Weekly Updates

Happy Juneteenth & Other Updates

June 18, 2021
Happy Juneteenth!

On June 19, 1865, more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Galveston Bay, Texas, received the news that they were free. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863 but news of the end of slavery in the confederacy didn't reach Texas until 1865 – more than two years later. The resulting holiday, Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day — has long been a major celebration in Texas, but until Thursday, when President Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a Federal holiday, not all 50 states recognized or commemorated it.

Opal Lee, a 94 year old activist and grandmother, has been advocating for nationwide recognition of Juneteenth since 2016. Ms. Lee reminds us all that it is never too late to help move our nation forward. We in PMA are grateful to the Congress and President Biden for honoring our history and for providing our members the opportunity to celebrate this day with their families and friends. Learn more about Juneteenth and African American cultural traditions with this summer reading list curated by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

PMA News

Welcome to our new website! We are so excited to update your experience as a PMA member. Be sure to look out for additional updates and new functionality as we continue to roll out new features. Members will be able to join PMA's advocacy work through our brand new legislative action center. We would like to welcome our newest sponsors, WAEPA and American Benefits Exchange.

IRS Updates

Be sure that your IRS email signature field isn't violating the IRM (yes, email signatures are governed by an IRM section!). Join Chief Risk Officer Tom Brandt and Enterprise Risk Management Director Melissa Reynard for Risk Awareness Week, beginning Monday, June 21st. Payments for the Advance Child Tax Credit will soon begin arriving - be sure you've reviewed the ACTC FAQs. Unlike Economic Impact Payments, incorrectly computed advance child tax credit payments will need to be repaid when you file next year. Speaking of Economic Impact Payments, be sure to vote daily for Busby, Garibotto, Privett, and the EIP Team for a Sammie Award. Excused absences for caregivers was modified to be less restrictive, in addition to other pandemic-related flexibilities — be sure you're familiar with all of the available options for yourself and for your employees. For families impacted by substance abuse, please attend this workshop on June 23rd.

Legislative Updates

Agencies can begin directing employees back to general in-person work after July 19th. We don't expect to see an immediate change on July 20th. After meeting with OPM and OMB last week, PMA understands that agencies will submit their phased re-entry plans by that date. Some agencies are look to later in the summer to begin this process and others are informally discussing January 1st returns. At this time, PMA doesn't have specific information about the Internal Revenue Service, or any other agency, but we will continue to work with our partners across government to keep you informed of any changes. You can learn more about the plan here and by reading the jointly-issued memo from OMB, OPM, and GSA. We do expect the future of Federal work to include much more telework and the Biden administration has assured PMA several times that telework is the future of government.

Learning Opportunities

Our partner, Shaw Bransford & Roth, is offering a webinar ($18 for members) to provide an introduction for all Federal workers to their personal financial exposure under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Tanzin v. Tanvir. Multiple RFRA lawsuits have already been filed, asking Federal courts to hold DHS and USDA employees personally financially liable for actions they took on behalf of their federal employers. RFRA lawsuits against Feds in other agencies are surely on the way. Click here to register and pay for this event. The webinar will be hosted live via Zoom so you may need to use your personal device to access the content.

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Weekly updates