Weekly Updates

Daylight Saving, Vaccine Deadline, PMA Presentations, & More

November 5, 2021
Daylight Saving Ends Tonight

As we move through autumn, it's time again to roll back our clocks by an hour in most of the country. This is also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Please be careful - the end of Daylight Time is linked to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. Experts advise exercising caution especially around dawn and dusk. For those of you wondering why we're still changing clocks at all, GovExec and the New York Times each have pieces this week which may help inform your views on the matter.

Legislative News from DC

We can finally report some movement on legislation. Last night, the infrastructure bill was passed and sent to the President for his signature. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a $1.2 trillion bill which combines the annual infrastructure bill with roughly $550 billion in new funding for special projects. The bill impacts IRS operations directly by creating a new set of reporting requirements for cryptocurrency brokers which will help the IRS better determine the capital gains tax due, if any, on crypto trading. Over the next five years, estimates from experts indicate that the bill will create 660,000 new jobs and will go a long way to improve our nation's roads, bridges, and critical energy infrastructure.

The House is awaiting CBO scoring on its budget reconciliation legislation - the Build Back Better Act. We anticipate a vote on this bill by November 15th which will send it to the Senate. Should the bill make it through in its current version, it would contain historic funding for the IRS, especially to help enhance enforcement. The bill is paid for in large part by narrowing the tax gap by at least $400 billion, largely coming from wealthy households who are no longer subject to routine audits because we lack the resources to perform them. The bill also impacts tax administration broadly with expansions of EITC and CTC, and will likely contain a modification to the current $10,000 SALT deduction limitation.

Our greater issues around stable annual funding persist - there's talk on the Hill of a full-year CR. The Senate minority likes the idea because it would prevent any policy changes in the funding legislation. The defense spending bill (NDAA) is delayed, yet again, and the Senate majority seems to be more seriously considering using the budget reconciliation process a second time to address the debt ceiling. All of this is to say, we still have a long road ahead with only a few more days remaining before the CR expires.

PMA sent a letter to the House and Senate in support of the FAIR Act. The FAIR Act is a bill that Congressman Gerry Connolly introduces almost every year seeking a pay increase for the Civil Service. If Congress does nothing, Feds will receive 2.7% in 2022 (2.2% base, 0.5% locality). The FAIR Act is a bit more generous - 3.2% for 2022 (2.2% base, 1% locality). This is still not enough but we feel is better than Congress taking no action at all. We also contacted every senator to implore them to confirm the pending MSPB nominees and PMA members will soon have an opportunity to add their name to our call to action.

FEHBP Open Season Begins Monday

PMA Members - be on the lookout for a special message from your association on Monday morning. We will share information about how to access Consumers' Checkbook. This tool is a complimentary benefit of your membership and is an award-winning tool to help you forecast your healthcare expenses and make the best choice for yourself and your family during open season.

Vaccine Mandate Deadline Looms

Monday is the last day workers can obtain the final dose of their COVID-19 vaccine and be in compliance with the mandate ordered in EO 14043. If you are fully vaccinated, please be sure that this is reflected in HR Connect - you can still be subject to disciplinary action for failing to attest to your vaccination status. You will need to upload proof of your vaccination status by November 17th.

If you haven't had an opportunity to be vaccinated, it's not too late. You can request administrative leave and locate an open vaccination site near you. If you opt for the one-dose J&J/Janssen vaccination, then you will be in compliance with the order and no further action will be needed at this time. You must also be sure that you and your team have updated HR Connect with your vaccination status to be in compliance with the order.

If you have difficulty updating your status, do not have access to a computer, or some other reason, you can call the Employee Resource Center for assistance.

Some workers may be exempt from this mandate for medical or religious reasons. If you are one of those people, you must request an accommodation by Monday or the disciplinary process will begin on Tuesday. Seeking an exemption does not exempt you from attesting to your status in HR Connect, however. Please be sure you comply with all workplace safety rules while your request is pending - such as weekly testing, masking, social distancing, and more.

Admin Leave Available for Children's COVID Vaccinations

This week, COVID vaccinations were approved for children ages 5 and older. You may use administrative time to accompany your family member to get vaccinated. OPM's memo details which children are eligible for this leave coverage. This leave is also available for workers and family members in need of booster shots. You can view updated FAQs about vaccinations and leave from the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce.

PMA Honors National Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, and for Indigenous people across the country, it’s a chance to share the unique ancestry, traditions, and contributions their communities make today and have made throughout history. PMA is honored to serve along with nearly 700 IRS workers who identify as Alaska Native or American Indian.

“Far too often in our founding era and in the centuries since, the promise of our Nation has been denied to Native Americans who have lived on this land since time immemorial,” President Biden said in the proclamation naming November National Native American Heritage Month. “Despite a painful history marked by unjust Federal policies of assimilation and termination, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have persevered,” he added.

President Biden signed a proclamation on October 29th, proclaiming November as National Native American Heritage Month. This provides a national spotlight for Indigenous people, communities, and organizations as they work to educate and share stories about the tribal nations across the US.

“During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless contributions of Native peoples past and present, honor the influence they have had on the advancement of our Nation, and recommit ourselves to upholding trust and treaty responsibilities, strengthening Tribal sovereignty, and advancing Tribal self-determination,” the President said. There are 574 federally recognized tribes within the US, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and each tribe has its own culture and traditions.

