2022 National Agreement Commentaries

This will be Part 2 of my review of the new National Agreement, which went into effect last fall.

A copy of the new Contract will be printed and given to each employee in the unit by the employer.  As of the date of this issue of The Force, the Contract has not been printed and delivered to the employees. However, you can access an electronic copy of the Contract here: 2022 National Agreement

Although I encourage everyone to learn the ins and outs of the Contract, some of the Articles that you should definitely be sure to read and review are as follows:

Article 11, Section 21, Online Communications

This Article states that, “[t]he Employer may require employees to use webcams for individual or group meetings, including training, where face to face meetings are warranted, but impractical.”

Article 12, Performance Appraisal System

This Article is your IRS report card.  How well you do on your Annual Appraisal determines if you are qualified for raises and an annual award.  There could be other factors that may disqualify you for an award. However, you must have received an overall rating of a 3.0 to get a step increase or a lateral raise.

Article 12 outlines all the different appraisals you can receive.  Your annual appraisal is based on your measured critical job elements (CJE).  Section 4 (B) 6 states: “During the final thirty (30) days of an employee’s annual appraisal period (or otherwise agreed upon) the employee may prepare a written self-assessment on a form to be provided by the Employer to submit for their supervisor’s consideration.” The Employer will maintain a web-based tutorial. As stated above, this is only voluntary.  It is your career, and no one cares more about your future than you do.  It may be worth the time you put into writing your self-assessment. Article 12 is eighteen (18) pages long and it talks about annual, departure, and merit promotion appraisals. It is important that you read the entire Article.  I recently completed the ITM Course 77767 (Performance Management Policy for Employees),

which effectively summarized Article 12, and is a mandatory course. There is also a Course to help you prepare your self-assessment. The last page of Article 12 is a chart that gives you the due date of your annual performance appraisal according to the last digit of your social security number.

Article 13-Promotions/Other Competitive Actions

Article 13 talks about job selections, temporary job promotions, and exceptions to the rules.  Section 1(B) states that, “[t]he employer will provide first consideration to IRS employees for its bargaining unit vacancies, except as otherwise provided for in this Article, by considering the Best Qualified (BQ) candidates at all grade levels.”  As an IRS employee you may apply for jobs internally and externally.  Always pay close attention to the job qualification section because there are action words that need to be part of your job application that can help you make the BQ list. If you do make the BQ list and are given an interview, it is a good idea to get a mock interview from a member of management in your current area prior to your actual interview.  The constructive feed back you receive is very helpful.  I wish you the best of luck finding the career that you love in the government.  As Mark Twain stated, “find the job you enjoy doing, and you never work a day in your life.”

Article 14-Release/Recall Procedures

This applies to our seasonal and career conditional employees.  The most important thing to remember here is if there are seasonal and career conditional employees in the same area, the career conditional employees will be released first and will return to work after the seasonal employees have been recalled.  The ranking of employees will be accomplished by a combination of performance and entry on duty date.  In Article 14 there is an equation that is used for the ranking determination.

Article 15-Reassignments/Realignments and Voluntary Relocations

I will start with Section 2-Involuntary Reassignments/Realignments. If there are more volunteers than needed, the employee(s) with the earliest IRS EOD will be reassigned/realigned.  When there are not enough volunteers, the least senior employee(s) using the IRS EOD, will be reassigned/realigned.  The designated employees will receive five (5) workdays notice. Reassignment/Realignment from one POD to another POD.  When enough employee volunteer, a fifteen (15) day notice will be given. If there are not enough volunteers, a thirty (30) day notice will be given.  These employees will be given moving expenses according to the law.  I will now move to Section 5-Permanent Hardship Relocation through Vacancy Process. The employer can offer relocation if there is a vacant position which the Employer intends to fill in the employee’s current job series and the employee meets the position and skill requirements.  Situations may arise where the Employer may attempt to accommodate a hardship by offering a position in another series when it is determined by the Employer that the employee is minimally qualified for the position, can readily perform the work, and there is no vacancy in the employee’s current series, provided there is no hardship eligible employee currently in the series being considered. Section 6-Voluntary Relocation. Volunteers for relocation within their current business divisions are eligible for realignment to positions at their current grade, series, work schedule and specialty, if any.  The opportunity to apply for voluntary relocation will be announced annually Service-wide no later than January 5 and remain open though July 20.  Section 8 is Job Swaps. Many of us remember the RIF and our Flat Top Building closing. The contract refers to employees in the same occupational classification series, with the same work schedule and some specialty area.  If you swap positions with another employee, you may not swap again for three (3) years. Section 9- Temporary Hardship. When an employee is experiencing a temporary hardship, the employee may request a temporary Telework arrangement.  The Employer will make every reasonable effort to approve a temporary Telework location, including another IRS POD, to accommodate the temporary hardship. The milage requirement (200 miles) of Article 50 of this Agreement for the location of a Telework site is temporarily waived, and the requirement to report to the assigned POD at least two (2) days each pay period or, if the work location varies on a recurring basis, regularly perform work within the commuting area of the POD, is temporarily waived.  The Employer may approve temporary hardship for various periods of up to one (1) year depending on the specific circumstances of the hardship, subject to staffing and workload needs.  Management may extend the temporary hardship for up to one (1) additional year.  The Application for Hardship Reassignment/ Relocation Request is on the following page.  NOTE: Any type of Hardship Relocation does not entitle the employee moving expenses.  

Well, that is all I have for Part Two of my long journey through the new contract.  Join me for my new adventure next month beginning with Article 16. 

Janet Colwell