “low” or “very low.” In addition, two/thirds of those surveyed reported that 2013 was not as good of a year for federal employees as 2012. In respondents’ comments, the most common complaints were centered on pay, as managers believed that low pay was responsible both for declining morale as well as low retention rates. All federal managers, to be sure, are familiar with these problems. A marked decline in morale can lead to a host of problems for managers, as employees’ production suffers and some productive employees decide to depart for the private sector. Low morale can also lead to an increase in complaints by employees, both against each other and against management. With allegations on the rise, having a professional liability insurance policy has become a necessity for managers in the federal government. The FEDS PLI policy provides for top-notch legal defense in the event of a complaint, allegation, or OIG or OSC investigation in which you are the subject.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its 2014 training course schedule. Among the courses listed is “EEO and HR for Managers & Supervisors,” which is offered jointly by both the EEOC and the OPM. The course should prove to be effective tool for federal managers in learning how to better handle problem employees and EEO complaints in a manner that does not negatively affect your performance or your office’s cohesion and morale. As EEO complaints are one of the most frequent challenges that managers face, they are perhaps the strongest reason for managers to invest in a FEDS policy. In the event of an EEO complaint, as a FEDS policyholder you are entitled to up to $200,000 in legal costs to protect against such matters.

This month’s Manager Matters items stress the continued challenges that federal managers face. In the federal government today, obstacles lurk around every corner. For federal managers, FEDS is your protection. A FEDS policy gives you the necessary peace of mind to perform your job, knowing that your civil, administrative, and criminal liabilities are covered. Call 866.955.FEDS or visit www.fedsprotection.com today to enroll or to learn more.

For more information on your specific exposures now, how professional liability insurance protects, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, please visit the FEDS website and choose the Executive and Managers tab. For more articles like this one, read "Yesterday's Headlines, Today's Coverage" in the bottom left corner on the FEDS homepage.

Posted in Manager Matters

Tags: management challenges, federal professional liability insurance

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