NFFE Rolls Heavy at Fiscal Year End with Legislation to Fight the Effects of COVID and the Payroll Tax Scam
NFFE finished the fiscal year strong by moving a heavy load of legislation designed to minimize the effects of the payroll tax scam and help federal workers and their families during the pandemic. 2020 is a year of unique problems that require unique solutions. Recent highlights:
- A provision to protect firefighters, police and others from removal of their retirement status if injured because of COVID. This is a NFFE-led provision, one of only two federal worker provisions in the HEROES stimulus bill. This language is critical to setting legislative precedent for a permanent fix in the future to prevent first responders from losing “6c” retirement status if injured.
- A draft bill protects federal employee security clearances related to the Trump Payroll Tax Scam. If any feds get caught up in tax debt because of the tax scam, any tax delinquency cannot be used to deny eligibility or suspend or revoke a clearance. This is critical for NFFE-IAM DoD members.
- Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act. Senator Tester (D-MT) introduced a companion bill to a bipartisan House bill to let firefighters swap shifts beyond a pay period without losing pay or overtime. NFFE helped to write this legislation.
- A bill is in draft form to require federal employee consent prior to changing tax withholding status. This would limit individual financial damage from the tax scam this year and early next year.
- New bills in the Senate (S. 4777) and House (H.R. 8457) aim to protect annual leave balances during health emergencies to prevent leave loss. NFFE worked with Sen. Hirono to craft the bill.
- A bill passed the House this week to honor a federal employee who died of COVID, requiring federal agencies to provide information to employees, and requires plans and protective equipment. NFFE provided information and support for the technical aspects of the bill.
- NFFE teamed with Senators Lankford (R-OK) and Van Hollen (D-MD) to introduce a bill to maximize telework for all employees and provide funding to modernize telework at agencies.
These congressional initiatives are in addition to our continuing and longstanding fights to increase pay, benefits, and workplace protections. Also in play are NFFE immediate priorities which include supporting VA employees during COVID, demanding enhanced pay at New York and New Jersey VA Medical Centers, stopping the transfer of work from Red River Army Depot, fixing Paid Parental Leave for FAA and VA Title 38 employees, providing assistance to federal families during COVID, preventing anti-labor appointments, and more.