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KNAU and Arizona News

Bill Gives Seasonal Workers A Chance For Full-Time Employment

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The House of Representatives has passed a bill that paves the way for thousands of seasonal federal employees to be considered for full-time merit-based jobs. As Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris reports, the measure applies to land management workers, including wildland firefighters.

Under the federal government's current hiring system, only permanent employees are eligible for positions based on internal merit promotion. But, the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act - which passed unanimously in the House this week - would change that. Seasonal employees with the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other land management agencies would qualify to compete for certain permanent positions, receiving merit-credit for at least 24 months of temporary, seasonal employment. Sponsors of the bill say the current hiring system severely limits career advancement opportunities for those employees, some of whom work in potentially dangerous positions like wildland firefighting. The measure now moves to the Senate.