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OPM to Extend Appointment Benefit to Same-Sex Domestic Partners

Developments at OPM:  In a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on July 28, 2011, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed changes to existing regulations to extend an existing noncompetitive appointment authority for federal civil service positions to same-sex domestic partners.  The notice of proposed rulemaking proposed revisions to 5 C.F.R. § 315.608.   The present regulation provides a noncompetitive appointment benefit for federal employees and their immediate family members residing with them for cases where the federal employee had served 52 weeks or more at an overseas posting.  The present regulation only includes spouses and children under age 23 who accompanied the federal employee; OPM's proposal would add domestic partners to that eligibility list, and incorporating a definition of 'domestic partner' into the regulation.  In the background section of the notice, OPM explained that the proposed rulemaking was designed to implement two memoranda issued by President Obama aimed at extending benefits to qualifying same sex domestic partners that were previously reserved to married couples, within the bounds of present law.  Comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking must be received by September 26, 2011.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published at 76 Fed.Reg. 45,204.  For those individuals or groups who are interested in commenting, information for responding with comments are contained in the OPM notice.  Developments at OPM during the Obama administation certainly show the President's agenda being put into effect.

For an understandable guide to federal employees' legal rights, check out the Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide, 2d ed, authored by the attorneys of Passman & Kaplan, PC.

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