The proposed overhaul of Wisconsin’s civil service system calls for several changes.
* Giving the state power to fire workers for specific conduct without imposing progressive discipline. The conduct that qualifies includes theft, falsifying records and harassment. Employees also could be fired for work performance determined to be inadequate, unsuitable or inferior, but only after facing progressive discipline. Under an amendment to the bill, that progressive discipline can be accelerated in extreme circumstances.
* Requiring performance reviews be performed at least annually.
* Replacing the civil service test with a resume-based application process.
* Reducing the threshold for a state employee’s job to be considered abandoned. The bill calls for three no call-no show days in a calendar year as opposed to five consecutive days.
* Setting the probation period for new hires at one year with an option to extend it by 12 months. An amendment from author Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, reduced the proposed probationary period from two years to one.
* Allowing layoffs based on performance and other factors rather than just seniority.
* Expediting the hiring process. The deadline for making an appointment would be cut in half to 30 days after certification rather than 60 days.
* Eliminating the state’s right to ask applicants about previous criminal convictions, except under certain circumstances. The so-called “ban the box” provision has held the bill up in the Senate, where Sen. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, has argued the state should retain that right.
* Establishing a system that gives veterans and some spouses preference in the hiring process for classified positions in the civil service.
* Establishing a timeline for employee grievances.
* Requiring the DOA develop a plan by March 1, 2017, for assuming all human resources functions for state agencies. The plan would be implemented by July 1, 2017.
* Limiting reinstatement privileges to permanent, classified employees who are on layoff status and reducing eligibility for reinstatement from five to three years. The bill also eliminates reinstatement privileges for employees who leave service for an elective position.
*Eliminating restoration rights for permanent employees in the classified service who are laid off. Those rights now give state employees who are laid off the ability to bump someone else out of a job, and employees have restoration rights for three years after being laid off.
The bill passed the Assembly’s State Affairs and Government Operations Committee on an 8-5 party-line vote.