[USC02] 38 USC PART I, CHAPTER 7, SUBCHAPTER I: GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS
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38 USC PART I, CHAPTER 7, SUBCHAPTER I: GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART I—GENERAL PROVISIONSCHAPTER 7—EMPLOYEES

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL EMPLOYEE MATTERS

Amendments

2016Pub. L. 114–223, div. A, title II, §247(a)(2)(A), Sept. 29, 2016, 130 Stat. 890, inserted subchapter heading.

§701. Placement of employees in military installations

The Secretary may place employees of the Department in such Army, Navy, and Air Force installations as may be considered advisable for the purpose of adjudicating disability claims of, and giving aid and advice to, members of the Armed Forces who are about to be discharged or released from active military, naval, or air service.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 394.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 701 and 702 were renumbered sections 1901 and 1902 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 231 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Reemployment of Former Employees at Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §204, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 963, provided that:

"(a) In General.—Notwithstanding sections 3309 through 3318 of title 5, United States Code, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may noncompetitively appoint a qualified former career or career conditional employee to any position within the competitive service at the Department of Veterans Affairs that is one grade or equivalent higher than the grade or equivalent of the position at the Department most recently occupied by the employee.

"(b) Limitation.—The Secretary may not appoint a qualified former employee to a position that is more than one grade (or equivalent) higher than the position at the Department most recently occupied by the employee.

"(c) Definition of Qualified Former Employee.—For purposes of this section, the term 'qualified former employee' means any individual who—

"(1) formerly occupied any career or career conditional position at the Department of Veterans Affairs within 2 years before applying for reemployment at the Department;

"(2) voluntarily left such position, or was subject to a reduction in force, and had a satisfactory performance record while occupying such position; and

"(3) since leaving such position has maintained licensing requirements, related to the position, if any, and gained skill, knowledge, or other factors related to the position."

Promotional Opportunities for Technical Experts at Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §205, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 963, provided that: "Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 12, 2017], the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a promotional track system for employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs that the Secretary determines are technical experts pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary for purposes of carrying out this section. Such system shall—

"(1) provide any such employee the opportunity to advance within the Department without being required to transition to a management position; and

"(2) for purposes of achieving career advancement—

"(A) provide for the establishment of new positions within the Department; and

"(B) notwithstanding any other provision of law, provide for increases in pay for any such employee."

Employment of Students and Recent Graduates by Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §206, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 963, provided that:

"(a) In General.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations to allow for excepted service appointments of students and recent graduates leading to conversion to career or career conditional employment of a student or recent graduate of a qualifying educational institution, as defined by the Department.

"(b) Applicability.—The conversion authority described in subsection (a) shall be applicable to individuals in good standing who—

"(1) are employed in a qualifying internship or fellowship program at the Department;

"(2) are employed in the Department in a volunteer capacity and performing substantive duties comparable to those of individuals in internship or fellowship programs and meet the required number of hours for conversion;

"(3) are employed in the Department under a contract or agreement with an external nonprofit organization and performing substantive duties comparable to those of individuals in internship or fellowship programs;

"(4) have received educational assistance under chapter 33 of title 38, United States Code; or

"(5) graduated from a qualifying educational institution, as defined by the Department, and have not reached 30 years of age.

"(c) Uniformity.—For the purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b), hours of work performed by an individual employed shall be considered equal to those performed by an individual employed in a qualifying internship or fellowship program by the Department."

Recruiting Database at Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §208, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 964, provided that:

"(a) Establishment.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a single database that lists—

"(1) each vacant position in the Department of Veterans Affairs that the Secretary determines is critical to the mission of the Department, difficult to fill, or both; and

"(2) each vacant position in the Department of Veterans Affairs for a mental health professional.

"(b) Qualified Applicant.—If the Secretary determines that an applicant for a vacant position listed in the database established under subsection (a) is qualified for such position but does not select the applicant for such position, the Secretary, at the election of the applicant, may consider the applicant for other similar vacant positions listed in the database for which the applicant is qualified.

"(c) Prolonged Vacancies.—If the Secretary does not fill a vacant position listed in the database established under subsection (a) after a period determined appropriate by the Secretary, the Secretary—

"(1) may ensure that applicants described in subsection (b) are considered for such position; and

"(2) may use the database established under subsection (a) to assist in filling such position.

"(d) Report.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 12, 2017], the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the use and efficacy of the database established under subsection (a)."

Exit Surveys at Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §211, Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 966, provided that:

"(a) Exit Surveys Required.—

"(1) In general.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop and carry out a standardized exit survey to be voluntarily completed by career and noncareer employees and executives of the Department of Veterans Affairs who voluntarily separate from the Department.

"(2) Consultation.—Such exit survey shall be developed in consultation with an appropriate non-Department entity with experience developing such surveys.

"(b) Survey Content.—The survey shall include, at a minimum, the following:

"(1) Reasons for leaving the Department.

"(2) Efforts made by the supervisor of the employee to retain the individual.

"(3) The extent of job satisfaction and engagement during the employment.

"(4) The intent of [the] employee to either remain employed within the Federal Government or to leave employment with the Federal Government.

"(5) Such other matters as the Secretary determines appropriate.

"(c) Anonymity of Survey Content.—The Secretary shall ensure that data collected under subsection (a)—

"(1) is anonymized, including through the use of a location that allows for privacy;

"(2) is not directly visible by another employee; and

"(3) does not require the departing employee to input any personally identifiable data.

"(d) Sharing of Survey Data.—The Secretary shall ensure that the results of the survey required by subsection (a) are—

"(1) aggregated at the Veterans Integrated Service Network level; and

"(2) shared on an annual basis with directors and managers of facilities of the Department and the Veterans Integrated Service Networks.

