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NTEU ACTION CENTER

RECENT NEWS:

* Please contact NTEU Chapter 67 at 801-620-6511 with any questions you may have.

Monday
Jan212019

Additional Information is Provided Regarding the Government Shutdown

NTEU held a wide-ranging conference call with IRS leaders to seek answers to the questions raised by chapter leaders since the agency’s 2019 Filing Season Shutdown Plan was released.

1. Hardship Requests: Without any question, employees are facing serious financial issues because they have not been paid since December 22, 2018, when the shutdown started.  Now, under the Filing Season plan, the IRS is recalling an additional 36,000 employees to process tax returns and answer calls from taxpayers. We are stressing to the IRS that if an employee claims a hardship of any kind, the IRS should honor the intent of Article 48, Section 1.B, and accept the claim.

The IRS should look for ways to accommodate employees, such as authorizing intermittent furloughs for certain periods of time and even for entire days so employees can mitigate the hardship situations they are currently facing.  We also advised the IRS that if it fails to grant hardship requests, and threatens employees with AWOL or termination, it risks losing many employees altogether, something the agency can ill afford. Employees should not be forced to choose between their job, which isn’t paying them, and enduring the hardship caused by the lack of pay.  We told them they need to approve all hardship requests. We emphasized that the way the agency handles this issue will impact how retention and shape how employees view the IRS as an employer on a long-term basis. Today, the IRS told us that our suggested approach is, in fact, the approach their managers are being instructed to take.

2. Federal Holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day): The agency informed NTEU that excepted employees will be issued another furlough letter to cover MLK day as they will not be required to work next Monday.

3. Back Pay for Employees with Approved Hardship Requests: For employees who are granted a hardship and not required to work as an excepted employee, many chapter leaders asked about whether these employees would be waiving or forfeiting back pay once the shutdown ends.  The IRS confirmed that if an employee recalled under Article 14 or Article 48 requests a hardship, and the hardship is granted, they will still be furloughed employees and receive back pay. As of yesterday, the President signed a bill guaranteeing all furloughed (and excepted) employees back pay.  In that case, an employee called up under either Article who is granted a hardship will receive back pay for the shutdown.

4. Delays to Income Verification Information: During the January 17th conference call with the IRS, the agency assured NTEU that it will continue to work through this problem.  One reason for the delay has been that income verification for many federal agencies is handled by Equifax, and as a result, Equifax is having a difficult time handling the increased need for its services caused by the government shutdown.

5. Furlough Letter: The IRS confirmed that it is working with Wage and Investment (W&I) in order to mail copies of the furlough letter to employees, but it is still determining the best method for accomplishing this.

6. The Inapplicability of RIF Procedures to this Shutdown:  The December 21, 2018 letter issued by CHCO Robin Bailey incorrectly notified employees that they would be subject to RIF procedures if the shutdown lasts more than thirty (30) days.  However, the reductions in force (RIF) furlough regulations are not applicable to emergency shutdown furloughs because the ultimate duration of an emergency shutdown furlough is unknown at the outset and is dependent entirely on Congressional action, rather than agency action. We can assure you that a RIF will not occur as a result of this shutdown.  If the shutdown lasts 30 days, the OPM regulations require the agency to issue a second furlough of employees for another period of up to thirty (30) days.

7. Documentation Needed for Unemployment Compensation: The agency informed NTEU that it has contacted all of its points-of-contact at state unemployment compensation offices and confirmed that the furlough letter or a leave and earnings statement will be considered sufficient.  Nonetheless, the agency agreed to provide all employees with copies of their SF-50. In addition, if an employee does not receive their SF-50 promptly, they can contact the IRS Help Desk for assistance.

8. ”Use or Lose” Leave for Retirees: The agency stated that employees in this situation will be considered for leave restoration and that any leave restored will still be included in their lump sum payment upon retirement. However, this will not happen until after the shutdown ends.

NTEU will continue to provide further updates on each of these issues as soon as they become available. In addition, please continue to check the NTEU website at https://www.nteu.org/shutdown for additional information.  

