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. Click here to register for the celebration. If you have coworkers or friends who haven't registered yet, please share far and wide. All are welcome on #TeamPMA and thank you to all who've joined the team so far!
As a reminder, Challenge registrants will receive t-shirts, participation medals, digital bibs, an easy tool to upload your mileage anytime to the leaderboard, digital finisher certificates, fun digital badges for mileage milestones and fundraising achievements, special Wellness Wednesday events with prize drawings, other cool swag from our sponsors, and prizes for top fundraisers. Be sure to sign up today!
This week, PMA continued working on updating our association and reviewing new and expanded membership benefits in preparation for our 40th anniversary. To prepare for our email server changeover, please add our @promanager.org email domain to your Outlook Safe Senders list so that our messages don't end up in your junk/spam folder. Please find instructions attached to help you add PMA to your list and be sure to look out for our newsletter next week which will include updates from our monthly National Board Meeting as well as a read out on OPM's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) briefing.
This week, Federal benefits expert Tammy Flanagan put out a column highlighting one retiree's experience navigating the retirement process, FEHB, and Medicare. The retiree shared his story of enrolling in Medicare and also changing his Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage at the same time as his retirement application was being processed. Certainly worth the read - click here to learn more.
Don’t let the complex and confusing rules surrounding federal pay, benefits and retirement take money out of your pocket. Download the FAQs About Your Federal Benefits – FREE for ALL FEDS and only from NARFE.
As a reminder, a benefit of your PMA membership is a personal consultation with our financial planner and Federal benefits expert, Wade Guemmer. Wade's helped several PMA members and all have appreciated his support. Recently, one member wrote to us to say about Wade, "I just wanted to let you know that an appointment I arranged with Wade Guemmer was very helpful! He caused me to think about some things I had not considered/looked at them in a different way or confirmed some things I had been thinking. It was very useful in allowing me to see that I am on the right track." Email Wade (will open in Outlook) today to set up your retirement planning consultation.
This week, Kiran Ahuja, former OPM chief of staff, sat for her confirmation hearing as OPM's next director. Ms. Ahuja's hearing focused greatly on telework, retirement, and the future of OPM after years of instability within the agency's leadership. PMA looks forward to working with Ms. Ahuja as soon as she's confirmed, particularly on performance management issues and support our members need when dealing with poor performers. When someone's skills aren't a good match for their position, we need more tools to help find a better fit for them. We also look forward to tackling issues around workforce satisfaction, managerial burden, professional liability, and more.
Blacks In Government National President, the Honorable Shirley Jones, appeared on WJLA Channel 7’s Government Matters with Francis Rose to talk about why strategic planning is key to agencies' diversity plans. PMA and BIG are working together to help support OPM in developing workforce inclusion and equity through a direct conversation about how our organizations can facilitate change. We encourage you to watch President Jones's interview - she is a passionate leader and we are so glad to have her as an ally in this work!
Senator Brian Schatz introduced the Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act to help employees who experience a family medical crisis. The legislation would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who need to be home because a spouse, parent or child falls seriously ill. The leave could also be used for personal illness or to help a family member who is active-duty military prepare for a deployment. PMA supports the Congress's efforts to expand paid leave and its renewed commitment to viewing the Federal government as the "model employer." Too often have we seen our members and their employees struggle financially due to a medical emergency and the unpaid leave that typically follows (or years of sick leave repayment!).
OPM announced changes to Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. OPM will allow flexibilities permitted under recently passed legislation (CAA, ARPA) including allowing full carryover for a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) and Limited Expense FSA (LEX FSA); extending the grace period for a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA); and permitting care for dependents through age 14 for 2020 and 2021 under a DCFSA. In addition, OPM is working with FSAFEDS to offer a Special Enrollment/Election Period (SEP) in the near future. This SEP will allow participants to increase or decrease their current elections for their DCFSA and/or their HCFSA. In addition, the SEP will allow those who did not re-enroll for 2021 during Open Season in the fall, the opportunity to enroll in a DCFSA and/or HCFSA for 2021. Finally, OPM will allow DCFSA participants to increase their election during the Special Election Period to the new IRS maximum of $10,500 for 2021. We will share more information on these flexibilities as OPM releases it.
On Tuesday April 27th, from 9AM-10:30AM Eastern, join our partners at the Senior Executives Association, Treasury Executive Institute, and Arbinger Institute for a presentation on Distance or Disconnect? Coming Together When Your Team is Apart. Click here to register and learn more.
This week, our longtime friend Lois Dietrich was named as the first acting director of the newly formed Office of Promoter Investigations. In her new role, Lois will advise leaders in HQ and across BODs as we fight criminals facilitating abusive transactions and other schemes. At PMA, we're happy to see outstanding, committed leaders making important changes at the IRS. Congratulations Lois!
Please keep an eye out this coming week for a survey from OPM on workforce competencies. OPM is conducting a randomized survey so not everyone will receive an invitation to complete it but your input will shape the future of the Federal workforce. Read more
NTEU conducted a survey of its members about telework. We in PMA have been working closely with OPM to push the agency toward a reimagination of the Federal workplace and we're glad to see frontline employees share this same appetite for change. Expanding telework means better work/life balance and less time and money spent on commuting. It also means we could reduce facilities spending and use our operations budget more effectively. All of these are good things but the most important benefits of expanded telework relate to recruiting and retention. If we've learned anything from this past year, it's that much of our work need not be tied to a specific POD. We hope expanded telework brings a future where we choose the best candidate for a vacancy, rather than the best candidate in a specific city or the best candidate who is mobile and can readily relocate to take a new job. Managers in states with a small IRS presence, like North Dakota or Vermont, could become eligible for more opportunities without disrupting their families. Imagine what these flexibilities could mean for military spouses as they move around the world. For its part, OPM is taking a very serious look at the future of telework. We aim to support the IRS in untethering as many leadership roles as possible from specific PODs to improve outcomes, improve retention, and improve the quality of candidates on every BQ list.
This summer, PMA will celebrate our 40th anniversary as the only association advocating exclusively on behalf of IRS managers, management officials, other non-bargaining workers, leadership development program participants, and retirees from those roles. Through our long relationship with the IRS, we’ve worked to identify problems and recommend solutions around many complex workforce issues such as performance pay, leave, professional liability, and safety, to name only a few. We are working diligently to strengthen the IRS and enhance management through our relationships in Congress - at times even sharing our members' individual stories to fortify congressional understanding of our working conditions. We do all of this and more for only $3.50 per pay period – an incredible value.
If you're reading this and you're not yet a member, use the attached form to join us today and you'll be a member just in time for our anniversary celebration and relaunch! 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.
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.