"(e) Annual Report.—

"(1) In general.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 12, 2017] and not less frequently than once each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report containing the aggregate results of the exit survey under subsection (a) covering the year prior to the report.

"(2) Contents.—Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include, for the period covered by the report, the following:

"(A) An analysis of the most common reasons employees choose to leave the Department.

"(B) The steps the Secretary is taking to improve retention, particularly for mission-critical occupations.

"(C) The demographic characteristics of employees choosing to leave the Department.

"(D) Any legislative barriers to improving employee retention.

"(E) The total number of employees who voluntarily separated from the Department and the number and percentage of whom took the exit survey under subsection (a)."

§703. Miscellaneous authorities respecting employees

(a) The Secretary may furnish and launder such wearing apparel as may be prescribed for employees in the performance of their official duties.

(b) The Secretary may transport children of Department employees located at isolated stations to and from school in available Government-owned automotive equipment.

(c) The Secretary may provide recreational facilities, supplies, and equipment for the use of patients in hospitals and employees in isolated installations.

(d) The Secretary may provide for the preparation, shipment, installation, and display of exhibits, photographic displays, moving pictures, and other visual educational information and descriptive material. For the purposes of the preceding sentence, the Secretary may purchase or rent equipment.

(e) The Secretary may reimburse employees for the cost of repairing or replacing their personal property damaged or destroyed by patients or domiciliary members while such employees are engaged in the performance of their official duties.

(f)(1) The Secretary, upon determining that an emergency situation exists and that such action is necessary for the effective conduct of the affairs of the Department, may use Government-owned, or leased, vehicles to transport employees to and from their place of employment and the nearest adequate public transportation or, if such public transportation is either unavailable or not feasible to use, to and from their place of employment and their home.

(2) The Secretary shall establish reasonable rates to cover the cost of the service rendered under this subsection, and all proceeds collected therefrom shall be applied to the applicable appropriation.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 394.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 703 and 704 were renumbered sections 1903 and 1904 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 233 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Outreach on Availability of Mental Health Services Available to Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–73, title II, §202, Oct. 26, 2017, 131 Stat. 1241, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a program of outreach to employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs to inform those employees of any mental health services, including telemedicine options, that are available to them."

Protocols To Address Threats Against Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 115–73, title II, §203, Oct. 26, 2017, 131 Stat. 1241, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure protocols are in effect to address threats from individuals receiving health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs directed towards employees of the Department who are providing such health care."

Clinic Management Training for Employees at Medical Facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 113–146, title III, §303, Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1788, provided that:

"(a) Clinic Management Training Program.—

"(1) In general.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 7, 2014], the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall commence a role-specific clinic management training program to provide in-person, standardized education on systems and processes for health care practice management and scheduling to all appropriate employees, as determined by the Secretary, at medical facilities of the Department.

"(2) Elements.—

"(A) In general.—The clinic management training program required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

"(i) Training on how to manage the schedules of health care providers of the Department, including the following:

     "(I) Maintaining such schedules in a manner that allows appointments to be booked at least eight weeks in advance.

     "(II) Proper planning procedures for vacation, leave, and graduate medical education training schedules.

"(ii) Training on the appropriate number of appointments that a health care provider should conduct on a daily basis, based on specialty.

"(iii) Training on how to determine whether there are enough available appointment slots to manage demand for different appointment types and mechanisms for alerting management of insufficient slots.

"(iv) Training on how to properly use the appointment scheduling system of the Department, including any new scheduling system implemented by the Department.

"(v) Training on how to optimize the use of technology, including the following:

     "(I) Telemedicine.

     "(II) Electronic mail.

     "(III) Text messaging.

     "(IV) Such other technologies as specified by the Secretary.

"(vi) Training on how to properly use physical plant space at medical facilities of the Department to ensure efficient flow and privacy for patients and staff.

"(B) Role-specific.—The Secretary shall ensure that each employee of the Department included in the clinic management training program required by paragraph (1) receives education under such program that is relevant to the responsibilities of such employee.

"(3) Sunset.—The clinic management training program required by paragraph (1) shall terminate on the date that is 2 years after the date on which the Secretary commences such program.

"(b) Training Materials.—

"(1) In general.—After the termination of the clinic management training program required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall provide training materials on health care management to each of the following employees of the Department that are relevant to the position and responsibilities of such employee upon the commencement of employment of such employee:

"(A) Any manager of a medical facility of the Department.

"(B) Any health care provider at a medical facility of the Department.

"(C) Such other employees of the Department as the Secretary considers appropriate.

"(2) Update.—The Secretary shall regularly update the training materials required under paragraph (1)."

[For definition of "facility of the Department" as used in section 303 of Pub. L. 113–146, set out above, see section 2 of Pub. L. 113–146, set out as a note under section 1701 of this title.]

Limitation on Awards and Bonuses Paid to Employees of Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 113–146, title VII, §705, Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1798, as amended by Pub. L. 114–198, title IX, §951, July 22, 2016, 130 Stat. 778; Pub. L. 115–182, title III, §305, June 6, 2018, 132 Stat. 1469, provided that:

"(a) Limitation.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that the aggregate amount of awards and bonuses paid by the Secretary in a fiscal year under chapter 45 or 53 of title 5, United States Code, or any other awards or bonuses authorized under such title or title 38, United States Code, does not exceed the following amounts:

"(1) With respect to each of fiscal years 2017 through 2018, $250,000,000, of which not less than $20,000,000 shall be for recruitment, relocation, and retention bonuses.

"(2) With respect to each of fiscal years 2019 through 2021, $290,000,000, of which not less than $20,000,000 shall be for recruitment, relocation, and retention bonuses.

"(3) With respect to each of fiscal years 2022 through 2024, $360,000,000.

