Weekly Updates

Help Americans Impacted by Disasters & Other Updates

April 2, 2021
A Word From Our Sponsor - FEDS Protection

FEDS Protection is excited to announce that it has added a $3 million civil liability coverage option to its program offerings, extending the civil liability coverage available for federal employees beyond the existing $1 million and $2 million policies. Please see the attached press release for more information. PMA invited the FEDS team to put together a webinar for our members to talk about this new coverage option and why it may be necessary for some managers. More to come!

PMA Updates

This week, PMA, along with SEA and Pride In Federal Service, met with OPM leadership to talk through the administration's plans to implement several executive orders relating to structural inequalities, racial disparities, and other workforce policies negatively impacting underserved and underrepresented communities. Through our collaboration with FEW and BIG, we are eager to help OPM reimagine its central role in the Civil Service with the goal of improving how they interact with the Treasury and IRS. We met with the IRS COVID Response Team to talk through some challenges our members shared with us.

PMA also officially began its website redesign project and we can't wait to share it with you. Our designers are working even as we write to produce content and collect images to populate the site. Our aim is to celebrate PMA's 40th anniversary in style! We encourage you to join us in celebrating Public Service Recognition Week this year by participating on our Feds in Motion team (read more in the next section).

Want to get moving this spring? Join the Feds in Motion 35 Challenge

PMA's official charity, the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The Feds In Motion 35 Challenge kicks off Public Service Recognition Week and is all about moving in your favorite way — walk, run, bike, swim, or roll on your favorite route — to reach the goal of 35 miles (or more!) in 35 days.

Proceeds benefit FEEA’s scholarship, disaster relief, and emergency hardship programs for feds in need. Click here to register and join PMA's team and/or donate to help us meet our goal! Team members can get great swag and prizes, as well as Wellness Wednesday workshops to help meet the challenge. The Challenge Dates are May 2-June 5, 2021. Participants will get a $10 discount who register today - the price goes up tomorrow!

Help Americans Impacted by Disasters

The IRS is recruiting for a ready pool of employee volunteers to deploy in times of need. The disaster volunteer announcement opened on March 15, 2021. Eligible employees may be offered deployments/details to fill supporting roles in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Surge Capacity Force (SCF), FEMA or the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA). This a voluntary program for federal employees to potentially deploy to support federal disaster response and recovery activities alongside FEMA and SBA. For details about the DHS FEMA SCF, FEMA (non-SCF) and SBA ODA volunteer opportunities, see the announcement and the FAQs.

News From Washington

FedManager put out an article about PMA's advocacy for IRS funding and directly responded to allegations in the Congress that the IRS is allocating too many resources "outside of its mission." We've been working hard to dispel myths about the IRS and its perceived struggles by pointing out the numerous ways in which the Congress failed to adequately invest in our agency and then blamed it for not meeting their expectation. Recently, we've had several very promising conversations with our allies in the House and Senate to ensure appropriate salary increases and agency enforcement funding. We will continue to press for stable, multi-year funding to help the IRS meet the needs of our digital economy.

OPM published a rule deeming those who support employee benefits 'essential' in any future government shutdown. You may recall during the most recently 35-day furlough that we couldn't make changes to our benefits because the team was shut down. This rule fixes the problem and is an important win for our members who experience QLEs during times of budget uncertainty. Read more

The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement's Unaccompanied Children Program is seeking volunteers for 120-day details to support operations at the US-Mexico border. You can learn more about this call to action here. If you or someone you know might be a great fit for this important work, click here to apply via USAJobs.

Free Professional Development Opportunities

IRS workers can take advantage of an incredible series of free webinars, hosted by the Federal Leadership and Professional Development Communities of Practice. The community hosts free seminars throughout the year for a broad federal audience that includes: budding leaders who wish to lead where they are, individuals striving to attain leadership positions one day, those managing leadership development programs, and seasoned leaders wishing to learn from other federal leaders. To join, email FedLeadershipSeminar-subscribe-request@listserv.gsa.gov with nothing in the subject (use your .gov or .mil email address). To learn more about this series, click here.

The Procurement Treasury Acquisition Institute is offering free virtual classes. If you are responsible for procurement and/or acquisition, don't miss out of this opportunity. Read more

You can complete a free, 10 lesson course in leadership from our friends at Master Class Management. Don't let the appearance of their site discourage you (it's a bit dated) - the content is solid. You can access all 131 pages of the course without registering. Each module ends with a quiz and you can earn a certificate once you're through all the lessons. You learn at your own pace and can take as long as you need. Access the content here. For those of you who want to take advantage of this opportunity but are hesitant about the time commitment, there is also a "crash course" that converts these lessons to Powerpoint presentations.

News at the IRS

The Independent Office of Appeals is hiring! Be sure to check out this article on IRS Source and keep an eye on USA Jobs for new opportunities. PMA is proud of our members in Appeals and of their ability to embrace change, weather a reorganization, all while continuing to deliver an important service protecting taxpayers' rights while also protecting our agency from costly litigation.

