In this update: POPA Executive Committee Election, Pay Raise Update, and the Metro Shutdown.
Metro Shutdown (for Washington, D.C. area) - Updated
We are working with management to get more information out to employees regarding the Metro shutdown this summer. We are looking at what WMATA is providing for work around as well as what the USPTO can do for employees.Shutdown details from the Alexandria Times.
Update: Last Friday, May 17, the Agency sent a couple of emails to employees regarding the Metro shutdown scheduled to begin May 25.
For flexibilities available to POPA-covered employees, please see the entire agreement.
Here is a summary of the telework flexibilities available to POPA-covered employees (sections 9 and 10 from the agreement):
Telework Flexibilities for Patent Examiners and others in Patents: Additional telework opportunities will be provided to employees affected by the closure as described below:
a. PTP 10 participants will be allowed to telework up to 20 hours per bi- week.Employees may use these hours to work full or partial days (split between the Alexandria Headquarters and the alternate work site) at the alternate work site.
b. PTP 20 participants with equipment will be allowed to telework up to 40 hoursper bi-week . Employees may use these hours to work full or partial days (splitbetween the Alexandria Headquarters and the alternate work site) at thealternate work site.
c. PTP 32 participants will be allowed additional telework up to 80 hours per bi-week.Compensatory time and credit hours worked at the alternate worksite will not count towards the 32 hour cap. If the agreement ends in the middle of a biweek,participants will be permitted to telework up to 32 hours during the remainder of the biweek.
d. Program B participants may be allowed to telework additional days and/or hours.Employees may use the additional telework time to work full or partial days (split between Alexandria Headquarters and the alternate work site) at the alternate worksite.
Except as noted in paragraph c. above regarding PTP 32, individual programs' rules regarding overtime and compensatory time will remain in effect.
Telework Flexibilities for Other POPA-covered Employees:
Each component of the Agency must maintain service to both internal and external customers. Additional telework opportunities listed below may be revoked by the Agency if it determines that the level of service provided has diminished due to additional telework provided in accordance with this agreement.
Participants in programs that allow extra telework may be required to adjusttelework days based on office needs, with advanced notice at least the day before.
• OCIO: Teleworking Employees in the OCIO may select an additional dayas a routine day for telework. This day must be the same day each weekand, as with the current telework days, may only be changed withsupervisory approval. For example: Current 1 telework day/week mayincrease to 2 days/week; Current 2 telework days/week may increase to 3days/week; Current situational telework may increase to, but not exceed,1 routine telework day/week total.
• OCFO: Employees may request additional days under the existingtelework programs, but participants are already allowed to telework to theextent that the needs of the office permit.
• PTAB: Flexibility within current program to add days with supervisoryapproval.
• OPIA: Flexibility within current program to add days with supervisoryapproval.
• OGC: Flexibility within current program to add days with supervisoryapproval.
POPA Executive Committee Election
Last week, POPA’s executive committee elected officers for the vacancies that occurred when Pam Schwartz retired. The current POPA officers are:
President – Kathleen Duda
Vice President – Patricia Duffy
Secretary – Gerald Ewoldt
Assistant Secretary – Nathan Hillery
Treasurer – David Reip
As many of you know, a 1.9% pay raise (1.4% basic pay and 0.5% locality pay) for federal workers has been approved by Congress. It is currently awaiting implementation by the White House including having the President issue an executive order for the pay raise to go into effect and having Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) update General Schedule (GS) pay tables. It is hoped that this will be accomplished soon. For patent examiners on the special pay rate, the pay raise will be 1.4%.
The longer it takes to get the updated 2019 pay tables, the more issues that will occur to ensure that employees’ salaries are properly updated. Employees who have not had a personnel action such as promotion, WGI, award or similar actions since the effective date of the pay adjustment, January 6, 2019, will see the pay increase rather quickly once the update pay tables are published. Many employees have had personnel actions processed during this time and those will need to be corrected and reentered to reflect the updated salaries. There are over 3000 personnel actions that will need to be reentered and it is expected this will take 3-6 pay periods (and will increase the longer it takes to get the pay raise into effect).
There are some things employees need to be aware of in regards to this pay raise. It is retroactive. This could cause some problems for employees especially as the time when it is implemented keeps getting extended. What problems? Many employees have worked overtime in addition to their regular hours. When the pay raise is enacted, the pay will increase for both regular and overtime hours worked. The salary caps will also go up, but there is a slight chance that employees could go over the biweekly limit on premium pay. This could lead to some employees potentially not getting the full benefit for the increase on hours that they worked before the effective date of the pay raise. We are working with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to ensure that this issue is mitigated as much as it can be. We want employees to be aware of this situation so that you can consider how many hours of overtime you are working until the pay raise goes into effect and the new pay tables are published.
We are still taking comments on the ETA, CPC routing and PAP changes. Please send those comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.