House Passes Bill Affecting Raise, IRS Bonuses

House Passes Bill Affecting Raise, IRS Bonuses
Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The House has passed a key spending bill that by remaining silent on a January 2015 federal employee raise takes a major step toward allowing one to occur. Voting on the financial services-general government bill (HR-5016) was the best opportunity for opponents of a raise to block one but no amendments to that effect were offered. By taking no position, the House has left the door open for a raise to be paid by default, which similarly happened last year. A default raise almost certainly would be the 1 percent the White House recommended earlier this year, which would be formalized by an order that would be due by the end of August. The counterpart Senate bill also is silent regarding a raise. One complication is that the White House has threatened to veto the House version over a number of policy provisions and reductions to IRS funding—which was lowered even more by amendments accepted after the veto threat was issued. The House also accepted an amendment to bar payment of performance awards to SES members at the IRS, mirroring a step it took in an earlier spending bill involving the VA. The bill already had contained a provision barring the payment of awards to any IRS employee unless the employee’s conduct and personal tax compliance is taken into account.

 

 

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Van Hollen: Feds need to watch budget, pension talk come September

Van Hollen: Feds need to watch budget, pension talk come September

Friday – 8/15/2014, 3:49pm EDT

By Michael O’Connell
 
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

When Congress returns to work after its five-week break, federal employees well have plenty to keep an eye on, especially the continuing resolution that will fund the federal government in 2015.Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, told In Depth with Francis Rose recently that he hopes his Republican colleagues will agree to a budget deal and avoid a repeat of the “shameful” government shutdown of 2013.

“The first order of business and the main event in September will be working out funding levels for the federal government,” Van Hollen said. “That’s a must-do piece of legislation for the Congress, and if for any reason there are obstacles or roadblocks, then you do run the risk of government shutdowns. Again, I think we’ll avoid it, but you never know what kind of craziness someone will come up with at the last minute.”

In Depth host Francis Rose, left, interviews Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in the congressman’s district office. (Photo courtesy of Francis Rose/Federal News Radio)

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Report shows federal employment diversity flat

Federal Eye
Report shows federal employment diversity flat

By Joe Davidson August 18 at 10:00 AM

Racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the federal workforce remained essentially flat from fiscal 2010 to 2011, according to data the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) planned to release Monday.

The percentage of women in the workforce dropped slightly, while percentages for African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rose almost imperceptibly. The increases were less than one-tenth of a percentage point.

Women made up 43.81 percent of the workforce in 2011, down from 43.97 percent the year before, “after a slow but steady increase,” according to the EEOC.

For racial and ethnic groups, the changes were:

African American, 17.94 percent to 17.97 percent
Latino, 7.90 percent to 7.95 percent
Asian, 5.90 percent to 5.95 percent
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 0.36 percent to 0.38 percent. Continue reading

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5 Things Agencies Must Do To Implement Phased Retirement

5 Things Agencies Must Do To Implement Phased Retirement

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management finally issued regulations implementing a phased retirement option for federal employees. Under the rules, eligible employees will be able to draw half of their retirement annuities while working half time at federal agencies. Employees will be able to begin submitting applications for phased retirement on Nov. 6.

So what has to happen between now and then? OPM has put the ball in the court of individual agencies to provide specific direction on how they will implement the option. This will be the key to the success of this program.

Agencies have a lot of work ahead of them. In their written plans for implementing phased retirement, they must do the following:

  • Identify the types of positions eligible to participate in the option.
  • Set clear criteria for approving or denying an employee’s request to enter phased retirement.
  • Define the requirement in the regulations that those in phased retirement status must spend 20 percent of their 20 hours a week on the job mentoring those coming up in the ranks behind them.
  • Determine if employees entering phased retirement will be required to fully retire at a certain time.
  • Set any restrictions or limitations on phased retirees’ return to full-time federal employment.

(Image via Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com)

 

 
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Travel Per Diems Aren’t Changing in Fiscal 2015

Travel Per Diems Aren’t Changing in Fiscal 2015

Flickr user Jason Kuffer

Government travel per diem rates will not change in fiscal 2015, according to the General Services Administration.

“The standard lodging per diem rate will remain at $83,” according to a notice published in Friday’s Federal Register. “The meals and incidental expense tiers also remain unchanged for fiscal 2014 and range from $46-$71.”

While the standard rates apply to about 2,600 counties, 400 additional “non-standard areas” — or NSAs — receive individual calculations. Feds traveling in more expensive cities receive higher rates of reimbursements. For example, feds heading to Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area currently receive a lodging per diem of between $167 and $224, depending on the time of year, and a $71 per diem for meals and incidental expenses. San Francisco ranges from $189 to $226 for lodging, while lodging rates for New York City and its boroughs fluctuate between $191 and $303 per day. For fiscal 2015, GSA has renamed the Manhattan NSA “New York City” to more accurately reflect that it no longer sets individual rates for Manhattan and the other four boroughs.

Beginning in fiscal 2015, two more locations will move into the NSA category: Kayenta, Ariz., and San Angelo, Texas. GSA is shifting five locations that were NSA in fiscal 2014 to the standard or CONUS (Continental United States) category for fiscal 2015: Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction, Colo.; Lakeville, Conn.; Chesapeake/Suffolk, Va.; Lake Geneva, Wis.; and Sheridan, Wyo.

The fiscal 2015 per diem rates and other changes take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

GSA establishes per diem rates for lodging, meals and incidental expenses in the continental United States. A standard per diem is applied in locations less commonly traveled by federal workers, while nonstandard areas frequently visited are granted individual rates based on the average daily industry rate.

Federal employees received a slight increase in rates in fiscal 2014 after GSA froze fiscal 2013 travel reimbursement rates for lodging and other related expenses at fiscal 2012 levels. The freeze was part of the Office of Management and Budget’s directive to agencies to reduce all travel spending in fiscal 2013 by 30 percent compared to fiscal 2010.

(Image via Flickr user Jason Kuffer)

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