"(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the limitation under subsection (a) should not disproportionately impact lower-wage employees and that the Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraged to use bonuses to incentivize high-performing employees in areas in which retention is challenging."

§705. Telephone service for medical officers and facility directors

The Secretary may pay for official telephone service and rental in the field whenever incurred in case of official telephones for directors of centers, hospitals, independent clinics, domiciliaries, and medical officers of the Department where such telephones are installed in private residences or private apartments or quarters, when authorized under regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 395.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 705 and 706 were renumbered sections 1905 and 1906 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 234 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

§707. Benefits for employees at overseas offices who are United States citizens

(a) The Secretary may, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the President or the President's designee, provide to personnel of the Department who are United States citizens and are assigned by the Secretary to the Department offices in the Republic of the Philippines allowances and benefits similar to those provided by the following provisions of law:

(1) Section 905 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (relating to allowances to provide for the proper representation of the United States).

(2) Sections 901(1), (2), (3), (4), (7), (8), (9), (11), and (12) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (relating to travel expenses).

(3) Section 901(13) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (relating to transportation of automobiles).

(4) Section 903 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (relating to the return of personnel to the United States on leave of absence).

(5) Section 904(d) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (relating to payments by the United States of expenses for treating illness or injury of officers or employees and dependents requiring hospitalization).

(6) Section 5724a(c) of title 5 (relating to subsistence expenses for 60 days in connection with the return to the United States of the employee and such employee's immediate family).

(7) Section 5724a(d) of title 5 (relating to the sale and purchase of the residence or settlement of an unexpired lease of the employee when transferred from one station to another station and both stations are in the United States, its territories or possessions, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico).


(b) The authority in subsection (a) supplements, but is not in lieu of, other allowances and benefits for overseas employees of the Department provided by title 5 and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.).

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 395; amended Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title XVII, §1723(a)(2), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2759.)

References in Text

The Foreign Service Act of 1980, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1)–(5) and (b), is Pub. L. 96–465, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2071, as amended, which is classified principally to chapter 52 (§3901 et seq.) of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse. Sections 901, 903, 904(d), and 905 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 are classified to sections 4081, 4083, 4084(d), and 4085, respectively of Title 22. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 3901 of Title 22 and Tables.

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 707 and 708 were renumbered sections 1907 and 1908 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 235 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 104–201, §1723(a)(2)(A), substituted "Section 5724a(c)" for "Section 5724a(a)(3)".

Subsec. (a)(7). Pub. L. 104–201, §1723(a)(2)(B), substituted "Section 5724a(d)" for "Section 5724a(a)(4)".

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–201 effective 180 days after Sept. 23, 1996, see section 1725(a) of Pub. L. 104–201, set out as a note under section 5722 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Ex. Ord. No. 12228. Allowances for Personnel on Foreign Duty

Ex. Ord. No. 12228, July 24, 1980, 45 F.R. 49903, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 12292, Feb. 23, 1981, 46 F.R. 13967, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America by Sections 7 and 8 of the Defense Department Overseas Teachers Pay and Personnel Practices Act of 1959, as amended (20 U.S.C. 905–906), Section 235 [see 707] of Title 38 of the United States Code, and Section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code, and in order to delegate authority with respect to allowances for Veterans Administration [now Department of Veterans Affairs] personnel and to update existing authorities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1–101. Payment of the additional compensation authorized by Section 8(a)(2) of the Defense Department Overseas Teachers Pay and Personnel Practices Act of 1959, as amended, shall be governed by the regulations contained in Executive Order No. 10000, as amended [set out as a note under section 5941 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees], which govern the payment of additional compensation in foreign areas (referred to as foreign post differential), subject to the provisions of Section 8(b) of that Act (20 U.S.C. 906(a)(2) and (b)).

1–102. The following functions vested in the President are delegated to the Secretary of State:

(a) That part of the functions in Section 7(a) of the Defense Department Overseas Teachers Pay and Personnel Practices Act which consists of the authority to prescribe regulations relating to quarters and quarters allowances (20 U.S.C. 905(a)).

(b) The authority in Section 8(a)(1) of the Defense Department Overseas Teachers Pay and Personnel Practices Act to prescribe regulations relating to cost of living allowances (20 U.S.C. 906(a)(1)).

(c) The following authority in Section 235 [see 707] of Title 38 of the United States Code to prescribe rules and regulations:

(1) Section 235(2) [see 707(2)], except as that section pertains to an allowance similar to that provided for in Section 901(6) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 4081(6));

(2) Section 235(3) [see 707(3)];

(3) Section 235(5) [see 707(5)];

(4) Section 235(6) [see 707(6)]; and

(5) Section 235(7) [see 707(7)].

1–103. The following functions vested in the President by Section 235 [see 707] of Title 38 of the United States Code are delegated to the Administrator of the Veterans Administration [now Secretary of Veterans Affairs]. The authority with respect to the allowances or benefits of paragraphs (1) and (4) of Section 235 [see 707(1), (4)] which are similar to the benefits and allowances provided in the sections of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 [22 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.], designated in those paragraphs.

1–104. Executive Order No. 10853 [not classified to Code], as amended, is revoked. The rules and regulations which were prescribed by the Secretary of State or the Administrator of the Veterans Administration [now Secretary of Veterans Affairs] pursuant to Executive Order No. 10853, as amended, and which would be valid if issued pursuant to this Order, shall be deemed to have been issued under this Order.

§709. Employment restrictions

(a)(1) Notwithstanding section 3134(d) of title 5, the number of Senior Executive Service positions in the Department which are filled by noncareer appointees in any fiscal year may not at any time exceed 5 percent of the average number of senior executives employed in Senior Executive Service positions in the Department during the preceding fiscal year.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the average number of senior executives employed in Senior Executive Service positions in the Department during a fiscal year shall be equal to 25 percent of the sum of the total number of senior executives employed in Senior Executive Service positions in the Department on the last day of each quarter of such fiscal year.