In November, some of the tribes often take the opportunity to share more about themselves by hosting events or educational sessions throughout the month, but due to COVID-19, many of those have reverted online or are under their local COVID-19 restrictions. Learn more about this observance and how to support tribal events in your area.

PMA Scholarship Season Begins

It's National Scholarship Month and PMA's 2022-23 merit scholarship program launched this week with the opening of our application period. Students can start an application anytime and must submit no later than our deadline: Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 3:00pm Eastern. PMA awards ten $2,000 scholarships annually and we are proud to do so for another school year.

The PMA National Board expanded our scholarship program's eligibility for the first time to include grandchildren of eligible members. Eligible students are PMA members, PMA members' spouses, and their children, step-children, or grandchildren. Students who are children may be high school seniors or already in college and must be under age 25 and unmarried. All students must have an unweighted, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; be in or entering a degree-granting program at an accredited institution; be a full-time student (only PMA members may be part-time); and, PMA member sponsors must have at least 3 years of service by the application deadline.

For complete program information, downloadable program instructions, and a link to the application, please visit PMA's official charity and scholarship partner FEEA, www.feea.org/scholarships.

Free Professional Development Opportunities

Join PMA's partner FEDS Protection on November 18th at 3PM Eastern for an overview of the professional liability risks facing IRS managers, how recent case law and a first-of-its-kind vaccine mandate can leave career managers exposed to lawsuits, and how you can protect yourself. Open to all and PMA members receive discounts on FEDS products. Learn more and register today.

Join MARCH Mediation on December 3rd at 11AM Eastern to learn more about "The Impact of Forgiveness on Your Mental Health." Dawn Kuhlman will share the results of her research into the nexus of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others and the implications of the findings on both intra- and interpersonal relationships. She will also discuss the forgiveness process and how to move forward, explore the impact of not forgiving, and differentiate the internal processes of self-forgiveness from forgiveness of others. Free and open to all. Registration and Zoom account required.

Back by popular demand! Join PMA's newest partner, American Benefits Exchange, on December 7th at 3PM Eastern to learn how to maximize your federal benefits. Out of the more than two million individuals employed by the Federal Government, it is quite possible that you could have important questions regarding your federal benefits. A limited understanding of FEGLI, your Pension, Survivors Annuity, FEHB, Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan could cost you thousands of dollars during your working career, and even larger amounts of money during your retirement. This webinar will include provide much needed information so you can understand your current situation, what things cost, how those costs change over time, how you are trending towards retirement, and the additional options available to you. This free event is open to everyone - register today!

Professional Liability Insurance Reimbursements

It's a new fiscal year and so it's time to submit your requests for your professional liability insurance (PLI) reimbursements from the IRS. Because agencies are not mandated to represent managers if they are sued in the course of their work, PMA strenuously recommends that all managers and management officials carry a professional liability insurance policy. Through our partnership with FEDS Protection, PMA members get a discount annually. In addition, the IRS will pay for 50% of your premium through this annual reimbursement process.

To submit your reimbursement request, complete this form and then submit it via e-fax to 855-207-0460 or you can submit the form via secure email. During the pandemic, the Philadelphia Payroll Center is not processing paper forms received by mail. Read more.

Don't yet carry a PLI policy? It's easy to sign up today. Members can use code PMA (case sensitive) for exclusive savings. If you'd like to learn more, we will host an informational webinar about this important coverage on November 18th. More information below.

PMA Member Dues Changing for 2022

The PMA National Board voted to adopt a small increase in dues for 2022. You will see dues increase by $1 per pay period, beginning in Pay Period 1. We've been proud of our ability to keep dues affordably priced at just $3.50 per pay period for more than 10 years and we now need to adjust dues to account for inflation. We hope you will understand. At the same time, we want your PMA membership to be more valuable to you than ever and we've taken steps to modernize our association this year and to increase our impact both within the IRS and on Capitol Hill.

In addition to the benefits you've long enjoyed, this year we launched our new website and member portal, we debuted our new grassroots legislative engagement tool, and we expanded our very popular scholarship program to include members' grandchildren. We also formed new relationships with WAEPA to help members find an affordable alternative to FEGLI and with American Benefits Exchange to help members make the most of their federal benefits. Soon, we will launch an academic partnership which will provide access to affordable undergraduate and graduate education to all our members and their families. Behind the scenes, we've been working tirelessly to improve our databases and records systems so that PMA can be an association for the 21st century. We are incredibly proud of our new consultative agreement with the IRS, formalizing our relationship with our agency for the first time in our 40-year history of advocacy. We've also become more engaged in Washington and tell your story everyday to legislators and their staffs in our quest to secure badly needed resources for our agency. We still have more to do but we wanted to highlight what we've been able to accomplish in 2021.

PMA is the only membership association dedicated exclusively to the Internal Revenue Service. Our National Board and Chapters are led by current, active IRS leaders and PMA's Executive Director is himself a former IRS manager. We know how challenging it can be to lead within the Service and we are proud to serve you. We also work hard for you in retirement and encourage you, or anyone you know, to consider purchasing a lifetime membership. Lifetime memberships are available to retirees for a one-time payment of $100 through December 31st. In January, we will continue to offer lifetime memberships for $125.

Weekly updates