The Office of Personnel Management extended the use of the Coronavirus Schedule A Hiring Authority for federal departments and agencies until March 2023 to help fill employment gaps in the government workforce left by the pandemic.

Under the directive, government entities may hire individuals that meet job qualification requirements directly, forgoing the traditional competitive and time-consuming application process. Appointments last for as long as one year and may be extended for additional 12 months. Any positions needed in direct response to the effects to the effects of COVID-19 may be filled under this authority.

“OPM has determined that the continued use of this special authority is justified, as agencies have ongoing responsibilities directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a memo released June 27.

The office manages the civil service of the federal government, coordinating recruitment recruiting of federal workers and managing their health insurance and retirement benefit programs. The pandemic hiring authority was first implemented in March 2020 and has been repeatedly extended.

If the new deadline is not extended again, no new appointments may be made, though appointments made before the deadline may be extended once it passes.

“COVID-19 continues to be a serious public health emergency,” the OPM said on their website. “OPM recognizes the continued presence of this pandemic requires that agencies retain the ability to conduct strategic, targeted hiring for specific critical, short-term roles to meet mission and/or hiring needs.”

Ryan White is a reporting intern at Sightline Media. He is currently a senior at The University of Maryland, College Park studying journalism.

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