(b) The number of positions in the Department which may be excepted from the competitive service, on a temporary or permanent basis, because of their confidential or policy-determining character may not at any time exceed the equivalent of 15 positions.

(c)(1) Political affiliation or activity may not be taken into account in connection with the appointment of any person to any position in or to perform any service for the Department or in the assignment or advancement of any employee in the Department.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply—

(A) to the appointment of any person by the President under this title, other than the appointment of the Under Secretary for Health, the Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Inspector General; or

(B) to the appointment of any person to (i) a Senior Executive Service position as a noncareer appointee, or (ii) a position that is excepted from the competitive service, on a temporary or permanent basis, because of the confidential or policy-determining character of the position.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 395; amended Pub. L. 102–405, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 709 and 710 were renumbered sections 1909 and 1910 of this title, respectively.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 12 of Pub. L. 100–527, known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Act, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §3(3).

Amendments

1992—Subsec. (c)(2)(A). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" and "Under Secretary for Benefits" for "Chief Benefits Director".

§711. Grade reductions

(a) The Secretary may not implement a grade reduction described in subsection (b) unless the Secretary first submits to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report containing a detailed plan for such reduction and a detailed justification for the plan. The report shall include a determination by the Secretary (together with data supporting such determination) that, in the personnel area concerned, the Department has a disproportionate number of employees at the salary grade or grades selected for reduction in comparison to the number of such employees at the salary levels involved who perform comparable functions in other departments and agencies of the Federal Government and in non-Federal entities. Any grade reduction described in such report may not take effect until the end of a period of 90 calendar days (not including any day on which either House of Congress is not in session) after the report is received by the committees.

(b) A grade reduction referred to in subsection (a) is a systematic reduction, for the purpose of reducing the average salary cost for Department employees described in subsection (c), in the number of such Department employees at a specific grade level.

(c) The employees referred to in subsection (b) are—

(1) health-care personnel who are determined by the Secretary to be providing either direct patient-care services or services incident to direct patient-care services;

(2) individuals who meet the definition of professional employee as set forth in section 7103(a)(15) of title 5; and

(3) individuals who are employed as computer specialists.


(d) Not later than the 45th day after the Secretary submits a report under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall, upon request of either of such Committees, submit to such committees a report on the Secretary's compliance with such subsection. The Comptroller General shall include in the report the Comptroller General's opinion as to the accuracy of the Secretary's determination (and of the data supporting such determination) made under such subsection.

(e) In the case of Department employees not described in subsection (c), the Secretary may not in any fiscal year implement a systematic reduction for the purpose of reducing the average salary cost for such Department employees that will result in a reduction in the number of such Department employees at any specific grade level at a rate greater than the rate of the reductions systematically being made in the numbers of employees at such grade level in all other agencies and departments of the Federal Government combined.

(Added Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 396; amended Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(e)(5), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4685; Pub. L. 104–316, title I, §119, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3836.)

Prior Provisions

Prior section 711 was renumbered section 1911 of this title.

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in former section 210(b)(3) of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–83, §2(a).

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–316 inserted ", upon request of either of such Committees," after "the Comptroller General shall" in first sentence.

1994—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 103–446 substituted "committees" for "Committees".

[§712. Repealed. Pub. L. 107–103, title V, §509(a)(1), Dec. 27, 2001, 115 Stat. 997]

Section, added Pub. L. 103–446, title XI, §1102(a), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4680; amended Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §303, Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3194; Pub. L. 105–33, title VIII, §8023(e), Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 667; Pub. L. 105–368, title X, §1005(b)(1), Nov. 11, 1998, 112 Stat. 3364, limited reduction of full-time equivalent positions in the Department of Veterans Affairs during the period beginning on Nov. 2, 1994, and ending on Sept. 30, 1999.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 712 was renumbered section 1912 of this title.

§713. Senior executives: removal, demotion, or suspension based on performance or misconduct

(a) Authority.—(1) The Secretary may, as provided in this section, reprimand or suspend, involuntarily reassign, demote, or remove a covered individual from a senior executive position at the Department if the Secretary determines that the misconduct or performance of the covered individual warrants such action.

(2) If the Secretary so removes such an individual, the Secretary may remove the individual from the civil service (as defined in section 2101 of title 5).

(b) Rights and Procedures.—(1) A covered individual who is the subject of an action under subsection (a) is entitled to—

(A) advance notice of the action and a file containing all evidence in support of the proposed action;

(B) be represented by an attorney or other representative of the covered individual's choice; and

(C) grieve the action in accordance with an internal grievance process that the Secretary, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, shall establish for purposes of this subsection.


(2)(A) The aggregate period for notice, response, and decision on an action under subsection (a) may not exceed 15 business days.

(B) The period for the response of a covered individual to a notice under paragraph (1)(A) of an action under subsection (a) shall be 7 business days.

(C) A decision under this paragraph on an action under subsection (a) shall be issued not later than 15 business days after notice of the action is provided to the covered individual under paragraph (1)(A). The decision shall be in writing, and shall include the specific reasons therefor.

(3) The Secretary shall ensure that the grievance process established under paragraph (1)(C) takes fewer than 21 days.

(4) A decision under paragraph (2) that is not grieved, and a grievance decision under paragraph (3), shall be final and conclusive.

(5) A covered individual adversely affected by a decision under paragraph (2) that is not grieved, or by a grievance decision under paragraph (3), may obtain judicial review of such decision.

