Weekly Updates

FEEA Planning Resources for Women & Other Updates

August 7, 2020
HCO Asks Managers to Complete Performance Appraisals

Due to the March evacuation order, many managers were unable to complete their employees’ rating year and issue a performance appraisal. HCO asked PMA to remind our members to please be sure that all 6850 appraisals are completed as soon as possible so that performance awards are not impacted. This is especially critical for my peers in W&I, where I believe we have several thousand outstanding appraisals to complete. This is also a good time for you to start working on your own end-of-year self-appraisal because that will be coming up soon for managers.

Professional Liability Insurance Reimbursements

One valuable benefit of your membership is a discounted PLI premium from our sponsor FEDS Protection. PMA previously negotiated a 50% cost share for managers paying these premiums with the IRS. The time is approaching for you to file for your 50% reimbursement from the agency. The agency begins receiving requests in August and issues payments typically in October. The reimbursement is available whether or not you’re a PMA member, and whether or not your carrier is FEDS. To claim your 50% reimbursement, follow the instructions in this article to fax your request to the Philadelphia Payroll team. Did you know that a policy from FEDS covers you at no additional cost for three years after you retire? Sign up today at FEDS Protection.

Become A Member

There’s never been a more important time to become a PMA member. Our voice is becoming louder and our leaders are listening. Through our consultative relationship with IRS HQ, we’ve worked to resolve questions, concerns, and inconsistencies around performance pay, leave administration, professional liability, retirement, safety, and leadership succession to name only a few. We are working diligently to strengthen our existing relationships throughout the IRS and to develop new relationships throughout government and with our sponsors so that we can grow our impact. We do all of this and more for a mere $3.50 per pay period – the best bargain I’ve seen in my career. I ask each of you to encourage your peers in the non-bargaining unit to consider signing up using the attached form. If you know a retiree who would benefit from our advocacy, we offer lifetime memberships to them for a one-time $100 payment.

No-Cost Professional Development Opportunities

We would like to extend an official invitation for you to attend the GSA Technology Transformation Services’ (TTS) Impact Summit Series Kickoff event on August 12th from 2-4PM Eastern. This free two-hour, virtual event will bring together federal leaders and innovators, like yourself, to learn about technology modernization efforts happening across the federal government from those hitting some of the biggest challenges head on. Through executive keynotes, panels, and case studies you will learn how other agencies are changing the way services are delivered to the public. Please register to confirm your participation using the invitation here. You will need to use your personal device to attend this Zoom presentation. In addition, be on the lookout for future Impact Summit Series events which will take place over the next few months on a number of topics including: Artificial Intelligence (AI), identity, customer experience, and cloud to name a few!

Join April Buckland and Adrienne Church, Service-wide Knowledge Management (SKM) Driving Adoption program analysts, on August 13th from 1-2PM Eastern to learn more about unlocking the power of collaboration and knowledge with SKM. This is an event hosted by the Internal Revenue Service so you will need to enroll following the instructions here and attend using your work device.

The IRS Human Capital Office (HCO) is offering Awards Misconduct Refresher Training via SABA August 24th through August 28th in seven different sessions so that you can pick one that works best for you. This training is limited to IRS employees only and can only be access from your work device. To find a session that works for you, please see the attachment.

Team Results USA is offering free weekly webinars on Wednesdays from 1-2PM Eastern on the Anatomy of Teamwork. The series will feature the latest research from UCLA, Sandia Labs, the University of Arizona, among others on how teams operate. To be a part of this free webinar, from your personal device, click here to register for login credentials.

FEEA Has Masks For Frontline Feds

We still have face coverings available through FEEA. They’re offering to send a cloth face covering to anyone who must return to work in a space with other employees and/or the public. Register here to receive a complimentary face covering. If you would like to place a bulk order of those masks for your team or department, please let me know. Thank you to those managers who’ve reached out to me for bulk orders for their teams! So far, we’ve fulfilled nearly 300 requests!

FEEA Offers Planning Resources for Women

Women tend to live longer than men, tend to survive their spouse (by an average of four years), tend to use long-term care facilities more frequently and for longer durations, and uniquely spend more time outside of the traditional workforce. Our friends at the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) developed this blog post discussing special considerations women may need to make in financial planning. They’ve also produced this video specially tailored to help women.

Changes to the TSP

Beginning in January 2021, all TSP participants who are eligible for installment payments may elect to receive payments based upon life expectancy whether or not they previously started and then stopped installment payments. This means that if you are currently receiving life-expectancy payments, you may now stop them, knowing that you will be able to restart them next year (you cannot restart them in 2020 but could take a different type of withdrawal if needed). This is a significant rule change, especially if you receive life-expectancy payments for the purpose of receiving RMDs and want to temporarily suspend those payments while RMDs are waived for 2020.

HCO Updates

Please take a moment to complete the Climate Pulse Survey here: Link to Survey

FSAFEDS participants have a 60-day limited period which ends on August 29th, during which certain mid-year changes can be made to their existing elections. During this limited period, enrollees in a 2020 Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA), or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) can make a one-time change (increase or decrease) in the amount of their annual election in each of their FSA accounts. Participants, however, cannot receive a refund of allotments already made to an FSA account. In order to make a change, you assert a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) and now the list of QLEs includes COVID-19. Read more

FedPoint along with FEDVIP will host a Virtual Benefits Fair this fall, throughout the CY20 Federal Benefits Open Season. The Virtual Benefits Fair is an online health fair that houses 2021 plan information in a single online location, enabling you to browse exhibits, view/download plan brochures, and connect with program representatives via chat. Last year, more than 20,000 employees visited the fair and we expect that number to increase exponentially given the current pandemic. There will be four live chat dates, November 13, November 20, December 2, and December 9. I will share more information in September when registration begins!

News From Washington

Later today, Senators Van Hollen (D-MD), Lankford (R-OK), and Sinema (D-AZ), plan to announce the bipartisan Emergency Telework Act, which has PMA’s endorsement. The Senators reached out to our Association earlier today to ask for our support as they introduce this important bill. The Act, if passed, would require agencies to allow all telework-eligible employees to telework for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic; evaluate methods to make non-portable work portable and so telework-eligible; compels the Executive branch to develop a plan to maximize telework in future public health crises; and would require agencies to provide training on remote management skills within 180 days of a manager, supervisor, executive, or political appointee assuming a role over teleworking staff. While the default in this bill is maximum telework, it also provides reasonable flexibility for agency leaders with a compelling reason to have some employees continue to work in the office. PMA is currently working to consult with the Senators to express concerns around accountability and productivity and find solutions which enhance manager oversight while respecting our employees. We will keep you updated as this progresses.

Last week, OPM released a memo to agency leaders which helps to interpret the President’s Management Agenda (also PMA) which was originally released in 2018 but modified recently in June with an Executive Order regarding hiring practices. Over the next 120 days, OPM & OMB will work with designees from each agency to share knowledge, insights, best practices, and concerns around implementation. The memo sets a deadline for October 24th for OPM to issue final changes to qualifications policies with final implementation due by December 24th. We will continue to advocate for management and look forward to an improved selection process.

Still no firm news on the budget and the HEROES Act remains stuck in the Senate. The House passed a spending bill on July 31st but OMB issued a veto warning immediately afterward. The Senate has appointed members to a conference committee to work through the areas where they are out of alignment. Our current appropriation expires on September 30th.

Be safe, wear your masks and let’s stop the spread together!

Weekly updates