We've received questions about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provision for additional COVID-related leave. Please share with your teams that OPM has to first provide guidance to agencies, in our case the Treasury, then the Treasury will provide its interpretation to the IRS. This process takes time and is hampered by OPM's lack of capacity. Like the IRS, OPM suffered a sharp decline in staffing and they are working hard to accomplish their mission. PMA meets regularly with OPM to help move them along so that our members can get the information and support they need as quickly as possible. Once the IRS receives guidance from the Treasury, it takes some time for our agency to digest that information, plan communications, program our leave and pay systems, etc. To ensure the IRS is working as quickly as possible, PMA also meets weekly with members from HCO. Read more

PMA continues to receive comments from members that they're being directed to ask for medical documentation relating to the excused absence for a COVID vaccination. This is incorrect and not permitted. If you are told to seek medical documentation for COVID vaccination, please let us know so we can elevate the issue. If you have asked someone for medical documentation for vaccination, you must stop doing so because you are violating IRS-wide policy (local procedures, BOD-specific guidance, etc. are not acceptable justification to ask for medical documentation relating to vaccinations). Read more

HCO shared with PMA that many managers are mishandling SETR inputs for COVID vaccinations. To our members who input SETR, review SETR, and sign it at the 2nd- and 3rd-level each pay period, we remind you that you are responsible for ensuring these entries are valid and correct. The leave policy is up to four (4) hours for each dose. The time can never exceed four (4) hours per dose. A person can only charge time in this manner a total of two (2) times (and those times should be roughly a month apart). If you receive the single-dose J&J vaccine, then you may charge this time code only one (1) time. The excused absence covers only time spent getting vaccinated. Any adverse effects, at this time, are treated as sick leave (the same way we would handle adverse effects for any other vaccine or medical treatment). You must use the correct SETR OFP code so that the time is tracked appropriately. Read more

The IRS is seeking weekly input from you and your team through April 5th. Please complete the Climate Pulse Survey weekly to help the IRS respond to issues as they arise.

Help Others Become A PMA Member

There’s never been a more important time to become a PMA member. 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 deepen our relationships throughout the IRS and to develop new relationships throughout the center of 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 – an incredible value. I ask each of you to encourage your peers in the non-bargaining unit to consider signing up using the attached form - please forward this newsletter to one person in your network who might benefit from our advocacy and information. If you know a retiree who would benefit from our advocacy, we offer lifetime memberships to them for a one-time $100 payment. Membership also comes with many additional benefits such as discounted rates from our sponsors GEICO and FEDS Protection. PMA members participating in a FEHB plan may be able to get free, state-of-the-art hearing aids through our partner Eargo. Just mention PMA and they will waive your copay for most health plans. This benefit is available to anyone in your family using your FEHB plan!

Don't forget to follow PMA on social media! You can forward this email to your personal address to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages. We are working to better leverage these tools so we can keep in touch with each of you. Soon we will debut our Instagram and LinkedIn pages as we continue to work on refreshing our virtual toolkit.

Help PMA Form a Local Chapter

PMA’s National Board is looking for members throughout the country who are willing to consider serving as chapter president. If you're in Colorado or Georgia, please reach out today! We’re also always happy to hear from members who’d like to found a local chapter in their area. Local chapters are active around the country and work with local executives, FEBs, and GLCs to promote the interests of management. Chapter presidents also attend national calls quarterly with the National Board as members of our Association Leadership Committee. The Committee will participate in PMA's modernization project, which is already underway. The time commitment is minimal and it’s a great way to improve conditions in your office. If you or someone you know is interested, please reply to our newsletter and we will connect you with resources to get started.

IRS Chief Diversity Officer Speaks Out Against AAPI Hate

IRS Chief Diversity Officer Valerie Gunter shared the IRS's condemnation of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community this week in an all-employee message. PMA echos this statement and has long maintained that hate, bias, and discrimination have no place in the IRS or among our membership. Roughly 6.7% of the IRS workforce identifies as AAPI - 168% more than the American civilian labor force. PMA's AAPI members are exceptional leaders and make significant contributions to the Service each day. We are proud of the IRS's work in recruiting members of the AAPI community to Federal service. PMA works closely with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, to ensure AAPI taxpayers are treated fairly and equitably in their interactions with the IRS.

While we appreciate the strong, unequivocal message this week, we are disappointed that the Chief Diversity Officer never acknowledged PMA's request, sent more than seven months ago, calling on her office to address hate directed at members of the IRS's Black community. We also call on the Chief Diversity Officer to commit resources for all our EDI practitioners throughout the IRS, both in HQ and in each BOD, so they can attend training to sharpen their skills and bring modern, relevant practices from the EDI field into IRS culture.

Weekly updates