(6) In any case in which judicial review is sought under paragraph (5), the court shall review the record and may set aside any Department action found to be—

(A) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with a provision of law;

(B) obtained without procedures required by a provision of law having been followed; or

(C) unsupported by substantial evidence.


(c) Relation to Other Provisions of Law.—Section 3592(b)(1) of title 5 and the procedures under section 7543(b) of such title do not apply to an action under subsection (a).

(d) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) The term "covered individual" means—

(A) a career appointee (as that term is defined in section 3132(a)(4) of title 5); or

(B) any individual who occupies an administrative or executive position and who was appointed under section 7306(a), section 7401(1), or section 7401(4) of this title.


(2) The term "misconduct" includes neglect of duty, malfeasance, or failure to accept a directed reassignment or to accompany a position in a transfer of function.

(3) The term "senior executive position" means—

(A) with respect to a career appointee (as that term is defined in section 3132(a) of title 5), a Senior Executive Service position (as such term is defined in such section); and

(B) with respect to a covered individual appointed under section 7306(a) or section 7401(1) of this title, an administrative or executive position.

(Added Pub. L. 113–146, title VII, §707(a)(1), Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1798; amended Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §201(a), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 868.)

Prior Provisions

A prior section 713 was renumbered section 1913 of this title.

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–41 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to removal of senior executives based on performance or misconduct.

Construction

Pub. L. 113–146, title VII, §707(d), Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1801, provided a rule of construction related to appeal of a removal, transfer, or other personnel action that was pending before Aug. 7, 2014, and provided that the authority provided by former section 713 of this title would be in addition to the authority provided by section 3592 or subchapter V of chapter 75 of title 5.

Establishment of Expedited Review Process

Pub. L. 113–146, title VII, §707(b), Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1800, related to the establishment by the Merit Systems Protection Board of a process to conduct expedited reviews in accordance with former subsec. (d) of this section.

Temporary Exemption From Certain Limitation on Initiation of Removal From Senior Executive Service

Pub. L. 113–146, title VII, §707(c), Aug. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 1800, provided for a 120-day exemption, starting on Aug. 7, 2014, from certain limitations on the initiation of removals from the Senior Executive Service.

§714. Employees: removal, demotion, or suspension based on performance or misconduct

(a) In General.—(1) The Secretary may remove, demote, or suspend a covered individual who is an employee of the Department if the Secretary determines the performance or misconduct of the covered individual warrants such removal, demotion, or suspension.

(2) If the Secretary so removes, demotes, or suspends such a covered individual, the Secretary may—

(A) remove the covered individual from the civil service (as defined in section 2101 of title 5);

(B) demote the covered individual by means of a reduction in grade for which the covered individual is qualified, that the Secretary determines is appropriate, and that reduces the annual rate of pay of the covered individual; or

(C) suspend the covered individual.


(b) Pay of Certain Demoted Individuals.—(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any covered individual subject to a demotion under subsection (a)(2) shall, beginning on the date of such demotion, receive the annual rate of pay applicable to such grade.

(2)(A) A covered individual so demoted may not be placed on administrative leave during the period during which an appeal (if any) under this section is ongoing, and may only receive pay if the covered individual reports for duty or is approved to use accrued unused annual, sick, family medical, military, or court leave.

(B) If a covered individual so demoted does not report for duty or receive approval to use accrued unused leave, such covered individual shall not receive pay or other benefits pursuant to subsection (d)(5).

(c) Procedure.—(1)(A) The aggregate period for notice, response, and final decision in a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section may not exceed 15 business days.

(B) The period for the response of a covered individual to a notice of a proposed removal, demotion, or suspension under this section shall be 7 business days.

(C) Paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of section 7513 of title 5 shall apply with respect to a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section.

(D) The procedures in this subsection shall supersede any collective bargaining agreement to the extent that such agreement is inconsistent with such procedures.

(2) The Secretary shall issue a final decision with respect to a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section not later than 15 business days after the Secretary provides notice, including a file containing all the evidence in support of the proposed action, to the covered individual of the removal, demotion, or suspension. The decision shall be in writing and shall include the specific reasons therefor.

(3) The procedures under chapter 43 of title 5 shall not apply to a removal, demotion, or suspension under this section.

(4)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B) and subsection (d), any removal or demotion under this section, and any suspension of more than 14 days under this section, may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which shall refer such appeal to an administrative judge pursuant to section 7701(b)(1) of title 5.

(B) An appeal under subparagraph (A) of a removal, demotion, or suspension may only be made if such appeal is made not later than 10 business days after the date of such removal, demotion, or suspension.

(d) Expedited Review.—(1) Upon receipt of an appeal under subsection (c)(4)(A), the administrative judge shall expedite any such appeal under section 7701(b)(1) of title 5 and, in any such case, shall issue a final and complete decision not later than 180 days after the date of the appeal.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding section 7701(c)(1)(B) of title 5, the administrative judge shall uphold the decision of the Secretary to remove, demote, or suspend an employee under subsection (a) if the decision is supported by substantial evidence.

(B) Notwithstanding title 5 or any other provision of law, if the decision of the Secretary is supported by substantial evidence, the administrative judge shall not mitigate the penalty prescribed by the Secretary.

(3)(A) The decision of the administrative judge under paragraph (1) may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

(B) Notwithstanding section 7701(c)(1)(B) of title 5, the Merit Systems Protection Board shall uphold the decision of the Secretary to remove, demote, or suspend an employee under subsection (a) if the decision is supported by substantial evidence.

(C) Notwithstanding title 5 or any other provision of law, if the decision of the Secretary is supported by substantial evidence, the Merit Systems Protection Board shall not mitigate the penalty prescribed by the Secretary.

