Civil Service Reforms Act

Posted in Human Resources Terms, Total Reads: 920

Definition: Civil Service Reforms Act

Civil Service Reforms Act was established on October 13, 1978. It reformed the civil service of the United States federal government. This was to respond to the Watergate scandal.

The United States Civil Service Commission was abolished and its functions were divided among three new agencies:

1. The office of Personnel Management (OPM)

2. The merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

3. The federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

The responsibilities of each of the agencies are as follows:

1. OPM: The OPM is responsible for providing management guidance to executive branch agencies and it is used to regulate the issues that the federal human resources control.

2. MSPB: The MSPB conducts studies of the federal civil service. The appeals of the disciplined federal employees is heard by the MSPB.

3. FLRA: The FLRA oversees the rights of the federal employees to form unions to bargain with the agencies.

The top managers of the Government were to get a new grade qualification – The senior Executive Service (SES). These managers were rewarded through bonuses based purely on merit. The middle managers were paid based on merit and results only. This act protected the ‘whistleblowers’.

Significance of the Act

As said above, this act made provisions so that whistleblowers could be protected. So a federal employee could bring up legitimate political abuse which was not efficient to the public. This can have no repercussions as the law protected the whistleblowers. In the absence of the law, there could have been harassment or threat of job security which could have resulted in financial hardship.

In the executive positions the percentage of women and minority working was low. The disproportionate representation of the veterans in the federal workforce was due to the lack of appropriate management judgement. A policy to fill senior positions with proper aggressive recruitment was enacted by the Civil Service Commission to attract capable women and minorities.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Civil Service Reforms Act along with its overview.

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