The government will not make any changes in reduction-in-force rules, which give special layoff protection to veterans and long-service workers, until after the current round of RIFs is completed in September.

Major changes in RIF procedures, as reported here yesterday, are in the works at the Office of Personnel Management. OPM confirmed that it plans to issue new rules to give added retention protection to people rated satisfactory or outstanding by their bosses.

But OPM says that while it will publicize proposed new RIF procedures next month or in July, it will not make any changes in layoff protection guidelines until around Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

An estimated 700 to 900 federal workers here are targeted to be fired for economy reasons between now and the end of summer. That number could go up, or down, depending on agency finances, and whether some decide to furlough lots of people rather than fire a few.

However, the new rules, which will also limit the grade cuts a laid-off worker can take and the number of people he can "bump" from a job, will not affect any RIFs between now and the new fiscal year.

Meantime, D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy is checking agency budgets against RIF plans, to see if layoffs can be avoided by cutting other forms of spending. He believes some administration officials--anxious to win points with the White House or bolster their image as hard-nosed bureaucrat-choppers--have laid off staffers even though they could have found savings in other areas.