(4) In any case in which the administrative judge cannot issue a decision in accordance with the 180-day requirement under paragraph (1), the Merit Systems Protection Board shall, not later than 14 business days after the expiration of the 180-day period, submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report that explains the reasons why a decision was not issued in accordance with such requirement.

(5)(A) A decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board under paragraph (3) may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit pursuant to section 7703 of title 5 or to any court of appeals of competent jurisdiction pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(B) of such section.

(B) Any decision by such Court shall be in compliance with section 7462(f)(2) of this title.

(6) The Merit Systems Protection Board may not stay any removal or demotion under this section, except as provided in section 1214(b) of title 5.

(7) During the period beginning on the date on which a covered individual appeals a removal from the civil service under subsection (c) and ending on the date that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issues a final decision on such appeal, such covered individual may not receive any pay, awards, bonuses, incentives, allowances, differentials, student loan repayments, special payments, or benefits related to the employment of the individual by the Department.

(8) To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall provide to the Merit Systems Protection Board such information and assistance as may be necessary to ensure an appeal under this subsection is expedited.

(9) If an employee prevails on appeal under this section, the employee shall be entitled to backpay (as provided in section 5596 of title 5).

(10) If an employee who is subject to a collective bargaining agreement chooses to grieve an action taken under this section through a grievance procedure provided under the collective bargaining agreement, the timelines and procedures set forth in subsection (c) and this subsection shall apply.

(e) Whistleblower Protection.—(1) In the case of a covered individual seeking corrective action (or on behalf of whom corrective action is sought) from the Office of Special Counsel based on an alleged prohibited personnel practice described in section 2302(b) of title 5, the Secretary may not remove, demote, or suspend such covered individual under subsection (a) without the approval of the Special Counsel under section 1214(f) of title 5.

(2) In the case of a covered individual who has made a whistleblower disclosure to the Assistant Secretary for Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, the Secretary may not remove, demote, or suspend such covered individual under subsection (a) until—

(A) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary determines to refer the whistleblower disclosure under section 323(c)(1)(D) of this title to an office or other investigative entity, a final decision with respect to the whistleblower disclosure has been made by such office or other investigative entity; or

(B) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary determines not to refer the whistleblower disclosure under such section, the Assistant Secretary makes such determination.


(f) Termination of Investigations by Office of Special Counsel.—(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Special Counsel (established by section 1211 of title 5) may terminate an investigation of a prohibited personnel practice alleged by an employee or former employee of the Department after the Special Counsel provides to the employee or former employee a written statement of the reasons for the termination of the investigation.

(2) Such statement may not be admissible as evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding without the consent of such employee or former employee.

(g) Vacancies.—In the case of a covered individual who is removed or demoted under subsection (a), to the maximum extent feasible, the Secretary shall fill the vacancy arising as a result of such removal or demotion.

(h) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) The term "covered individual" means an individual occupying a position at the Department, but does not include—

(A) an individual occupying a senior executive position (as defined in section 713(d) of this title);

(B) an individual appointed pursuant to sections 7306, 7401(1), 7401(4), or 7405 of this title;

(C) an individual who has not completed a probationary or trial period; or

(D) a political appointee.


(2) The term "suspend" means the placing of an employee, for disciplinary reasons, in a temporary status without duties and pay for a period in excess of 14 days.

(3) The term "grade" has the meaning given such term in section 7511(a) of title 5.

(4) The term "misconduct" includes neglect of duty, malfeasance, or failure to accept a directed reassignment or to accompany a position in a transfer of function.

(5) The term "political appointee" means an individual who is—

(A) employed in a position described under sections 5312 through 5316 of title 5 (relating to the Executive Schedule);

(B) a limited term appointee, limited emergency appointee, or noncareer appointee in the Senior Executive Service, as defined under paragraphs (5), (6), and (7), respectively, of section 3132(a) of title 5; or

(C) employed in a position of a confidential or policy-determining character under schedule C of subpart C of part 213 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, or successor regulation.


(6) The term "whistleblower disclosure" has the meaning given such term in section 323(g) of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §202(a), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 869; amended Pub. L. 116–61, §6(1), Sept. 30, 2019, 133 Stat. 1116.)

Prior Provisions

A prior section 714 was renumbered section 1914 of this title.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (e)(2)(B). Pub. L. 116–61 substituted "to refer" for "to the refer".

§715. Congressional testimony by employees: treatment as official duty

(a) Congressional Testimony.—An employee of the Department is performing official duty during the period with respect to which the employee is testifying in an official capacity in front of either chamber of Congress, a committee of either chamber of Congress, or a joint or select committee of Congress.

(b) Travel Expenses.—The Secretary shall provide travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, to any employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs performing official duty described under subsection (a).

(Added Pub. L. 114–223, div. A, title II, §247(b)(1), Sept. 29, 2016, 130 Stat. 890.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 715 and 716 were renumbered sections 1915 and 1916 of this title, respectively.

§717. Limitation on administrative leave

(a) In General.—Except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary may not place any covered individual on administrative leave, or any other type of paid non-duty status without charge to leave, for more than a total of 14 days during any 365-day period.

(b) Waiver.—The Secretary may waive the limitation under subsection (a) and extend the administrative leave or other paid non-duty status without charge to leave of a covered individual placed on such leave or status under subsection (a) if the Secretary submits to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a detailed explanation of the reasons the individual was placed on administrative leave or other paid non-duty status without charge to leave and the reasons for the extension of such leave or status. Such explanation shall include the job title and grade of the covered individual and the location where the individual is employed.

(c) Covered Individual.—In this section, the term "covered individual" means an employee of the Department—

(1) who is subject to an investigation for purposes of determining whether such individual should be subject to any disciplinary action under this title or title 5; or

(2) against whom any disciplinary action is proposed or initiated under this title or title 5.

