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Military Outreach for Service > Chapters > Announcements > Rules for IRS Employee Organizations  

Announcements: Rules for IRS Employee Organizations

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Rules for IRS Employee Organizations 

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IRS Policy "Employee Organization Policy" dated 24-OCT-2006, Title 5, Part 251 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and Presidential Executive Order 11491 spell out the rules and regulations of officially recognized federal employee affinity organizations. (See also the 2004 guidance memo and policy from the Office of Personnel Management.)
 
Chapters are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these rules and regulations so as to not abuse the special relationship MOS-IRS has with the Internal Revenue Service. The rules are summarized below.
 
  1. Support:
    1. Facilities: (Group 1 & 2) Employee organizations may use Service premises for meetings or activities in accordance with local office policy, procedure, and building regulations, provided such use will not interfere with or result in higher costs of Government operations.

    2. Use of Interoffice Mail, Official Bulletin Boards, Electronic/Voice Mail, and the Internet: (Group 1 & 2) The IRS retains the right to remove, destroy, or delete material that, in the judgment of the Service, undermines the efficient and effective operation of the Service. Organizations must comply with local rules and procedures as well as Government wide rules and procedures controlling the posting of notices and other material on Government property.

      Employee organizations may use interoffice mail to communicate with their membership only upon approval by Workforce Relations Division for Service-wide communications, by heads of individual business units for distribution within a particular business unit, or in the case of local, cross-functional mailings, the Senior Commissioner’s Representative. Approval shall be granted only when the mailings do not impede official business, such as when the mailing’s regularity and volume do not result in significant expense or diminish the efficiency of interoffice mail for official business.
      Employee organizations may use official bulletin boards after posting material has been approved by the SCR or their designee. SCRs must decline to post messages that may violate law, subject the Service to liability, improperly imply endorsement of the organization or its views, or that may otherwise undermine the effective or efficient operation of the IRS.

      Employee organizations may use electronic and/or voice mail to communicate with their membership without prior approval, subject to the following limitations. Electronic mail message size may not exceed 20 kilobytes (2½ pages) including attachments. Voice mail messages may consist of a single part only (no multiple page messages will be allowed). Employee organizations may not use electronic or voice mail to solicit members or communicate with non-member employees. The privacy and confidentiality of employee organization information and materials distributed or received by employees via IRS electronic information delivery systems are disclaimed. Employee organizations may use the Internet to establish websites on the IRWEB page. Each organization may have one main web page set up for the national chapter with individual chapters having the ability to add-on to that web page. Any requests to establish or modify a web page must be sent to the MITS Web Services Program Office.
      NOTE: Information on establishing or modifying a web page can be found at:
      http://ws.web.irs.gov/WebReg/Register/Default.asp
      NOTE: See the "IRS Policy on Limited Personal Use of Government Information Technology Equipment/Resources" which can be found on the IRWeb at:

      http://nhq.no.irs.gov/dcos/policy/Internetpolicyfinalr122004.htm

      Workforce Relations Division will provide advice and assistance for any unresolved issues.

    3. Use of IRS Newsletters: (Group 1 & 2) Employee organizations may submit articles for publication subject to local editorial standards. In addition, articles will be edited and approved according to local editorial standards as any other article submitted for publication. IRS may print a disclaimer in publications, such as: "The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Internal Revenue Service". Articles published will inform, not solicit membership.

      Newsletter staff should decline to publish articles that might violate law, subject the IRS to liability, improperly imply Service endorsement of the organization or its views, or that might otherwise undermine the effective or efficient operation of the Service.

    4. Use of Government Supplies, Services and Equipment: (Group 1 & 2) Any use of government supplies, services and equipment must abide by agency policy and regulations. There are instances where it is appropriate to provide support to employee organizations in the form of use of the Service's supplies, services, or equipment, but only when such actions would be beneficial to the Service's mission. For example, the Service, in appropriate cases, could permit employees to use equipment or administrative support services for preparing papers to be presented at conferences if there is a direct benefit to the Service in promoting such presentations. Supervisors should not authorize the use of Government postage paid mail (of all types), facsimile and photocopy machines, paper, etc. to further the interests of internal employee organization business.

    5. Attendance at Conferences, and Training Events: (Group 1 Only) In appropriate circumstances, the Service will support or sponsor employee attendance at an employee organization conference or training seminar either as part of their IRS official duties, or as out-service training.
      1. Attendance by Virtue of Official Position: For officials and employees attending Employee Organization conferences or training events in an official capacity, (by virtue of their official position), IRS will fund travel, per diem, and any applicable conference fees and expenses. Such funding will be provided where an employee or official is invited to speak or make a presentation in connection with his/her official IRS position, or where the employee's official IRS program responsibilities dictate attendance (e.g., an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) official, Human Resources (HR) official, or IRS recruitment community outreach liaison). Such attendance constitutes a normal business and travel expense and should not be charged as a training expense.
      2. Out-Service Training: Where the conference, convention, seminar, or meeting of the Employee Organization is approved in advance, according to agency procedures, as an out-service training event, the IRS will make available a limited amount of training funds to support the attendance of employees. In this regard, identified office heads may expend up to, but may not exceed, a percentage set by the Director, Learning and Education, Human Capital Office. Actual funding in support of attendance, however, will depend upon demonstration by the sponsoring Employee Organization that the conference will provide training to enhance an employee’s ability to perform his/her official duties or prepare them for other career opportunities.
      3. Non-Official Attendance and Attendance as a Trainee: While there is no "entitlement" for employees to attend conferences on official duty time, approval to attend conferences will be at the manager’s discretion. For employees who are not attending in an official capacity and are not approved to receive travel and per diem, voluntary attendance at approved conferences on official duty time may be considered on a case by case basis by the manager. Otherwise, an employee may request annual leave or leave without pay (LWOP) to attend. Managers should consult their business unit leadership if they have questions regarding the applicability of these guidelines to either themselves or to their employees. Executives should consult their appropriate Deputy Commissioner concerning their own attendance or to address questions specific to their office.

    6. Reimbursement of Travel and Per Diem Expenses: (Group 1 Only) Travel and per diem expenses will be paid when the employee is traveling on official duty. Heads of business units or individuals delegated authority by them have the discretion to determine who attends in an official duty capacity and the duration of that attendance. This would include those who are serving as speakers or instructors at the training conferences as well as those whose program responsibilities would dictate attendance. Employees with out-service training approvals attend in an official duty capacity.
      NOTE: For further information see memo on "National Training Conferences for Recognized Employee Organizations which can be found at:
      http://hco.web.irs.gov/devtrain/training/servlearn/trainconf.html.

  2. Consultation: Subject to applicable law, the Internal Revenue Service may, in its discretion, consult with an organization that complies with this policy on any matter of mutual interest.

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Content Type: Announcement
Created at 1/10/2010 10:15 AM  by D.W. Heiser 
Last modified at 1/19/2010 8:12 PM  by D.W. Heiser