Elections and the Hatch Act
The Hatch Act
The Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees who work in connection with federally-funded programs. The law’s purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.
All civilian employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and the Vice President, are covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act. Employees of the U. S. Postal Service are also covered by the Act. Part-time employees are covered by the Act. Federal and District of Columbia employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, or furlough. However, employees who work on an occasional or irregular basis, or who are special government employees, as defined in title 18 U. S.C. § 202(a), are subject to the restrictions only when they are engaged in government business. Federal employees fall within two categories under the Hatch Act, Further Restricted and Less Restricted.