The government is missing a good bet as an employer by not providing more temporary and part-time jobs.
Uncle Sam has about 2.6 million permanent full-time workers, but only a few thousand positions are available to people who, for one reason or another, can't work a 5-day, 40-hour week.
Obviously there are lots of jobs in a government of 2.6 million people that could be handled as well by a part-timer. And at much less cost to the government. But many agencies, partly by regulation and partly by habit, are locked into the full-time job syndrome and won't change unless Congress forces them to.
Some of the changes that Congress has considered in the past would force agencies to set aside up to 10 per cent of their jobs - at every grade - for part-time workers. Managers say that in many of the professional fields this would cause more problems than not having the jobs filled.
That congressional push is one reason why some smart agency managers - Internal Revenue Service is exploring this - are thinking more about part-time workers, particularly for jobs that could be done after normal work hours. This would be a convenience to the public, maybe ease the government's backlog of work and provide badly needed income to housewives, students and retires who are capable of doing good work, but not under the standard Monday through [TEXT OMMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Some officials claim they wouldn't be able to get top-caliber people if they switched assignments to part-timers. It could be they haven't explored the job market lately.
Government jobs are in greater demand now than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s. There are thousands of applicants for relatively few Federal opeings, and the number has stepped up since the October, 1976, pay raise.
In some areas, the ratio of applicants to available federal jobs is as high as 60 to 1. Even in the Washington are, which has a relatively low rate of unemployment, it is 30 to 1 for many jobs. And the part-time and temporary job market has hardly been touched by the government, although there are people out there who want very badly to work. Example:
Yesterday, at the end of this column, we ran a brief notice that the International Trade Commission was looking for temporary help. The job was fro statistical coding clerks, a discipline that is not common. The pay was just over $10,000 a year and the jobs were temporary.
I didn't put the telephone number of the ITC jobs in today, because the agency got 300 telephone calls early yesterday from interested people. Obviously not all were qualified, or even serious. But that is a lot of telephone calls and shows the state of the job market.
ITC said it had filled the slots by 10 a.m. The calls are still coming in, and will for some time as people get wind of the announcement much too late.
If any agencies are considering more part-time or temporary positions, but aren't certain that they can get enough of the right kind of applicants, give us a call. We'll let people know you are interested and judging from the ITC case - and similar responses at Customs, Interior and Defense - they will let you know that there is a pool of part-time and temporary workers.
Civil Service Commission Vacancies: Still no word from the White House as to whom President Carter has in mind for the three top slots. The appontment of the acting chairwoman Republican Georgiana Sheldon, expired Monday. Chairman Robert E. Hampton has resigned and even the seat of Democrat Ludwig J. Andolsek may be available.
Several new names have surfaced as possible CSC appointees. Two of them bear special watching: Carter aides are considering two veterans of the New York State Civil Service Commission, Jayne Noble and Ersa Poston.Both are black, experienced in merit system work, with good credentials in the government community.
Another prospect is Carl W. Clelow, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for personnel. President Carter is looking for a minority-group member, and a woman for at least one of the jobs. That puts both Noble and Poston in a good spot. Expect an announcement within 10 days.
Flexible Work Hours: Anybody interested in the set-your-own schedule concept ought to get a copy of the February issue of Monthly Labor Review. The magazine, put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has an excellent article on the application of flexitime in government and industry.
The federal agency cited in the magazine article is the Geological Survey. It was written by two employees, Oscar Mueller and Muriel Cole. The Reston-based operation has adopted the flexitime concept, which began as a test in 1975.
More than a dozen agencies in the Washington area are experimenting with flexitime, and legislation is pending in Congress to expand it and even permit tests of the 4-day week - if employees could legally waive overtime pay for those tests.