Hot Topics

PMA Hosts Commish Rettig, FEVS Results, Support for a 5.1% Raise, and More

April 29, 2022

PMA members enjoy unlimited access to our archive of award-winning newsletters through our new member portal. Not yet a member? Complete a Form SF-1187 PMA & send it to membership@promanager.org today!

Commissioner Rettig to Address PMA this PSRW

Public Service Recognition Week begins Sunday and PMA will join President Biden and the nation in celebrating the indispensable contributions of you, our public servants. Share your gratitude for your colleagues and other fellow public servants in your life via social media using the #GovPossible hashtag.

For the first time in PMA's history, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue will address our members on Thursday, May 5th at 2PM Eastern via Zoom. Following the Commissioner's PSRW message, PMA will highlight enhancements we've made this year as an expression of our gratitude for your dedicated service. Register today. PMA recommends attending this event using your personal device for the best experience.

FEEA's 36th Anniversary Celebration Begins

It's not too late to join #TeamPMA as we kickoff PSRW celebrating our official charity's 36th anniversary. The Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund's (FEEA) Feds In Motion Challenge is all about moving in your favorite way — walk, run, bike, swim, or roll on your favorite route — to reach the goal of 36 miles (or more!) in 36 days. Click here to register for the celebration. If you have coworkers or friends who haven't registered yet, please share far and wide. All are welcome on #TeamPMA and thank you to all who've joined the team so far!

Challenge registrants will receive t-shirts, participation medals, digital bibs, an easy tool to upload your mileage anytime to the leaderboard, digital finisher certificates, fun digital badges for mileage milestones and fundraising achievements, special Wellness Wednesday events with prize drawings, other cool swag from FEEA's sponsors, and prizes for top fundraisers. Be sure to sign up today! We are also using this as an opportunity to raise some money for FEEA to help Feds in need. Consider making a tax deductible donation.

Run for PMA's National Board of Directors

This year, PMA will elect five directors to our National Board and each will serve a two-year term from July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2024. Eligible members are those who are active Internal Revenue Service (IRS) members only - in other words, a member of our National Board must be current with their membership dues and employed by the IRS for the duration of their term.

To learn more about PMA's 2022 election cycle, please review this brief PowerPoint presentation. You are welcome to contact us with any questions you may have during this process. Please submit your nomination no later than Friday, May 6, 2022, at 8PM Eastern. You can email your statement to us at board@promanager.org.

Members self-nominate by submitting Statements of Interest. Please keep in mind the following:

• Candidate statements from members who would be new to PMA’s National Board must include a biography, what your interests are in serving on our National Board, and sufficient information to demonstrate you will actively perform the board's responsibilities as outlined in the above presentation;

• Candidate statements from directors seeking reelection must include specific information about personal accomplishments on behalf of PMA while serving on our National Board, aligned with the board's responsibilities as outlined in the above presentation, and specifically what you would personally hope to accomplish on behalf of PMA if elected for an additional term; and

• All statements are limited to 500 words (one page).

CXO Fellows Program – Call for Applications

The CXO Fellows Program is a virtual professional development program that engages the next generation of federal leaders in acquisition/procurement, financial management/budget, human capital, information technology, and data. Throughout the year-long program, CXO Fellows have the opportunity to grow professionally and build a diverse network of rising leaders from across the federal government.

There is no cost to participate in this program.  All CXO Fellows remain in their current positions at their home agency and come together approximately three times a month, from October to September, as a cohort for developmental sessions in leadership, cross-functional and interagency collaboration, and career development. In these sessions, CXO Fellows meet with leaders in the federal management community and gain valuable insight into innovative initiatives and best practices.

There are some participation guidelines for those who are considering applying. The following checklist offers the basic requirements for consideration:

• Candidates must be a GS 9-GS 13 (IR 5-IR 9) or equivalent;

• Candidates must work in acquisition/procurement, financial management/budget, human capital, information technology, or data;

• Candidates must seek supervisory approval to apply; and

• Candidates must be able to dedicate 10-15 hours a month to the program as sessions are held on Fridays.

