In this update: POPA Executive Committee Election, Pay Raise Update, and the Metro Shutdown.
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.
Metro Shutdown (for Washington, D.C. area)
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.
We are still taking comments on the ETA, CPC routing and PAP changes. Please send those comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.