(Added Pub. L. 114–315, title V, §503(a)(1), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1568.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 717 and 718 were renumbered sections 1917 and 1918 of this title, respectively.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 114–315, title V, §503(b), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1568, provided that: "Section 717 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(1), shall apply with respect to any 365-day period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 16, 2016]."

§719. Reduction of benefits of employees convicted of certain crimes

(a) Reduction of Annuity for Removed Employee.—(1) The Secretary shall order that the covered service of an employee of the Department removed from a position for performance or misconduct under section 713, 714, or 7461 of this title or any other provision of law shall not be taken into account for purposes of calculating an annuity with respect to such individual under chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5, if—

(A) the Secretary determines that the individual is convicted of a felony (and the conviction is final) that influenced the individual's performance while employed in the position; and

(B) before such order is made, the individual is afforded—

(i) notice of the proposed order; and

(ii) an opportunity to respond to the proposed order by not later than ten business days following receipt of such notice; and


(C) the Secretary issues the order—

(i) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual responds under subparagraph (B)(ii), not later than five business days after receiving the response of the individual; or

(ii) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual does not respond, not later than 15 business days after the Secretary provides notice to the individual under subparagraph (B)(i).


(2) Any individual with respect to whom an annuity is reduced under this subsection may appeal the reduction to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management pursuant to such regulations as the Director may prescribe for purposes of this subsection.

(b) Reduction of Annuity for Retired Employee.—(1) The Secretary may order that the covered service of an individual who the Secretary proposes to remove for performance or misconduct under section 713, 714, or 7461 of this title or any other provision of law but who leaves employment at the Department prior to the issuance of a final decision with respect to such action shall not be taken into account for purposes of calculating an annuity with respect to such individual under chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5, if—

(A) the Secretary determines that individual is convicted of a felony (and the conviction is final) that influenced the individual's performance while employed in the position; and

(B) before such order is made, the individual is afforded—

(i) notice of the proposed order;

(ii) opportunity to respond to the proposed order by not later than ten business days following receipt of such notice; and


(C) the Secretary issues the order—

(i) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual responds under subparagraph (B)(ii), not later than five business days after receiving the response of the individual; or

(ii) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual does not respond, not later than 15 business days after the Secretary provides notice to the individual under subparagraph (B)(i).


(2) Upon the issuance of an order by the Secretary under paragraph (1), the individual shall have an opportunity to appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management before the date that is seven business days after the date of such issuance.

(3) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall make a final decision with respect to an appeal under paragraph (2) within 30 business days of receiving the appeal.

(c) Administrative Requirements.—Not later than 37 business days after the Secretary issues a final order under subsection (a) or (b) with respect to an individual, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall recalculate the annuity of the individual.

(d) Lump-Sum Annuity Credit.—Any individual with respect to whom an annuity is reduced under subsection (a) or (b) shall be entitled to be paid so much of such individual's lump-sum credit as is attributable to the period of covered service.

(e) Spouse or Children Exception.—(1) The Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, shall prescribe regulations that may provide for the payment to the spouse or children of any individual referred to in subsection (a) or (b) of any amounts which (but for this subsection) would otherwise have been nonpayable by reason of such subsections.

(2) Regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall be consistent with the requirements of section 8332(o)(5) and 8411(l)(5) of title 5, as the case may be.

(f) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) The term "covered service" means, with respect to an individual subject to a removal for performance or misconduct under section 719 or 7461 of this title or any other provision of law, the period of service beginning on the date that the Secretary determines under such applicable provision that the individual engaged in activity that gave rise to such action and ending on the date that the individual is removed from or leaves a position of employment at the Department prior to the issuance of a final decision with respect to such action.

(2) The term "lump-sum credit" has the meaning given such term in section 8331(8) or section 8401(19) of title 5, as the case may be.

(3) The term "service" has the meaning given such term in section 8331(12) or section 8401(26) of title 5, as the case may be.

(Added Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §203(a)(1), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 873.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 719 and 720 were renumbered sections 1919 and 1920 of this title, respectively.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §203(b), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 875, provided that: "Section 719 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(1), shall apply to any action of removal of an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs under section 719 or 7461 of such title or any other provision of law, commencing on or after the date of the enactment of this Act [June 23, 2017]."

§721. Recoupment of bonuses or awards paid to employees of Department

(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may issue an order directing an employee of the Department to repay the amount, or a portion of the amount, of any award or bonus paid to the employee under title 5, including under chapters 45 or 53 of such title, or this title if—

(1) the Secretary determines that the individual engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to payment of the award or bonus, and that such award or bonus would not have been paid, in whole or in part, had the misconduct or poor performance been known prior to payment; and

(2) before such repayment, the employee is afforded—

(A) notice of the proposed order; and

(B) an opportunity to respond to the proposed order by not later than 10 business days after the receipt of such notice; and


(3) the Secretary issues the order—

(A) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual responds under paragraph (2)(B), not later than five business days after receiving the response of the individual; or

(B) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual does not respond, not later than 15 business days after the Secretary provides notice to the individual under paragraph (2)(A).


(b) Appeal of Order of Secretary.—(1) Upon the issuance of an order by the Secretary under subsection (a) with respect to an individual, the individual shall have an opportunity to appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management before the date that is seven business days after the date of such issuance.

(2) The Director shall make a final decision with respect to an appeal under paragraph (1) within 30 business days after receiving such appeal.

(Added Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §204(a), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 875.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 721 and 722 were renumbered sections 1921 and 1922 of this title, respectively.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §204(c), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 876, provided that: "Section 721 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to an award or bonus paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs on or after the date of the enactment of this Act [June 23, 2017]."