To prepare for the CXO Fellows Program application, review the nominee questionnaire. Beginning May 1, 2022, apply online - eligible candidates have until June 10, 2022 to submit your application. For additional information on the program, review the digital brochure and see the CXO Fellows website. For questions, please contact cxofellowship@gsa.gov.

IRS Announces Covid Testing Program

After significant delay, the IRS announced its COVID-19 testing program, which it implemented this week. The testing protocol applies to “not fully vaccinated employees reporting to IRS facilities with medium or high COVID-19 community levels.” It also applies to employees not fully vaccinated who interact in-person with taxpayers. "Not fully vaccinated" includes those employees who have not entered their vaccination status in HRConnect.

More than 90 percent of the IRS workforce is "fully vaccinated" (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, one dose of J&J). Of the 7,900 employees who are not “fully vaccinated,” currently only 18 employees would be subject to the weekly testing based on the program's criteria. However, the IRS plans to distribute two COVID test kits (each kit contains two tests) to all 7,900 employees in case their status changes and they are required to report to the office, interact with taxpayers, or their COVID-19 community level increases.

Every part of the testing protocol must be done on work time, including any travel time to be tested.

Currently, the vaccine mandate is still on hold. We are awaiting further guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce on what the IRS's appropriate next steps will be. It's never too late to begin your vaccine series - to find a vaccine appointment near you, visit www.vaccines.gov or www.vacunas.gov.

Lawmakers Join PMA in Support of a 5.1% Pay Increase

This week, 62 lawmakers sent a letter to House appropriators advocating for the FAIR Act (H.R. 6398 and S. 3518), a PMA-endorsed bill that would raise pay by 5.1% in 2023. They said that more needs to be done to counter the “chronic underinvestment” in the federal workforce over the past decade, particularly after two years of a global pandemic and growing inflation. The lawmakers argued that improving pay will be critical to making the federal government more competitive as it seeks to dramatically boost hiring, both as part of implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law and to counter years of shrinking agency workforces.

“Currently, only 7% of the federal workforce is under the age of 30 while the civilian labor force enjoys nearly three times that number,” they wrote. “In 2020, the Federal Salary Council stated that federal employees make an average of 23.1% less than their private sector counterparts. With almost a third of the federal workforce eligible to retire in five years, we will face a talent crisis if we fail to make basic investments in federal pay that will attract early career talent to federal government service.” PMA applauds Congressman Gerry Connolly and Senator Brian Schatz for their leadership on this important issue. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress as we continue to advocate for this important piece of legislation.

IMF/BMF@60

The Individual and Business Master Files (IMF, BMF) celebrate their 60th birthday this year! PMA wants to help Congress and the American public appreciate how badly the IRS needs modernization funding. Part of our IMF/BMF@60 campaign will feature facts and context to help frame the true age of our primary computing database. As a reminder, the IRS still relies on the oldest continually operating database in the entire federal government.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear conflict. So close did we come to war that the crisis inspired a direct communications link between the White House and the Kremlin, as well as the Nuclear Test Ban treaty. Since the crisis ended, we've reduced the world's nuclear weapons stockpile by nearly 20,000 warheads.

The war in Ukraine reminds us of the Cold War period and the danger we faced as a nation. Though, for many the Cuban Missile Crisis is distant world history. Our computing databases are older than this period. The crisis unfolded from October 16 to October 28, 1962 - six months after we completed our first nationwide filing season using the current IMF/BMF.

Secure Telework Agreements by May 8th & Travel Resumption

As we continue to move closer toward the phased return-to-office, managers should keep in mind that anyone wishing to continue to telework for any duration of time must have a signed telework agreement in place and complete online telework training by May 8th.

Those who have not done one or both of those things will not be in compliance with the Telework Enhancement Act and, as a result, will be required to return to the office every day beginning on May 8th. It is very important that you ensure you and your team complete these steps before the deadline.

For fully vaccinated workers, travel will resume on May 8th as well. Read more on IRS Source.

AMA's Ask the Experts Virtual Management Series

Join PMA's partner, the American Management Association, for a complimentary series offered from 12-12:30PM Eastern. If the day or time doesn't work for you, register anyhow - you can view a recording of the webcast afterward at your convenience.