Saturday
Jan192019

New Information we've received from the Utah State Unemployment Department. 

Saturday
Jan192019

New Information we've received from the Utah State Unemployment Department. 


Thursday
Jan172019

NTEU Chapter 67  leadership personally delivered letters demanding an end to the shutdown to the offices of Senator Lee and Senator Romney. They also met with a represent from the Utah State Governors office requesting additional relief for essential and non-essential employees to continue receiving unemployment benefits. 

Wednesday
Jan162019

 

 

In NTEU’s continuing effort to provide the best service to our members we have opened a temporary office in the Marriott-Slaterville City Office. Beginning January 17th until further notice we will be available Mon-Fri 3 PM-5PM at 1570 W 400 N Ogden, UT 84404. We can always be reached at NTEU67.org, NTEU67@gmail.com, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Wednesday
Jan162019

 

Wednesday
Jan162019

Article 48 | Furloughs
Section 1
Shutdown Furloughs Due to Lapse in
Appropriations / Debt Ceiling Limitations
In the event that funds are not available through an
appropriations law or continuing resolution, a shutdown
furlough occurs. Such a furlough may be necessary when
an agency no longer has the funds to operate and must shut
down those activities which are not excepted pursuant to
the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1342. 
151
2016 National Agreement | Internal Revenue Service and National Treasury Employees Union Article 48
The following procedures will apply:
A. The Employer will provide written notice to National
NTEU when it is reasonably foreseeable that a
shutdown furlough will occur.
B. All Service employees will be furloughed except for
those employees performing excepted functions or
those employees whose positions are exempt. When
there is more than one (1) qualified employee in the
same position, grade, post of duty, and tour of duty
available for an excepted position, the Employer has
determined that employees will be assigned to the
excepted position by inverse seniority based on enter
on duty (EOD) date. The Employer will consider an
employee’s request not to work due to a hardship. If
the employee’s request is honored, the Employer has
determined that the next employee, meeting the above
criteria, will be assigned to the excepted position.
C. The Service will provide local NTEU Chapters with
one (1) copy of the decision letter together with a
list of those employees who have been designated
as excepted or those employees who are deemed to
be exempt. The local parties will determine the form
of and the timing for delivery of the list. Employees
will be given a written document notifying them of
applicability to the employee.
D. Employees are expected to listen to radio and/or
television broadcasts to learn when an appropriation
or continuing resolution has been signed or when
the debt ceiling has been raised. The Employer and
the Union are free to negotiate, at the national level,
additional methods of notifying employees about
the conclusion of the furlough. Employees will then
be expected to report to work no later than four (4)
hours after that announcement. In the event the
announcement contains instructions on reporting to
work later than that, employees will be expected to
follow those instructions. A liberal leave policy will be
in effect on the day employees are to return to work.
Employees who travel during the time of the furlough
will be expected to return to work in accordance with
the terms of this Article or with the more specific
instructions.
E. If an employee has “use or lose” leave scheduled during
the furlough, the employee and his/her manager
shall make every reasonable effort to reschedule the
expiring leave during the leave year. In the event
that it cannot be rescheduled, the shutdown will
qualify as an exigency of the public business and the
forfeited leave may be restored in accordance with
IRM 6.630.1.3.3.
F. During any fiscal year in which a furlough occurs, the
Service and NTEU shall jointly issue an all-employee
notice with Questions and Answers attached which
will advise employees of the impact of non-pay status
on civil service benefits and programs and which will
address some financial concerns employees may have
when faced with a pay reduction. The Service will
distribute this notice to all employees.
G. All employees will receive from the servicing Personnel
Office a fact sheet describing unemployment benefits
available in their jurisdiction. At a minimum, this notice
will contain information on unemployment benefits
availability, the waiting period, if any, benefits eligibility
requirements, and the location and phone number
of State and/or municipal agencies responsible for
administering the program in the local area.
H. During the period of the furlough employees may
engage in outside employment in accordance with the
“Plain Talk About Ethics and Conduct.” Employees may
not engage in any activity prohibited therein. While
in a non-pay status, such employees may engage in
outside employment without obtaining prior written
permission that is otherwise required. Upon return to
duty status, employees must submit a written request
to engage in outside employment if such activity
continues.
I. When a shutdown furlough impacts the contractual
deadlines of this Agreement,  all parties will
be  provided  one (1) additional day in which to meet
those contractual deadlines for each day of the furlough.

