Weekly Updates

Loan Options for TSP Participants & Other Updates

June 26, 2020
PMA National Board Meeting

Annually, the PMA National Board meets to reflect on the prior year, plan for our next fiscal year, set a budget, and monitor our bylaws and policies. We held our meeting this week and will vote to adopt our bylaws amendments and FY21 budget on Monday. The National Board is excited to begin the process of reintroducing our Association to our members and to the agency. In the coming months, we will refresh our look and relaunch our website and social media channels so we can accommodate our growth. We are also exploring additional ways we can partner with the IRS to promote excellence in leadership and ways we can continue to support your professional development. In the coming months, we will share ways for you to participate in our plan to reinvest in our Association!

Loan Options Now Available for TSP Participants Affected by COVID-19

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants may now apply for the new temporary loan and withdrawal options available under coronavirus relief legislation. The loan policy changes are available only if a participant, spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with coronavirus or “is experiencing adverse financial consequences” as a result of quarantine, furlough, reduction in work hours or being unable to work due to lack of child care due to the virus. The maximum loan amount on a general purpose loan is increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and the portion of your available balance you can borrow is raised from 50 percent to 100 percent. The deadline for applying is Sept. 18, 2020. Participants may also temporarily suspend payments through the end of this year on TSP loans they currently have and on new loans taken between now and Nov. 30, 2020. Read more

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

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.

There is a nationwide Federal Executive Board (FEB) workshop being offered called Uncovering Unconscious & Implicit Bias in the Workplace on July 1st from 1-2:30PM Eastern – please click here to register. You will need to use your personal device to attend. This session will uncover the shocking truth of how Unconscious Bias shows up in our daily decision making and how it impacts the workplace. Participants will learn real-world examples of how Unconscious Bias has negatively impacted people’s careers and lives; be able to identify strategies you can easily implement to help mitigate Unconscious Bias in your personal and professional lives; learn the language to help address Unconscious Bias when you witness it demonstrated by others; and experience a mind shift and view about other humans you interact with daily.

PMA is excited to offer another sponsor webinar around COVID-19 and retirement planning on July 9th from 1:30-3PM Eastern – a calendar invitation is attached which contains additional details. My prior communication had a typo for the date. You will need to use your personal device to attend. The administrator of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) and Tammy Flanagan of Retire Federal will be hosting an educational webinar on the FLTCIP exclusively for our members. We are living in uncertain times due to the worldwide pandemic. What impact does this have on your retirement planning? Join us as Tammy Flanagan discusses ways to make informed decisions about your retirement benefits whether you are near your planned retirement, midcareer, or already in the first years of your well-deserved life after retirement. You will learn some key factors that will help you stay the course and plan for a smooth transition to a financially secure life after federal service. There will be a live Q&A session following the event.

We thank our partners at FEDS Protection for their presentation last month on coronavirus liabilities for IRS managers. If you missed it, you can view a recording of the presentation here. Remember to file for your 50% reimbursement from the agency by following the directions here. Please let me know if you have any feedback on the session.

HCO Update

Our weekly meeting with HCO focused on safety concerns we have for our colleagues who lead offices with in-person taxpayer interaction. Taxpayer Assistance Centers in several states will reopen to the public for services which cannot be completed by phone or mail on Monday. We expect all walk-in offices to resume operations by July 27th. Field employees in Collection, Exam, TAS, and Field Assistance face unique challenges which vary widely from location to location. Late Wednesday, NTEU issued a statement stating in part, “[t]o date, the IRS has not provided a clear outline of how employees will be protected when sitting across from taxpayers.” Unfortunately, we in PMA have to validate NTEU’s perspective. No clear plan has been provided to our Association either and W&I declined our request for a briefing at the weekly call. After our call, I submitted written questions seeking additional information from W&I and expressing our disappointment that our offers for consultative support were not accepted during their planning process. This is very concerning as some offices will resume operations on Monday and, as of late yesterday, no plan was provided.

We are also aware that our Commissioner’s People First Initiative expires on July 15th and this is causing concern among our colleagues throughout the country who are responsible for enforcement actions. We will continue to advocate for clear guidance on how we will resume audit appointments, collection interviews, and the like to ensure you, your teams, and your taxpayers are safe.

The Leave Bank is open through July 17th – this window was opened early and extended due to the ongoing pandemic. Click here for more information on the Leave Bank’s open season. HCO launched COVID-19 Self Screening questions on IRS Source today. Please be sure to go through the self-screening questions each day you intend to report to an IRS facility.

News From Washington

PMA’s Counsel, Debra Roth, of Shaw Bransford & Roth appeared on ’60 Minutes’ to discuss the lack of members on the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB ensures that our workforce remains free of prohibited personnel practices but cannot issue final determinations without a board quorum. Currently, all three seats are vacant and this has led to a backlog of cases which may take years for the Board to hear. PMA continues to urge the Senate to consider the two pending nominees who, if confirmed, would constitute a quorum and the MSPB can resume functionality. Lean more about this issue and see the interview here.

As a reminder, SB&R offers PMA members two no-cost 30-minute consultations annually. Send an email to www.hotline@shawbransford.com (include your name, that you are an PMA member, and your phone number during working hours) or call 202-463-8400 and ask for the 30-minute consultation for PMA Members. They will verify your PMA membership and call you back. When should you call them? Anytime you have been told you are a target of an activity/investigation, that includes TIGTA, EEO, and any other type of investigation, OR when actions could impact your employment.

FEEA Has Masks For Frontline Feds

FEEA is 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 – supplies are limited. If you would like to order a batch of those masks for your team, please let me know.

Weekly updates