§723. Recoupment of relocation expenses paid on behalf of employees of Department

(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may issue an order directing an employee of the Department to repay the amount, or a portion of the amount, paid to or on behalf of the employee under title 5 for relocation expenses, including any expenses under section 5724 or 5724a of such title, or this title if—

(1) the Secretary determines that relocation expenses were paid following an act of fraud or malfeasance that influenced the authorization of the relocation expenses;

(2) before such repayment, the employee is afforded—

(A) notice of the proposed order; and

(B) an opportunity to respond to the proposed order not later than ten business days following the receipt of such notice; and


(3) the Secretary issues the order—

(A) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual responds under paragraph (2)(B), not later than five business days after receiving the response of the individual; or

(B) in the case of a proposed order to which an individual does not respond, not later than 15 business days after the Secretary provides notice to the individual under paragraph (2)(A).


(b) Appeal of Order of Secretary.—(1) Upon the issuance of an order by the Secretary under subsection (a) with respect to an individual, the individual shall have an opportunity to appeal the order to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management before the date that is seven business days after the date of such issuance.

(2) The Director shall make a final decision with respect to an appeal under paragraph (1) within 30 days after receiving such appeal.

(Added Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §205(a), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 876.)

Prior Provisions

Prior sections 723 to 729 were renumbered sections 1923 to 1929 of this title, respectively.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 115–41, title II, §205(c), June 23, 2017, 131 Stat. 877, provided that: "Section 723 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to an amount paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to or on behalf of an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs for relocation expenses on or after the date of the enactment of this Act [June 23, 2017]."

§725. Annual performance plan for political appointees

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall conduct an annual performance plan for each political appointee of the Department that is similar to the annual performance plan conducted for an employee of the Department who is appointed as a career appointee (as that term is defined in section 3132(a) of title 5) within the Senior Executive Service at the Department.

(b) Elements of Plan.—Each annual performance plan conducted under subsection (a) with respect to a political appointee of the Department shall include an assessment of whether the appointee is meeting the following goals:

(1) Recruiting, selecting, and retaining well-qualified individuals for employment at the Department.

(2) Engaging and motivating employees.

(3) Training and developing employees and preparing those employees for future leadership roles within the Department.

(4) Holding each employee of the Department that is a manager accountable for addressing issues relating to performance, in particular issues relating to the performance of employees that report to the manager.


(c) Definition of Political Appointee.—In this section, the term "political appointee" means an employee of the Department who holds—

(1) a position which has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character; or

(2) a position in the Senior Executive Service as a noncareer appointee (as such term is defined in section 3132(a) of title 5).

(Added Pub. L. 115–46, title II, §203(a), Aug. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 962.)

§726. Annual report on performance awards and bonuses awarded to certain high-level employees

(a) In General.—Not later than 100 days after the end of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that contains, for the most recent fiscal year ending before the submittal of the report, a description of all performance awards or bonuses awarded to each of the following:

(1) Regional Office Director of the Department.

(2) Director of a Medical Center of the Department.

(3) Director of a Veterans Integrated Service Network.

(4) Senior executive of the Department.


(b) Elements.—Each report submitted under subsection (a) shall include the following with respect to each performance award or bonus awarded to an individual described in such subsection:

(1) The amount of each award or bonus.

(2) The job title of the individual awarded the award or bonus.

(3) The location where the individual awarded the award or bonus works.


(c) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) The term "appropriate committees of Congress" means the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives.

(2) The term "senior executive" means—

(A) a career appointee; or

(B) an individual—

(i) in an administrative or executive position; and

(ii) appointed under section 7306(a) or section 7401(1) of this title.


(3) The term "career appointee" has the meaning given that term in section 3132(a) of title 5.

(Added Pub. L. 115–182, title V, §501(a), June 6, 2018, 132 Stat. 1474; amended Pub. L. 115–251, title II, §211(a)(1), Sept. 29, 2018, 132 Stat. 3174.)

Codification

Section 501(a) of Pub. L. 115–182, which directed that this section be added at the end of this chapter, was executed by adding this section at the end of this subchapter, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 115–251 struck out ", United States Code" after "of title 5".

§727. Reassignment of senior executives

(a) Approval of Reassignments.—No individual employed in a senior executive position at the Department may be reassigned to another such position at the Department unless such reassignment is approved in writing and signed by the Secretary.

(b) Semiannual Reports Required.—(1) Not later than June 30 and December 31 of each year, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the reassignment of individuals employed in senior executive positions at the Department to other such positions at the Department during the period covered by the report.

(2) Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall describe the purpose of each reassignment and the costs associated with such reassignment.

(3) For purposes of paragraph (2), costs associated with a reassignment may only include the following:

(A) A salary increase.

(B) Temporary travel expenses for the individual or the family of the individual.

(C) Moving expenses.

(D) A paid incentive.


(c) Senior Executive Position Defined.—In this section, the term "senior executive position" has the meaning given such term in section 713(d) of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 115–188, §2(a), June 21, 2018, 132 Stat. 1490.)

§728. Misuse of Department purchase cards

(a) In General.—(1) The Secretary shall prohibit any employee of the Department who the Secretary or the Inspector General of the Department determines has knowingly misused a purchase card from serving as a purchase card holder or approving official.

(2) Such a prohibition shall be in addition to any other applicable penalty.

(b) Misuse.—For purposes of this section, the term "misuse" means—

(1) splitting purchases;

(2) exceeding applicable purchase card limits or purchase thresholds;

(3) purchasing any unauthorized item;

(4) using a purchase card without being an authorized purchase card holder; or

(5) violating ethics standards.

(Added Pub. L. 115–407, title V, §501(a), Dec. 31, 2018, 132 Stat. 5376.)