Article 48 | FurloughsSection 1Shutdown Furloughs Due to Lapse inAppropriations / Debt Ceiling LimitationsIn the event that funds are not available through anappropriations law or continuing resolution, a shutdownfurlough occurs. Such a furlough may be necessary whenan agency no longer has the funds to operate and must shutdown those activities which are not excepted pursuant tothe Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1342. 151
2016 National Agreement | Internal Revenue Service and National Treasury Employees Union Article 48The following procedures will apply:
A. The Employer will provide written notice to NationalNTEU when it is reasonably foreseeable that ashutdown furlough will occur.
B. All Service employees will be furloughed except forthose employees performing excepted functions orthose employees whose positions are exempt. Whenthere is more than one (1) qualified employee in thesame position, grade, post of duty, and tour of dutyavailable for an excepted position, the Employer hasdetermined that employees will be assigned to theexcepted position by inverse seniority based on enteron duty (EOD) date. The Employer will consider anemployee’s request not to work due to a hardship. Ifthe employee’s request is honored, the Employer hasdetermined that the next employee, meeting the abovecriteria, will be assigned to the excepted position.
C. The Service will provide local NTEU Chapters withone (1) copy of the decision letter together with alist of those employees who have been designatedas excepted or those employees who are deemed tobe exempt. The local parties will determine the formof and the timing for delivery of the list. Employeeswill be given a written document notifying them ofapplicability to the employee.
D. Employees are expected to listen to radio and/ortelevision broadcasts to learn when an appropriationor continuing resolution has been signed or whenthe debt ceiling has been raised. The Employer andthe Union are free to negotiate, at the national level,additional methods of notifying employees aboutthe conclusion of the furlough. Employees will thenbe expected to report to work no later than four (4)hours after that announcement. In the event theannouncement contains instructions on reporting towork later than that, employees will be expected tofollow those instructions. A liberal leave policy will bein effect on the day employees are to return to work.Employees who travel during the time of the furloughwill be expected to return to work in accordance withthe terms of this Article or with the more specificinstructions.
E. If an employee has “use or lose” leave scheduled duringthe furlough, the employee and his/her managershall make every reasonable effort to reschedule theexpiring leave during the leave year. In the eventthat it cannot be rescheduled, the shutdown willqualify as an exigency of the public business and theforfeited leave may be restored in accordance withIRM 6.630.1.3.3.
F. During any fiscal year in which a furlough occurs, theService and NTEU shall jointly issue an all-employeenotice with Questions and Answers attached whichwill advise employees of the impact of non-pay statuson civil service benefits and programs and which willaddress some financial concerns employees may havewhen faced with a pay reduction. The Service willdistribute this notice to all employees.
G. All employees will receive from the servicing PersonnelOffice a fact sheet describing unemployment benefitsavailable in their jurisdiction. At a minimum, this noticewill contain information on unemployment benefitsavailability, the waiting period, if any, benefits eligibilityrequirements, and the location and phone numberof State and/or municipal agencies responsible foradministering the program in the local area.
H. During the period of the furlough employees mayengage in outside employment in accordance with the“Plain Talk About Ethics and Conduct.” Employees maynot engage in any activity prohibited therein. Whilein a non-pay status, such employees may engage inoutside employment without obtaining prior writtenpermission that is otherwise required. Upon return toduty status, employees must submit a written requestto engage in outside employment if such activitycontinues.
I. When a shutdown furlough impacts the contractualdeadlines of this Agreement,  all parties willbe  provided  one (1) additional day in which to meetthose contractual deadlines for each day of the furlough.

