Hispanic Internal Revenue Employees, Inc.

Promoting Career Advancement Through Training and Education

COVID and Other News

Message from the National Board

We hope you are doing well during these unprecedented times we have in dealing with the Coronavirus 2019, better known as COVID 19. We are all facing some sort of change or challenge in our daily lives, whether it is the social distancing and staying in place or have contracted the disease or know of someone who is fighting it.  For those who have been directly affected,  our hearts go out to you and pray for your quick recovery.   As part of the HIRE Family we encourage you to reach out to us with your concerns and we shall try to assist or provide guidance on available resources. You may reach us directly at the emails noted below. You may also reach out to your Area Representative and they will share your concern with us.   

The IRS has been staying on top of COVID 19 by making many changes to help prevent the spread of this pandemic virus.  This includes changes in how we deal with  taxpayers and with IRS personnel to minimize contact while still doing our work.  Please make sure to keep up with the numerous emails sent out by your Business Operating Divisions, including the periodic emails sent by the IRS Commissioner with links to resources available, such as the Employee Assistance Program and the status of business operations.  The IRS Source home page currently has a Climate Pulse Survey open through June 22, 2002, to help ascertain how we are doing. We encourage you to reply since this will help management understand and help address some of our challenges. 

The IRS website also provides much information on current activities affecting our taxpayers.  This includes information on the extended filing due dates, the Economic Impact Payment which provides up to $1,200 as a one-time payment to eligible taxpayers and the Paycheck Protection Program which provides small businesses with funds to pay for up to 8 weeks of payroll costs and benefits for employees. Please continue to review this website for information including new developments. 

Most companies, including many of our sponsors, have also put out a lot of information on what they are doing to help prevent the spread of COVID 19 and to help us navigate during these difficult times. We applaud their efforts and ask that you visit their websites to gain more perspective on what others are doing which may help in our daily lives.

The Internal Revenue Service Centers have been mostly closed for several weeks and unable to process many items such as paper filed returns, including amended returns requesting refunds critical to paying for business operations or personal items, checks that need posting, and other important items.  As we slowly get back to normal it will be a huge task to catch up with all pending items critical to our operations and which affects both internal and external stakeholders.  Other work has been on hold and will also be getting back to normal.  We ask that you keep open lines of communications to understand the new processes and to stay connected with each other and with us so that we know how we can help you.

We would also like to hear from you and learn how you are coping with and overcoming COVID 19 challenges.  We hope things go back to normal sooner rather than later, we wish you well and continued good health, and look forward to hearing from you.  

Warmest Regards,

Sergio Guzman, National President, Sergio.Guzman@irs.gov

Patricia DiDonato, National Vice President, Patricia.Didonato@irs.gov

FACT SHEET: Pay and Benefits Information for Employees Affected by the Lapse in Appropriations



Subject: Fact Sheet: Pay and Benefits Information for Employees Affected by the Lapse in Appropriations

This information covers pay and benefits matters that may be important to employees if the lapse in appropriations continues past payroll processing deadlines.  Payroll deadlines vary from agency to agency, so the actual timing of when an employee’s pay and benefits may be impacted will vary.

This information is only for employees who are:

  • Furloughed (a type of nonpay status), or
  • “Excepted” from furlough (i.e., continuing to work and earn pay, but their pay is delayed until appropriations are authorized).

Employees who are “exempt” from the lapse in appropriations (e.g., because they are not paid from annually appropriated funds) are not impacted.

What you should know:



Furloughed employees: You cannot receive pay during a lapse in appropriations if you are furloughed, and Congress will determine whether you will receive retroactive pay for furlough hours.

Excepted employees: You are entitled to be paid for hours worked, but you cannot receive pay until funding is provided.


Any leave you had previously scheduled during the lapse period is cancelled, so you won’t be charged leave.  In addition, per OPM guidance, if you had properly scheduled “use-or-lose” annual leave that you weren’t able to use because of the lapse in appropriations, that leave must be restored to you.  Your agency will provide instructions on any action you may need to take.

Furloughed employees: You won’t accrue annual and sick leave during the furlough once you’ve been in a nonpay status for 80 hours (for full-time employees with a regular 80-hour biweekly tour of duty).  Congress may, however, authorize retroactive accrual of leave.

Excepted employees: You will continue to accrue leave, but accrued leave will not be available for use until funding is provided.


No retirement deductions will be made if you aren’t receiving pay.  Generally, a period of nonpay status will have no effect on an employee’s retirement-creditable service or high-3 average pay unless the nonpay status is for more than 6 months during the calendar year.


Since no allotments can be made if you’re not receiving pay, you may want to review your allotments to determine whether you’ll need to make alternative arrangements (e.g., if you are using allotments to pay loans, alimony, etc.).


Furloughed employees are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, but excepted employees working on a full-time basis are generally not eligible. Employees who wish to file should do so with the Unemployment Office for the state where the employee worked (i.e., last official duty station prior to furlough).

Please be advised, however, if Congress authorizes retroactive pay for furloughed employees, you would be required to pay back any unemployment benefits you received, in accordance with State law.  For more information see https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/#url=Unemployment-Insurance-Resources and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees website, https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp.


FEHB coverage continues even if you don’t receive a paycheck.  Your share of premiums will accumulate and be withheld later when the lapse ends and employees can be paid.


Your FSAFEDS PAYROLL deductions stop when you don’t receive pay.  You remain enrolled in FSAFEDS, but you can’t be reimbursed for eligible health care claims until you return to pay status and your payroll deductions can be made.  Payroll deductions will be subsequently collected to match your annual election amount.

Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during the lapse in appropriations may be reimbursed up to whatever balance is in your dependent care account—as long as the expense incurred allows you (or your spouse, if married) to work, look for work, or attend school full-time.


Your coverage will continue.  However, if you usually pay your premiums through payroll deduction, and the lapse period is less than three consecutive pay periods, your accumulated premiums will be withheld when the lapse ends and employees can be paid.  Otherwise, Long Term Care Partners will begin to bill you directly for premium payments.  You must pay those bills on a timely basis in order to continue your coverage.


Coverage continues for up to 12 consecutive months of nonpay status, but premiums are collected only for pay periods for which you receive pay.


Your coverage will continue.  However, if the lapse period is less than two consecutive pay periods, your premiums will accumulate and be withheld later when the lapse ends.  If you do not receive pay for two consecutive pay periods, BENEFEDS will begin to bill you directly for premium payments.  You must pay those bills on a timely basis in order to continue your coverage.


For information on the effect of a furlough on your Thrift Savings Plan contributions, loans, and investments, please refer to https://www.tsp.gov/index.html.


Employees enrolled in their agency child care subsidy program should contact their agency HR office for information about payments.


Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services can be helpful in providing confidential counseling with experienced, licensed counselors, and many EAPs can provide access to legal and financial consultation services.  Contact your agency’s EAP office to determine what services might be available to you.


Some mortgage, loan, credit and utility providers have indicated that customers may qualify for alternative arrangements.  Please contact your providers for more information.

Note:  This guidance should not be considered time and attendance instructions.  Guidance on documenting time and attendance will be provided by each agency and payroll provider.