This afternoon, Secretary Denis McDonough delivered remarks regarding his Human Infrastructure plan at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina.
“You know, today marks one year since I was sworn in at VA and I don’t think there’s anything that I’m more proud of than the fact that, in the midst of the pandemic, VA didn’t weaken or slow down. No, VA got strong and took care of Vets when they needed it most,” he said, addressing VA employees nationwide via an internal livestream. “But as proud as I am of that accomplishment, I didn’t do it. You did it. And that’s why I’m here today: to recognize all you’ve done, and discuss what our country is doing to invest in you.”
The Secretary thanked employees and shared that, in partnership with Congress, VA is moving forward with 10 major steps to make every VA job a good job, where all employees are engaged, supported, heard and empowered to provide Veterans with timely access to world-class health care, earned benefits and the lasting resting place they deserve.
The 10 steps are:
- Work with Congress to invest in wages by raising the Federal worker minimum wage to $15 an hour and urging Congress to pass the RAISE Act to raise them and/or empower us to pay employees what they’re worth.
- Maximize bonuses and retention incentives by waiving limits on bonuses for work done during the pandemic and increasing retention incentives.
- Increase opportunities to advance at VA by growing future leaders and opening the door to opportunities for higher general schedule grades and promotions.
- Expedite the hiring process by better leveraging hiring authorities and redesigning the national onboarding process.
- Offer greater flexibility in where employees work by maximizing opportunities to increase availability to work outside your traditional workspace whenever and wherever possible.
- Help cover the cost of childcare by increasing the income cap from $89,000 to $149,000 per year to receive a childcare subsidy through VA.
- Invest in measures to improve well-being by listening to employees and developing recommendations for how to address burnout, promote work-life balance and more.
- Invest in education by funding scholarship programs for employees and working with the President on loan forgiveness.
- Embed inclusion, diversity, equity and access (I-DEA) across VA by integrating I-DEA principles into hiring, position management and talent management, and ensuring VA is a welcoming workplace for all employees.
- Protect employees from COVID-19 by pursuing the latest workplace safety measures, offering all employees N95 masks for voluntary use and enforcing the vaccine requirement for all health care personnel.
VA strives to be a model employer by treating the workforce with dignity and respect while providing competitive benefits and challenging and rewarding work. How we treat our workforce has a direct impact on morale and how we care for Veterans. VA cannot increase access and improve outcomes for Veterans without investing in our people.