Greetings fellow NASCOE Members
- This is your NASCOE President, Brandon Wilson coming to you from the farm where I’ve been using a little annual leave to help with harvest.
- Things are definitely crazy around here… we are harvesting soybeans and corn. Also, we are planting wheat and moving cattle around.
- Busy is good and I wouldn’t trade this mini-vacation for nothing.
And speaking of annual leave, we know many of you haven’t been able to take leave this year since you’ve been busy administering important programs such as: MFP2, ARC/PLC, Disaster Programs (such as WHIP, ECP, ELAP, LFP AND LIP) and acreage reporting.
- MOST important however, has been your work on administering CFAP 1 & CFAP 2 during the national health emergency.
- This unexpected work was (and is) being administered in a very quick fashion because of your tireless efforts and extra time spent at work. -your farmers and ranchers appreciate your efforts very much – and they thank you.
In addition, we’ve heard from many of you about the inability to use leave because of your dedicated time at work to administer these programs which are critical to the citizens of the United States.
- The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) realizes the predicament Federal employees face with use or lose leave.
- OPM has determined that a new benefit may apply to Federal employees who helped our nation during the national health emergency. Agencies (such as USDA) can decide to allow some employees to carry more than 30 days of annual leave into calendar year 2021, provided they were unable to schedule that leave due to their work responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
- If USDA decides to qualify COF employees, like you and me, they will be able participate in a streamlined process for “essential” employees to carry over leave next year. This streamlined process would mean we do not need to schedule leave in advance for it to be considered cancelled.
- While we all agree that carrying over leave is not ideal and can create problems in the long run, we also know that 2020 was an unusual year AND we have earned leave and we have a right to take it.
- NASCOE believes the FSA COF employees should have the opportunity to have this benefit- similar to other Federal employees in other agencies that helped provide relief.
- Furthermore, NASCOE agrees with OPM that agencies must let their employees know soon if they qualify for the leave carry over assistance benefit. Employees would need to know IF their services have been designated as essential during the emergency employees so they can begin planning.
- NASCOE has urged management at USDA to not hesitate in designating FSA COF employees as essential during the health emergency. It is key that they declare our work on COVID-19 relief an “exigency of the public business.” AND that they notify employees soon of this status so that employees can make leave plans.
- Look for an announcement and information to come from FSA management on the status of leave carry over for FSA COF employees. Additional reading on the subject can be found in the link contained in the video in the bottom in description: https://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2020/08/opm-outlines-process-restoring-leave-after-covid/167597/.
I’d like to close by saying “thank you again” for your support of NASCOE. Your support empowers the NASCOE team to make sure that you get the benefits you deserve.
I hope to see you all again very soon. Good night.