Weekly Updates

Masks For Frontline Feds & Other Updates

August 28, 2020
The PMA National Board hopes that our newsletter finds you safe and in good health. Alongside you, we mourn the loss of Jacob Blake, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Anthony Huber, in Kenosha.
Our hearts are with those recovering from Hurricane Laura as well as those living amidst this season’s forest fires. If you are in need of assistance, you may be eligible for assistance from FEEA and we encourage you to contact them.
Can your life insurance pay for your long-term care?

To find out, please see the attached article from Wade Guemmer, our financial advisor, and sign up to attend his webinar. Don’t forget that a benefit of your membership is a free review of your complete financial situation, including a comprehensive look at your federal benefits. Click here to contact Wade if you’d like to attend his life insurance presentation or to set up your consultation today!

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.

Hatch Act Reminder

The major political parties held their conventions and now the Presidential election is in full swing, with just 65 days separating us from Election Day. The Hatch Act Resource Center contains a wealth of information. Social media complicates our “24/7 prohibitions” and so please review the IRS Social Media guidance as well as the OSC Social Media guidance. Attached, please find a brief summary of “dos and don’ts.” The restrictions are even greater for those of you in CI or who belong to the Career-SES. If you have questions regarding Hatch, please email GLS.

No-Cost Professional Development Opportunities

Attend HCO’s ‘Crucial Conversations About Diversity,’ a 90-minute session to help you continue discussions on respect, bias, and diversity in the workplace. Click here to find a session time that’s best for you – sessions are scheduled through September 3rd. Read more

The Atlanta FEB is holding its next Legacy Speaker Series lunch and learn on Monday, August 31st. Sabriena Gibbs will discuss building better teams and relationships. You can attend using your personal device via Zoom. Please see the attached flyer for details.

Need help writing your ECQs? Are you a GS-14, GS-15, IR-01, IR-03, or IR-04 employee? Join the Office of Executive Services on August 31 or September 23 for a writing webinar. Read more here.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers is hosting a free, virtual summit September 15-22 called Leadership for a Changing World. The fact is that our world is changing – fast. We need to go deeper in our leadership skillset to navigate this moment. The summit features bestselling authors and leadership innovators such as Margie & Ken Blanchard, the world’s foremost experts on Servant Leadership, Peter Block, founder of the stewardship movement, and Mary-Frances Winters, leading authority in anti-racist leadership. The series is very exciting and I look forward to sharpening my skills! To learn more and register, please click here.

Save the date! All employees are invited to attend IRS Emerging Technology Day on October 13 from 8-12 Eastern. This exciting event is usually held face-to-face which limited attendance to those in the DC Metro area. This year, it will be a virtual event so we can all attend (though, apologies to our friends out west for the time!). I will share more information about registration once HQ has finalized the details.

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!

HCO Updates

HCO announced a new employee benefit through the Special Agents Mutual Benefit Association (SAMBA), a not-for-profit association for users of federal benefits. All employees and annuitants, regardless of employing agency, can enroll in any SAMBA plan. The SAMBA Employee Benevolent Fund (EBF) rapidly pays death benefits to survivors of participants for a small annual fee. EBF open enrollment will run for the month of September and will cover the final quarter of the calendar year for a prorated premium. Please visit the EBF Resource Center for more information or you can contact SAMBA directly at 800-638-6589, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET or send a secure email to SAMBA.

Please encourage your teams to take a moment to complete the Climate Pulse Survey each week here: Link to Survey. In the most recent data, we learned that employees are very anxious about the continued state of teleworking during the pandemic. Per the Commissioner’s message, we will remain home for the foreseeable future. We are very fortunate at IRS to be led by many telework-friendly executives!

We recommend this article from HCO which helps managers navigate situations where an employee states they’re unable to wear a face covering or they believe they have a qualified medical condition prohibiting them from wearing a face covering. Those situations need to be resolved before the employee enters an IRS facility so be sure to provide those employees with information on how to request a Reasonable Accommodation.

News From Washington

On the Hill, PMA has been busy advocating for legislation that clarifies OPM’s authority to waive in-office reporting requirements for teleworkers during the pandemic. We also seek legislative support for a nationally consistency policy on face coverings in Federal space. We’ve also been pressing Treasury to grant a bank of administrative leave to caregivers who must balance family with returning to work in their POD. Other agencies have provided 20 hours of admin to employees in that circumstance to help stretch their leave and Treasury has yet to follow their lead.

This week, we communicated with House lawmakers in our effort to seek pay parity with the military in the forthcoming appropriation. The current draft of FY21 NDAA provides a 3% increase for the military but is silent on civilian pay. That silence leaves civilians with a 1% increase for 2021. We will continue to pressure the Congress to include civilians in its pay legislation. Still no further word on the budget – the Congress assigned members to a conference committee and we continue to wait.

We also submitted comments on a proposed OPM rule which would extend federal benefits during lapses in appropriations. Currently, our health benefit plans tend to continue our coverage but there is no explicit requirement to do so. While your pay may be halted due to a shutdown, your health coverage needs do not stop. We feel the proposed regulation provides certainty in future lapses and acknowledges that our health should not be impacted by Congressional inaction.

Weekly updates