Tuesday
Jan152019

 

Thousands of Employees Called Back

IRS Releases New Filing Season Plan

The IRS today issued an updated tax filing season contingency plan that has been approved by the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Under the plan, the IRS indicated that it will recall 36,000 more employees to prepare for the tax filing season.

Once again, the IRS is using the “call tree” process to contact employees. The IRS will begin contacting employees as early as today to return to work. Employees who receive a call are obligated to return to work as directed.

NTEU understands this recall will add to the anger and frustration that you already rightfully feel. Many of you were forced to stay home or work without pay, and now thousands more employees will be on the job without a paycheck. On top of this, some employees previously dealt with the chaos of being called back to work one day and told to stay home the next.

Last week, NTEU filed a lawsuit alleging that the executive branch can’t continue to force more employees to work in exchange for a promise they will be paid later. NTEU was in court today arguing our case and asking for an immediate temporary restraining order to stop the administration from obligating funds to federal employee salaries that Congress has not yet appropriated. While a judge denied NTEU's request for a temporary restraining order, he did set a court date later this month for our request for a preliminary injunction.

The union also is moving forward with a separate lawsuit challenging the administration’s authority to force thousands of federal employees to work without pay. If processing tax returns is an essential government service that should not be suspended during a shutdown, then the employees who provide that service should be compensated on their regular pay day, as required by law.  

The IRS needs to get ready for the impending filing season, and employees want to work. But the bottom line is, you need a paycheck now. We will continue to drive home this message to Congress and the administration and tell your story to the media and the American public. NTEU is in close contact with the IRS, and we will continue to voice your concerns and get your questions answered on this transition.

Despite this stressful and uncertain time, you remain committed to your job and the American people, and we thank you.

Unemployment Benefits

Employees who are recalled but still seeking unemployment benefits should be aware that some states allow residents to receive unemployment benefits if they are working but not receiving a paycheck. Laws vary by state and more information is available here. You may need to provide a completed SF-8 form and a furlough letter from the agency. NTEU has received reports that the IRS is not providing timely salary information to state unemployment offices. The union has contacted the agency to fix this problem.

Hardships

The IRS must consider an employee's request not to work due to a hardship. While hardships are not defined in the agreement, they could be financial in nature. Employees seeking a hardship exemption should provide as much detail as possible. Beyond hardships, employees cannot simply refuse to come into work. 

 

 Contingency plan can be found here https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/266/IRS-Lapse-in-Appropriations-Contingency-Plan_Filing-Season_2019-01-15.pdf

Monday
Jan142019

Thursday
Jan102019

 

The Office of Personnel Management issued a new memorandum regarding the restoration of annual leave for employees affected by the government shutdown.

 

Today the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a new memorandum in response to questions as to whether properly scheduled use-or-lose annual leave that was unable to be used due the shutdown may be restored to both employees required to work and those furloughed.

 

As you know, during a lapse in appropriations, all paid leave or other paid time off is cancelled.  Under 5 U.S.C. 6304(d)(1), annual leave in excess of an employee’s annual leave ceiling is to be restored if it is forfeited because of “exigencies of the public business” when the leave was scheduled in advance.  Under 5 CFR 630.308(a), this means the leave had to be scheduled before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year.  

 

Before the shutdown commenced OPM and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) determined that a lapse in appropriation qualifies as an exigency of the public business for purposes of annual leave restoration.  Therefore, according to OPM, as long as the leave was properly scheduled in writing no later than November 24, 2018, agencies must restore any annual leave that was forfeited because of the lapse in appropriations—regardless of whether the affected employees were furloughed or excepted from the furlough.  However, OPM noted that any previously restored annual leave that was due to expire at the end of the 2018 leave year and was subsequently forfeited, may not be restored again even if the forfeiture was due to the lapse in appropriations.

 

As this shutdown continues, we will provide additional updates as they become available.

 

 

 

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