IRS Employee Emergency News - Coronavirus FAQs

 

These FAQs are provided for employees who are temporarily unable to access the IRS network. If your office is closed and you don’t have authorized access to an IRS network-connected computer during that closure, contact your manager for information and to request Weather and Safety leave.

Leave
Telework
New Hires

General Information

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help you cope with any stress or anxiety you may have concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. EAP services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week anywhere from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. For more information visit www.GuidanceResources.com. First-time users enter IRS112.  

The GuidanceResources® Online site includes articles, podcasts, videos, and slideshows. There is also an "Ask a Guidance Consultant" section for personal responses to your questions.

To download the app to your cell phone:

  • Search GuidanceResources (one word)
  • Install GuidanceResources® Now
  • Tap Member Resources and enter your username and password

HCO also has a special presentation available to read or download on the IRS Source COVID-19 page called Coping with Uncertainty About the Coronavirus (PDF).

Additionally, the CDC has a Manage Anxiety & Stress page which includes information and resources to cope with stress and anxiety during this time.

All email reports will be accepted and manually entered into the SAMC system as time permits. To expediate the reporting process all employees are encouraged to enter their reports directly into the SAMC system. Also, below is an excerpt from our IRM 10.2.8 Incident Reporting that clearly states the different ways an incident can be reported which includes email. 

Incident Reporting Form (SAMC website portal) at:

Yes, with their manager’s approval, employees may re-enter the building to pick up work, materials, or process mail.

Unless you are directed by your supervisor, we strongly encourage you not to work in your assigned POD, but rather stay in the safety of your home or alternate location. See National Agreement Article 50, Section 7(C) and IRM 6.800.2.4.7 (4).

Although normal office operations are temporarily suspended, buildings remain open, unless closed for cleaning or facility issues.  However, closed buildings should only be accessed on an as-needed basis. If absolutely required, employees should enter the building, generally, at the beginning of, or during their tours of duty. Weekend/after-hours access procedures may be in place. If you need to get into a closed location and cannot, please contact your manager first. 

FMSS is responsible for ensuring access is available. If access still cannot be provided after approved by your manager, contact the servicing FMSS Security Section Chief for assistance.

Enrollment is mandatory for Non-Bargaining Unit employees  and highly  encouraged for  Bargaining Unit employees to enroll in the Emergency AtHoc System to receive Agency updates. Contact your manager for information on setting up an AtHoc profile.

BlackBerry AtHoc is a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (*FedRAMP) certified notification tool used by many federal government agencies including the Department of Defense (DOD). FedRAMP requirements include additional controls above the already strict NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) baseline controls governing information security requirements for federal agencies. These additional controls address the unique elements of this system to ensure all federal data is secure. For more information about FedRAMP please visit www.fedramp.gov.

*FedRAMP is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country at this difficult time, we are not able to simply shut down our operations. For mission-critical operations that require people to be in a campus or office work setting, we will be immediately reducing staffing by approximately 50 percent to enhance social distancing. Where appropriate, employees who are not telework eligible will be placed on Weather and Safety leave.

Employees should coordinate with their managers to ensure they remain as productive as possible. In cases where the manager does not have work to assign an evacuated employee, the manager may provide weather and safety leave to that employee for the affected hours. Weather and safety leave for this purpose is posted to Weather and Safety leave OFP Code 990-59514.

Leave

Submit Form 10837, Request for Weather and Safety Leave Due to Emergency Conditions (PDF), or other documentation, per the National Agreement, Article 36, subsection 15.B. (for bargaining unit employees) and per Interim Guidance Memorandum HCO-06-0118-2018, Weather and Safety Leave (for non-bargaining unit employees). Weather and safety leave may be granted on a case-by-case basis, and if approved, is posted in SETR to OFP code 990-59513, Office Open, Cannot Safely Report.

Yes, Weather and Safety leave is paid leave that may only be granted when an employee is prevented from safely traveling to or safely performing work at an approved location, including a telework location.

Yes, those populations who the CDC has identified as being at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 (see CDC High Risk Complications) and CDC Special Populations may request weather and safety leave if they are not eligible to telework and their condition prevents them from safely traveling to or performing work in the office.

There is no limit on the amount of weather and safety leave that can be provided (subject to appropriate guidelines and eligibility requirements).

There is an 80-hour per calendar year administrative leave limitation for full-time employees (prorated for part-time employees). This limitation is statutory. (Administrative Leave Act of 2016 (5 USC Section 6329a)).