Virtual Delegation on May 17th

Coaching in a Virtual Environment on June 7th

Communicating Effectively in a Virtual Environment on June 28th

Best Practices of Managing a Virtual Workforce on July 19th

The SECURE 2.0 Act Would Change TSP

The Securing a Strong Retirement Act (H.R. 2954) passed unanimously out of the House last month. The bill would increase the age at which people, including federal employees participating in the Thrift Savings Plan, must begin taking required minimum distributions from the current 72 years old to 75. This would be phased in over time: the age at which required minimum distributions kick in would be 73 beginning in 2023, 74 in 2030, and 75 beginning in 2033.

Additionally, a provision would require all catch-up contributions for 401(k)-style plans, including the Thrift Savings Plan, to be Roth (after tax), rather than standard pre-tax contributions. It also increases the annual limit for catch-up contributions to $10,000 when a TSP participant is between 62 and 64 years old.

This bill is currently under consideration in the Senate and has not yet received our endorsement as we continued to study its potential impact. On its face, this generally will provide federal workers with more time to save for retirement and more opportunities to hold onto those savings but the change to catch-up contributions may have unintended consequences. PMA will keep you updated on the bill's progress.

CFC Special Solicitation Through June 30, 2022

Last week, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja authorized a special CFC solicitation period that will open the CFC online donation portal through June 30, 2022. This special solicitation provides an opportunity for Federal employees, members of the military, postal workers, and retirees to create a new gift or an extra gift to support their favorite CFC-participating charities online or through the CFC mobile giving app. (The list is limited to the charities accepted by the CFC in 2021).

This special solicitation will provide for the following:

• One hundred percent (100%) of the gifts made in this campaign will go to charities (without a distribution fee).

• Funds pledged will be paid out to charities by the 15th day of the month following receipt of the pledge by the CFC Central Campaign Administrator.

• Any employee who did not pledge via payroll deduction in fall 2021 can make a payroll-funded gift through the CFC.

• Existing donors who pledged by payroll allotments in the fall of 2021 can make additional donations with electronic credit, debit, or ACH gifts on the CFC giving platform or the mobile app. (2021 Payroll pledges cannot be increased at this time.)

Donors can pledge to their choice of the more than 5,000 charities that were on the CFC Charity List. Many of these 501(c)(3) organizations are now working overtime, assisting refugees who need food, medical attention, housing, relocation, and other day-to-day needs. The CFC is uniquely positioned to supplement the Federal government’s overall response by allowing employees to pledge additional resources to charities and to those that are actively responding throughout the world. As a reminder, PMA's official charity, FEEA is CFC #11185.

FEVS Results Announced, IRS Schedules Leadership Session

Thursday, OPM released government-wide results from the 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which for the second year in a row was conducted in an unusual fall solicitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the government, employee engagement fell by 1 point from 72 out of 100 in 2020 to 71 last year, while the global satisfaction index, which measures morale, fell 5 points from 69 in 2020 to 64 last fall. FEVS participation fell markedly to 34%, a 10-point decline since 2020. Unfortunately, the survey reflects what many of our members currently feel: the federal workers are less engaged and less satisfied with their work.

In a message issued along with the survey data, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja connects the declines in engagement and job satisfaction to declining telework availability as agencies began returning workers to the office in late 2020, around the time of the survey. She also highlights the difficulty of working through the pandemic given how long we have been in this environment and all of the change we must weather.

Strangely absent from this analysis are obvious issues like compensation and concerns about return-to-work plans. In 2021, federal workers received only a 1% pay increase, with no change to locality pay, all amid skyrocketing inflation. FEVS measured a six-point drop in pay satisfaction last year, falling from 67 in 2020 to 61 in 2021. Only 62% of respondents said that senior leaders provided effective communication about reentry plans.

It's not all bad news however. In the recent OPM Climate Pulse Surveys, the Treasury and IRS each performed slightly better than the government in nearly all categories measured. You can review those results online.

HCO and IRS National HQ will host an Connections Hour to provide an overview of the agency's FEVS results on Thursday, May 12th at 1PM Eastern. Read more on IRS Source.

Hot topics