Resources for HHS Employees
HHS is implementing the FSIP decision but that doesn’t mean employees are at the complete mercy of management. Below are guides that outline the agency’s ongoing obligations and provide tips for employees to secure fair treatment. More guides will be posted soon on topics like telework and leave.
NTEU Scores Telework Win for OMHA Employees
NTEU just notched another victory against HHS' premature implementation of an incomplete contract on its workforce. A neutral arbitrator sustained the grievances of four Attorney Advisors in the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) whose requests for a fourth day of telework were denied.
HHS tried to argue that the terms imposed by the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) did not allow for four days of telework. NTEU countered that the 2010 contract is still in place until negotiations are completed on the remaining six contract articles. The arbitrator agreed with NTEU and clarified that there are no restrictions on granting a fourth day of telework.
The grievance arose when four Attorney Advisors in OMHA Miami were denied a fourth day of telework by their second-level supervisor, the Hearing Officer Director. In preparation for moving to a smaller office space, OMHA and NTEU negotiated a 2014 agreement to expand telework in exchange for employees giving up private office space. After the relocation, the employees requested a fourth day of telework and were blanket denied by the Hearing Officer Director without an assessment. An arbitrator ruled that HHS violated the contract and remanded the requests for a fourth telework day to the employees' immediate supervisors for a decision.
This win is yet another message to HHS that it needs negotiate a fair agreement in good faith and, until then, follow the terms of the 2010 contract.
NTEU Proposes Remedy for Illegal Contract Implementation
Earlier today, NTEU submitted a comprehensive proposal to HHS to remedy the agency’s illegal implementation of an incomplete contract.
This comes after an arbitrator ruled that HHS violated the law by rushing to impose 19 new contract articles proposed by management while negotiations on six other articles were ongoing. The arbitrator sided with the union and gave NTEU and HHS 90 days to agree on a remedy for the harm done to employees when HHS prematurely implemented provisions contained in the FSIP decision.
NTEU's 23-page "non-exhaustive" list of remedies would require HHS to cease and desist from violating the 2010 contract and restore the workplace to how things were before the agency imposed the FSIP language. For example, NTEU proposed that HHS reimburse employees for any use-or-lose leave forfeited because the agency illegally denied leave during the holidays.
NTEU will pursue another hearing on remedies if an agreement can't be reached within 90 days of the arbitrator's decision.
Guide to Renewing Your Telework Schedule - Language imposed by the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) requires HHS employees to renew their telework agreement every six months. NTEU has put together some guidance for HHS employees on renewing, and what to do if your request is denied.
Guide to Performance Plans (One-Pager) - Despite HHS’ efforts to eliminate contract language in this area, management doesn't have carte blanche. This guide explains the agency's obligation to establish and communicate performance standards to employees before they may be held accountable for the standards.
Guide to Your Performance Appraisal (One-Pager) - Dissatisfied with your performance appraisal rating? This guide outlines basic rules the agency must follow and your right to challenge an unfair rating.
Guide to Managing Performance During the Appraisal Period (One-Pager) - This guide outlines employees’ entitlement to performance feedback and provides tips to help ensure fair ratings at the end of the rating period.