Telework

No, ERAP is an account-based remote access solution required for use in conjunction with AnyConnect.  To telework, the user ERAP account needs to be established by AT&T, and the AnyConnect application loaded on their laptop. The process to obtain the ERAP account is below.

The employee or the employee's manager will need to request ERAP account access by using the OL5081 application by following the steps below.

  • Choose the application, "ERAP PRODUCTION (ERAP)"
  • Manager receives and approves the request
  • ERAP PMO receives and approves the request
  • OL5081 combines all ERAP requests and sends to AT&T IRS ERAP team for approval
  • AT&T creates ERAP accounts, and the OL5081 system is updated (important, once created the employee can access the system)

The employee will receive an email notification from the OL5081 system that their account has been created. The employee's' manager may also verify this in the OL5081 system at any time, but will not receive an email notification on the employee's behalf.

The employee will need to access the OL5081 system to sign the System Security Rules and acknowledge the account acceptance within 45 days. However, the employee may access ERAP before signing the System Security Rules.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ERAP PMO is expediting approvals on a consistent basis. During this time, user accounts will typically be approved by the next business day after the ERAP PMO approves the request. As stated in step 6 above, the manager may check OL5081 for verification. 

The day following the ERAP PMO approval, employees may try to access ERAP and AnyConnect before or after the manager confirms from OL5081 that the account is created and ready to be accessed.

See the TIPS for ERAP first time users for more information. If the Cisco AnyConnect application is not installed on the laptop, contact the Enterprise Service Desk at 866-743-5748, option 2.   

ERAP approval notes: 

During the evacuation order, a Telework Agreement is not required to request ERAP.
Once the employee is granted ERAP access they must access the OL5081 system to sign the System Security Rules and acknowledge the account acceptance within 45 days. (Users have up to 45 days to acknowledge receipt of the OL5081 notice before the access is deleted.)
IT will facilitate OL5081 ERAP requests for Customer Service Representatives (CSR) employees only scheduled to become telework ready. Do not enter a separate request.

Hotspots will not be issued for telework internet access. Employees who receive laptops to telework must have internet access at their telework location. Please refer to the IT Advisory for more details.

As you normally would if you have an IT problem, please visit OS GetServices or call the Enterprise Service Desk at 866-743-5748, option 2. If you have network access you may also use Web Chat to seek technical assistance.

Employees may use certain categories of their own personal equipment for home offices. However, personally owned printers are not approved for use with your government computer. Refer to the personally-owned equipment guidance for approved workstation peripherals.

No. The loaner laptop program is suspended. The loaner laptop program has limited availability and does not support COVID-19-related telework. IT is working with business unit leadership to identify priorities such as Customer Service Representative (CSR) telework and other personnel who need laptops distributed to them as supplies allow.

Yes, until further notice employees have the option to take their office IT equipment (excluding desktop computers) to their home for use while teleworking.

  • The employee should work with their manager regarding the items they wish to remove or take to their home.
  • The employee’s manager should maintain an inventory list of removed IRS property with any associated barcodes.
  • The employee is responsible for transportation of the items to their home and back to the office.

EXCEPTION: IRS issued desktop video phones cannot be taken to employees’ homes. The IRS issued desktop video phones will function only at IRS PODs.  However, employees can request the video enabled soft phone configuration to be loaded on their laptops, through the KISAM Incident/Request System. 

Note: Prior to returning equipment, i.e., reasonable accommodation chairs, should be cleaned and wiped with an EPA-approved disinfectant before bringing in back to the office.

Your business unit is working with IT to identify employees that may become telework eligible, please wait for management to contact you.

If you use a shared workstation or desktop and expect to be made telework eligible, please be proactive and perform a daily backup to the network “I Drive,” or to a removable, portable device so you will have your data if needed later.

New Hires

For Virtual Orientation, badges will not be issued until the new hire is able to return to the office.

  • HCO will send Form 13716, Request for ID Card and/or Access Card for IRS Employees, directly to the managers for signing.
  • Managers will send the completed signed form to the ICAM mailbox *FMSS ICAM SmartID.
  • ICAM will route the completed forms to the appropriate credentialing station. 

Credential Offices are open for mission critical services by appointment. Our strategy is to conduct minimum activities to provide access.

In office: Provisioning by appointment only. Contact your manager for information about finding a credentialing station.