Last week, I shared a collection of resources to help us learn more about racism and especially pervasive, systemic racism. After my message went out, PMA National Board Member Teresa Adams suggested the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) new online portal to provide Americans with additional resources to both reflect on their own history with race and lead conversation about race. The portal provides targeted guidance for educators, parents or caregivers, and people committed to equity, as well as a multitude of resources delving into the history of race and racism. I encourage you to take a look at this new and timely resource.
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 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.
As we approach the end of the third month of our agency’s evacuation order, daily data collection on leave and telework remains critically important for decisionmakers at the highest levels of the IRS. Early in the pandemic, managers were asked to ensure their staff input time entries daily into the Single Entry Time Reporting (SETR) system and our compliance is declining. In the previous pay period, we had nearly 27,000 employees who failed to enter SETR on just one Tuesday – more than a third of the agency’s entire workforce. HCO reports that the average failure to report is about 11,000 employees daily, still an unacceptably high number. Managers with employees on administrative leave, you are responsible for ensuring these input are made timely. Managers with employees teleworking, please ensure that the appropriate telework indicator is set for each OFP code in SETR.
National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association Shares Telework White Paper
Attached, please find ‘Telework: Banding Together While Staying Apart.’ This white paper was developed by NARFE and provides an overview of telework throughout the government and the history of this benefit. If you aren’t a member of NARFE, this is an example of the resources and guidance available from their association. For more information, visit them online at www.narfe.org.
We’ve met several times with representatives from HCO over the last two weeks to discuss the numerous plans they have underway as we continue our phased reopening. As you may have seen, the agency will reopen to employees with nonportable duties in eight additional states and Puerto Rico this month. PMA has expressed concern about the inconsistent use of face coverings by security officers in federal buildings. This week, we sent a formal letter to the Commissioner stressing our worry about unnecessary risk in facilities where the local Facility Security Committee (FSC) either fails to adopt a face covering requirement or is not adequately funded to purchase face coverings for guards where there is a desire to implement such a requirement. We continue to look to our agency to lead this discussion and to apply pressure on other agencies to put employee safety ahead of business expediency.
HCO has worked very hard on offering expanded maxiflex gliding tours of duty, a program which was recently revised by OPM. We thank HCO for working to find flexibility within the policy so that it can be offered not only to teleworkers but, soon, to those of you with nonportable duties. I hope to have more information on this exciting flexibility for caregivers in our next message. HCO has also generously offered to participate in a virtual Q&A with PMA members on the maxiflex program, in addition to telework, FFCRA emergency paid sick leave, and retirement. We will make a schedule for those sessions and I will market them once they’re finalized. I want you to have all of your questions answered because these flexibilities will be very important as more employees return to the office.
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.
I want to thank so many of you for your responses to our message last week. I was overwhelmed by your stories of racial and gender discrimination through your careers and I hope you will keep sharing with me to the extent you are comfortable. Knowing your history helps me, along with the National Board, serve you effectively. Please continue to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions relating to the return-to-work plan, workload planning, or any policies which are hampering you or your program. I meet with agency executives weekly and they ask for your feedback each and every time I speak with them. I’m also interested in any suggestions you have about the National Agreement as the agency enters midterm bargaining. I will do my best to acknowledge your replies but please know that I read each and every email you send!