2022 National Agreement – Whom does this apply to?

Q: There are many changes to workplace rules with the 2022 National Agreement. To whom do these rules apply?

A: These rules apply to “bargaining unit” employees. Usually, these are non-manager employees who do not work in CI, Chief Counsel, or involved in secure or HR-related work. You can find your bargaining unit status on your SF-50.

Q: I am a non-bargaining unit employee. The National Agreement contains many benefits for bargaining unit employees. Do any of these benefits apply to me?

A: HCO is working to make a recommendation for senior leadership as to which benefits “pass through” to non-bargaining unit employees. Once those decisions are made, we will immediately let you know.

Article 11 – Use of Online Communication Tools

Q: The new contract gives management the ability to require that employees use online communication tools when management determines it would be useful in performing your work. Does this mean that management can direct me to turn on Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams to communicate with my team members or customers?

A: Yes. However, management has agreed that it will not use these tools to monitor/track employees, measure productivity, or act as a time and attendance tool.

Q: If required to use Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, can I use the “Do Not Disturb” feature?

A: It depends. The “availability” feature of instant messaging – which shows an employee’s status as “Available,” “Away,” “Busy,” or “Do Not Disturb” – should show your current status. That is, employees need to be reachable through these tools, and employees cannot use this feature to prevent management, your colleagues, or your customers from communicating with you. As a result, the “Do Not Disturb” function may be used on a limited basis (e.g., to complete a specific task). If you are available, however, your status should show that you are “available.”

Q: Can I be required to use a webcam for a meeting?

A: It depends. Management can require that employees use webcams for individual or group meetings, including training, where face-to-face meetings are warranted but impractical. That means that managers should not require the use of a webcam just to see a person. That would be inappropriate. Management can, however, require a team of employees to use webcams to attend a team meeting when, e.g., the team is not co-located. In addition, management could require an employee to use a webcam for a performance review since such a meeting would usually be held in person if the employee and manager were co-located. Management could also require an employee to use a webcam for a meeting with a taxpayer if such meeting would normally be done face-to-face but for some impracticality (e.g., COVID-19).

Article 50 – Telework and Being Called into the Office

Q: Can my manager call me into the office on my teleworking day?

A: Yes, in certain scenarios. Your manager can call you into the office for a regularly scheduled team meeting (e.g., a weekly or monthly team meeting), or for a special circumstance – e.g., training, office coverage, filing season appointment. Your manager cannot, however, call you into the office just to see you. It must be a special circumstance or for a regularly scheduled meeting.

Article 50 – Telework Location

Q: How far can my telework location be from my POD?

A: Your telework location must be within 200 miles of your assigned POD. Your manager does, however, retain sole discretion to approve teleworking outside of that radius for up to two pay periods in a calendar year. The two pay periods need not be consecutive – i.e., you can be approved for the exception for one pay period in December and one pay period in July. In such instances, you must use your own leave should you become unable to telework (i.e., you cannot get weather and safety leave if there is, for example, a power outage).

Article 50 – Frequent Telework Schedules

Q: As a frequent teleworker, do I only have to regularly report to the office twice a pay period?

A: It depends. As a frequent teleworker, your work determines how often you can telework. The contract defines frequent telework as 80 hours or more of telework in a calendar month. For many employees, that may only mean two full days per pay period, which is the minimum you must report to the office. For other employees, you may be required to report up to twice a week (or four times a pay period) to perform certain job duties – e.g., check mail, meet with taxpayers, office coverage.

Article 13 – First Consideration

Q: As a bargaining unit employee, am I still entitled to first consideration for bargaining unit positions?

A: First consideration is still applicable to many jobs at the IRS. The exception is entry level positions for many common job series. Please see Article 13, Section 2.C for a list of those positions exempt from first consideration.

Referral Bonus

Q: If I refer someone to the IRS, will I get a bonus?

A: You will only get a referral bonus if you refer someone into a “hard-to-fill” position. Be on the lookout for communications about which positions are considered “hard-to-fill.” Once you refer someone into one of these positions, you will receive $250 on the person’s six-month anniversary and an additional $250 on the one-year anniversary.

Here is a Pre-publication Proof of the National Agreement!

2022 National Agreement
Internal Revenue Service and National Treasury Employees Union