Vaccine mandate announced for federal employees

Update: NBPC posted an update here.

By now, most of you have likely heard of the news regarding a vaccine mandate announced today by President Biden.

He has signed an executive order mandating all executive branch federal employees to get vaccinated. The White House will provide more specific details within seven days, so until then, we do not have any other information about how this might be rolled out to the workforce.

The agency will have to account for medical and religious exemptions, and it is unknown how those who previously had COVID-19 will be affected.

As soon as more information becomes available, we will let you know.

Night differential on military leave

If you have gone on military leave and normally work hours that earn night differential pay, double-check your T&As to ensure that you received night differential on your military leave days.

The union has been contacted by members who should have but did not receive their night differential, so we have raised the issue with the station in question and Del Rio Sector. The agency will be reviewing T&As, but if you know or believe you were affected by this, notify your supervisor and a union rep so it can be investigated.

Outside employment requests – no, you don’t need a memo

For many years, Del Rio Sector stations have intermittently required employees to submit a memo when requesting permission to engage in outside employment. However, the only thing you need to fill out is a Form 3031, which you can find on the intranet at work.

Federal regulations require us to get permission before engaging in outside employment or certain activities, so the agency can determine if the employment or activity is a conflict of interest with our jobs or the agency’s mission.

Employees need to submit the form at least 14 calendar days before they want to start the new employment/activity. Pursuant to Article 10 of the CBA, the agency must respond as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days after receiving the Form 3031. Since the routing process can be slow, we recommend submitting the form as early as possible.

Because old versions of the outside employment guidance are still floating around, your supervisor might tell you to submit a memo and the Form 3031. If that’s the case, refer your supervisor to Article 10 of the CBA or Del Rio Sector. Contact your local union rep if you have any problems.

OWCP now accepts antigen test on its own

On August 18, 2021, DOL released FECA Bulletin 21-10, which describes the procedures for handling COVID-19 claims involving an antigen test; antigen test is the rapid test you typically see at a CVS or Walgreens.

Previously, DOL required employees to provide additional medical evidence along with a positive antigen test, but that caused problems because employees and supervisors didn’t know or the doctor didn’t provide sufficient notes. Now, all they need is the positive antigen test.

You can view the bulletin here for more information.