NWS Quality of Work Life Team Commends NWSEO Fair Pay efforts for ASAs
(May 7, 2010) The NWS Quality of Work Life Team commends NWSEO on their efforts to secure fair pay for ASAs and acknowledges the difficulty of retaining quality ASAs when other agencies pay more money for similar work. The acknowledgement was written in a letter to the National Labor Council and the Workforce Human Capital Committee of the NWS Corporate Board.
The work of NWSEO and NWS ASAs brought this issue to light. NWSEO sent a request to NOAA Deputy Undersecretary Mary Glackin requesting a review of ASA grades after several conversations with various NOAA and NWS management officials on the subject. “ASAs essentially do the work and have the responsibilities of much higher graded positions such as budgeting and property management, but they are not getting the proper pay because an MIC signs a paper saying the work is correct. Other agencies do not have this inherent unfairness and many NWS ASAs are leaving to work at those agencies,” stated NWSEO President Sobien.
NOAA has been in contact with the NWSEO about doing an informal desk audit to identify the problems. The NWS Quality of Work Life team has offered to assist in the audit. “This audit is a good first step,” stated Sobien. “Hopefully the process can be expedited so we don’t lose any more NWS employees.” The NWSEO submitted the names of several NWSEO brothers and sisters who are ASAs to assist in the audit.
The audit is the result of a grass root effort by NWSEO members who are ASAs. “The ASAs got together and pushed an issue that was not on the radar,” stated Sobien. “At the annual NWSEO convention, the ASAs sent a representative who presented each union officer with a 3-inch thick document that conclusively shows the discrimination. I am very proud of how they organized to push the issue. It is proof of the power employees have when they organize and speak with one voice.”
Federal Employees to Receive Retirement Credit in for Unused Sick Leave
Federal employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System will receive credit for their unused sick leave in their retirement calculations. President Barack Obama signed the provision, which is part of the 2010 Defense Authorization Act, into law last week.
Under the measure, which takes effect immediately, employees who retire before January 1, 2014 will receive half of their banked sick leave. Those who retire after January 1, 2014 will receive 100 percent of their unused leave credited toward their annuities. Be aware, the law credits only those employees who take an immediate annuity. Employees who retire now but delay benefits until years later, under a deferred or delayed retirement, will not get credit for unused sick leave.
The OPM estimates that employees taking excessive sick leave cost the government $68 million a year in lost productivity. Many long term FERS employees take excessive leave late in their careers to take advantage of the benefit. The change gives employees a monetary incentive to bank their sick leave and this, in turn, may increase employee attendance and productivity.