About the Merit Systems Protection Board

The Importance of MSPB Studies

The federal Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) has the responsibility of protecting the federal merit system and the employees in that system. To accomplish its mission, many federal employees, particularly those who have suffered from adverse actions or prohibited personnel practices, are aware that they may have a legal right to file an appeal with the MSPB.

However, in addition to hearing appeals, the MSPB also has another important function related to the same mission of protecting our federal merit system. The MSPB conducts regular studies of the federal merit system and our federal system of employment, and reports the study findings to both the agencies affected and to the American public.

Subject of MSPB Studies

Merit System Protection Board studies are generally conducted to determine if:

• Employees are managed effectively and efficiently;

• Employees are managed in accordance with federal merit principles; or

• Employees are free from prohibited personnel practices.

These categories are broad and encompass many different topics. In 2009 alone, the MSPB released studies regarding how to reshape organizations when supervisors retire, how to try out for a federal job, how to address poor job performers, and how to manage employees so that they become and remain engaged in their jobs.

How to Participate in MSPB Studies

The MSPB uses a variety of research methods to gather information to analyze and release in study reports. One of their research tools is to conduct online surveys. In 2009, the MSPB conducted two online surveys. One was related to Federal telework – or the practice of federal government agencies allowing employees to telecommute. The other survey requested feedback on the MSPB’s own Issues of Merit Newsletter that is released several times a year by the MSPB. The current Issues of Merit Newsletter, and recently released issues are available on the MSPB website for the public to read and review.

How to Access MSPB Studies

The MSPB website has a few different options for people who are interested in accessing MSPB studies. Recently completed studies are available, in their entirety, on the website. Those interested in MSPB studies can also sign up for the MSPB studies listserv so that they can receive automatic e-mail notifications when a new study, newsletter, or other publication is released by the MSPB.

Alternatively, you may request copies of MSPB studies by making a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the MSPB. The MSPB may legally charge you for the photocopying costs associated with your request, however.

MSPB studies play an important part in protecting the federal merit system. MSPB studies provide valuable information to agencies, federal employees and the public about federal merit system issues. The studies are designed to provide guidance to supervisors and employees about whether certain conduct is legal, to promote a productive federal workforce, and most importantly, to guard the federal merit system that our country relies on to protect our civilian employees.