From AFSE Grievance Committee Chair, Lynn Malarz:
Colleagues: On behalf of the AFSE Grievance Committee, I want to express my enthusiasm over an important AFSE Grievance win.
Background: NEA management was tardy in processing the TCA (overnight travel allowance) voucher submitted by an AFSE member. Your colleague submitted the TCA voucher on November 15, 2017. On December 19, 2017, he was told that Human Resources did not have any record of the TCA being submitted; however, the AFSE colleague presented evidence from his records that said voucher was submitted on the November 15, 2017. He was then told that even though management could sign the TCA promptly, he would not receive payment until the January 5, 2018 payroll. Specifically he was told by HR that they had already completed the 12/21/17 payroll and were currently processing 01/05/18. It stands without reason that the AFSE member’s voucher was not processed and paid within the contractual timelines. Vouchers are to be processed and paid within twelve (12) working days of receipt at NEA headquarters, as outlined in the AFSE contract. If the TCA payment is not received until January 5, 2018, it will be approximately thirty (30) working days after receipt of the TCA voucher before Mr. Conlon will be reimbursed.
Remedy sought: 1) That the TCA voucher be processed and paid in accordance with the AFSE contract; and, 2) that the AFSE member be reimbursed for any charges/credit damages incurred as a result of NEA’s failure to process and pay the TCA voucher within 12 days.
Importance of grievance: TCA’s are in a grey area in the AFSE contract. Unlike travel vouchers, the contract does not specifically address the NEA payment timelines for TCA’s; however, we argued that it is a voucher like any other voucher and thus, should be paid within the voucher contractual timelines. Further, we argued that if payment would have occurred in 2017, the AFSE member would not have incurred a social security tax liability, a liability that was deducted from the TCA payment. The social security tax liability was the amount that we argued was owed to the AFSE member.
Grievance award: NEA after much haggling and the fact that we could produce the paper trail to back up the claim that the voucher was submitted on 11/15/17, NEA capitulated and the AFSE member will be receiving a check for the social security tax liability amount deducted from the TCA payment.
Lessons learned: From this grievance, the committee wants all of AFSE to be especially aware of the following:
1. Always keep a reliable paper trail of what you submit to C4O vouchers.
2. Always copy yourself when you submit vouchers. (FTI – I send a copy of the email to myself at my personal email which, isn’t deleted in 90 days).
3. We highly recommend that you submit your TCA voucher on its own email – don’t add it to the same email with other travel voucher attachments.
Remember, your Stewards and grievance committee members are here for you. Be vigilant, know your contract and always let us know when you have questions.