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Considering helping out with the census? What to know

Recently, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent a memo to agency heads about recruitment for the 2020 decennial census. Employees of other federal agencies are being invited to take on temporary second jobs with the Census Bureau.

This was done for the 2010 census and provided an important source of workers, according to the OMB. At that time, the Census Bureau established partnerships with 81 federal agencies and dually-employed some 6,406 federal workers, along with over 16,000 employees of state, local and tribal governments across the nation.

"OMB, in coordination with DOC, encourages agency heads to permit current employees to pursue a second job on the 2020 Census to not only allow the Census Bureau to have access to a larger pool of potential applicants, but also enable it to capitalize upon the vast experience that Federal workers have to offer," reads the memo.

A job with the Census could provide a great source of secondary income for federal workers. An appointment with the Census bureau to take the census offers flexible working hours, with most work performed on evenings and weekends.

What do I need to know?

If you think a temporary second job taking the 2020 census could be for you, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Nationwide hiring for the census will begin in January 2019.
  • You can only apply with the agreement of your agency head, so watch for news. The memo encouraged agency heads to identify program authorities and put processes in place before nationwide hiring begins.
  • Your job with the Census Bureau must not interfere with your performance or responsibilities in your primary job. Your primary position takes precedence over census work.
  • Current federal workers who take on second jobs with the census will not earn additional health, retirement or life insurance benefits.

An accurate, complete decennial census is required by the U.S. Constitution, and conducting one is one of the nation's highest priorities, says the OMB. Existing federal workers can play a key role.

If you do decide to take on this second job and become involved in a performance dispute, have an employment law attorney who handles federal matters review your situation.

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