5 CFR § 337.204 - Severe shortage of candidates.

§ 337.204 Severe shortage of candidates.

(a) OPM will determine when a severe shortage of candidates exists for particular occupations, grades (or equivalent), and/or geographic locations. OPM may decide independently that such a shortage exists, or may make this decision in response to a written request from an agency.

(b) An agency when requesting direct-hire authority under this section, or OPM when deciding independently, must identify the position or positions that are difficult to fill and must provide supporting evidence that demonstrates the existence of a severe shortage of candidates with respect to the position(s). The evidence should include, as applicable, information about:

(1) The results of workforce planning and analysis;

(2) Employment trends including the local or national labor market;

(3) The existence of nationwide or geographic skills shortages;

(4) Agency efforts, including recruitment initiatives, use of other appointing authorities (e.g., schedule A, schedule B) and flexibilities, training and development programs tailored to the position(s), and an explanation of why these recruitment and training efforts have not been sufficient;

(5) The availability and quality of candidates;

(6) The desirability of the geographic location of the position(s);

(7) The desirability of the duties and/or work environment associated with the position(s); and

(8) Other pertinent information such as selective placement factors or other special requirements of the position, as well as agency use of hiring flexibilities such as recruitment or retention allowances or special salary rates.

(c) A department or agency head (other than the Secretary of Defense) may determine, pursuant to section 1413(a) of Public Law 108-136, as amended by section 853 of Public Law 110-181, that a shortage of highly qualified candidates exists for certain Federal acquisition positions (covered under section 433(g)(1)(A) of title 41, United States Code). To make such a determination, the deciding agency official must use the supporting evidence prescribed in 5 CFR 337.204(b)(1)-(8) and must maintain a file of the supporting evidence for documentation and reporting purposes.

(d) Information Technology (IT) positions.

(1) The head of a covered agency, as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, may determine whether a severe shortage of candidates exists at that agency for any position in the information technology management series, general schedule (GS)-2210 or equivalent. In making such a determination, a covered agency must adhere to and use the supporting evidence prescribed in 5 CFR 337.204(b)(1)-(8). For purposes of paragraph (b)(5) of this section, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) need only determine whether a severe shortage of highly-qualified candidates exists. In addition, a covered agency must maintain a file of the supporting evidence for documentation and reporting purposes. Upon determination of such a finding, an agency head may approve a direct hire authority for covered positions within the agency.

(2) Covered agency. A covered agency is an entity listed in 31 U.S.C. 901(b) (except the Department of Defense), or an independent regulatory agency defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5).

(3) Notification to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Once the head of a covered agency affirmatively determines the presence of a severe shortage and the direct hire authority is approved by the agency head, he or she must notify OPM within 10 business days. Such notification must include a description of the supporting evidence relied upon in making the determination.

(4) Using this authority. A covered agency must adhere to all provisions of subpart B of this part.

(5) Length of appointments. A covered agency may use this authority to appoint individuals for a period of more than 1 year, but not more than 4 years.

(i) A covered agency may extend any appointment under this authority for up to 4 additional years, if the direct hire authority remains in effect.

(ii) No individual may serve more than 8 years on an appointment made under these provisions for information technology positions.

(iii) No individual hired under these provisions may be transferred to positions that are not IT positions.

[69 FR 33275, June 15, 2004, as amended at 70 FR 44847, Aug. 4, 2005; 74 FR 61263, Nov. 24, 2009; 84 FR 12875, Apr. 3, 2019]

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