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June 20, 2017

Bill to Improve Workforce Morale at DHS Passes House

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced House passage of legislation he sponsored to improve morale within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) workforce: the Department of Homeland Security Morale, Recognition, Learning and Engagement Act of 2017 or DHS MORALE Act (H.R. 2283).

The DHS MORALE Act will:

  • Authorize DHS-wide employee engagement, leadership development, rotational opportunities, as well as an employee engagement steering committee.
  • Authorize an annual employee award program to recognize employees who make significant contributions to the Department’s operations.
  • Add transparency and fairness to DHS’s disciplinary process by directing an independent, Department-wide review of how discipline is carried out by components.

“The bipartisan DHS MORALE Act seeks to build upon efforts during the Obama Administration to address the low morale rates within the workforce by equipping DHS leaders with the necessary tools to improve morale by promoting greater employee engagement, leadership development, and workforce planning at the Department. Passage sends a positive message to the DHS workforce that their contributions to the DHS mission are valued and their sacrifice has not been forgotten as they endure new stresses and challenges under the Trump Administration. Given the Department’s national security mission and reductions in operating budgets, it is essential that the DHS workforce be supported – as they are responsible for carrying out the diverse range of programs that keep our country safe.”

Since its creation in 2003, DHS has faced challenges managing a workforce of more than 240,000 employees.  After six straight years of decline, DHS employee engagement and participation scores improved by three percentage points each in the latest Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.  However, DHS still ranks amongst the lowest of federal agencies in employee morale.

H.R. 2283 is endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), and the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC).

Link to bill information

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978