As a reminder, you can contact POPA at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns about COVID-19 issues or any other work issues.
Patent examiners on ad hoc PTP-10 and PTP-20 should have received emails from Andy Faile and the "Patent Telework Questions" email box about receiving a USPTO monitor to use at your telework worksite. If not, please contact PatentTeleworkQuestions@uspto.gov mailbox (you need to do this on your UL).
POPA has asked management to provide printers to employees. This will require close to 3,000 printers which the office does not have available at this time to send to examiners. We will continue to ask for these printers.
An email was sent out this afternoon from Drew Hirshfeld authorizing up to 8 hours of non-production time per biweek for ad hoc, PTP-10, and PTP-20 until further notice as long as you are teleworking without an external monitor.
The remainder of this email concerns Dependent Care and leave under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Dependent Care and leave under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
POPA has received many questions regarding the dependent care and leave under FFCRA mentioned in Laura Peter's email April 9, 2020. Please note these are 2 diffferent types of leave. Both types of leave are applicable to all employees in the agency.
- Excused leave of up to 20 hours per biweek can be used for dependent care the reasons delineated in the email if you can't work or telework
- Excused leave is administrative leave and is paid leave (at your regular pay rate like annual or sick leave). Many people were asking about this because they weren't clear what excused leave meant.
- Excused leave and overtime, compensatory time or non-IFP credit hours can't be claimed in same biweek. You will have to make a choice.
- Excused leave needs to be requested in advance as you would any other leave.
- If you took leave or LWOP starting March 23 (Alexandria, Detroit, and Dallas), March 16 (San Jose) or March 19 (Denver) for dependent care purposes, you can subsitute excused leave for that leave (up to 20 hours per biweek). Talk to your supervisor to change your timesheet. NOTE: If you claimed the 8 hours of admin time permitted by Drew Hirshfeld for the last biweek, that time counts against the 20 hour limit per biweek.
Leave under FFCRA (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act)
- This leave is a new category of sick leave seperate from your accrued sick leave.
- 80 hours of this leave is available April 1, 2020 until December 31, 2020 (pro-rated for part time employees).
- Currently, implementation guidance (including time codes) is not available but the agency is allowing employees to take leave (including advanced sick leave or LWOP) and then correct their timesheets once the new time code is available. IMPORTANT: make it clear to your supervisor and include a note in the remarks session of your WebTA that this leave is being used under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
- This leave is available as follows:
- 100% of regular pay rate up to $511 daily (8 hours) and $5,110 (80 hours) for quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; self-quarantine as advised by health care provider or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis.
- 2/3 of regular pay rate up to $200 daily (8 hours) and $2,000 (80 hours) for caring for a person under quarantine or self-quarantine as discussed in a. or experiencing any substantially similar to COVID-19 condition specified by HHS.
- 2/3 of the higher of regular pay rate or state/Federal minimum wage for caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons.
- See POPA's email from 4/1/2020 with more information on this leave.
- Excused leave under dependent care is paid at 100% of your current pay rate and available now. You would probably want to use that leave if you have a qualifying situation.
- Under FFCRA, be aware of the caps on the amount that can be paid for leave. Your hourly pay rate for your grade can be found on the overtime charts on our website.
- If you are taking leave under FFCRA which pays at the 2/3 rate, check your pay rate as discussed above and consider taking LWOP until the correct time codes are available. This way you will not have to pay back money to the government. Why would you have to pay back money? If you used sick leave (which is paid at your current pay rate), then when this leave is subsituted for your regular sick leave you will owe the government the difference between your current pay rate and the 2/3 rate calculated.
- Leave under the FFCRA (Emergency Sick Paid Leave Act) is available until December 31, 2020. You may want to consider waiting until the time codes become available and use the leave at that time.