Notice of Proposed Implementation of FDA/ORA Nursing Mother’s Policy

Skeptical baby, "Do you think $18 a pay period is too much?"FDA has provided notice to NTEU of a proposed Nursing Mother’s Policy for FDA/ORA. The policy highlights the agency’s responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide private space and breaks for expressing milk.

According to the policy, employees will be permitted to use facility refrigerators for milk storage or may bring a personal cooler. Additionally, supervisors will be responsible for informing employees about the worksite’s lactation support program and helping facilitate each employee’s infant feeding goals. The policy sets forth that lactating employees may be exempted from domestic and foreign overnight travel for a period of three (3) months after the employee returns to work, or longer where a request for a reasonable accommodation is approved under FMLA.

NTEU has requested a briefing and to bargain this policy.

Please share your questions or concerns about the policy with me as soon as possible.

Senate Appropriations Committee Marks-Up Ag/FDA Appropriations Bill

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the appropriations bill for funding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The House Appropriations Committee has already acted. Floor consideration will be the next action.

The Senate bill reported from Committee this week would give FDA $2.76 billion for salaries and expenses (S&E) for FY 17. This is $39 million more than FY 16 and $29 million more than the President’s Request. The Senate Committee mark is $6 million more than the House Committee mark, with most of the additional funds allocated to food safety.

Food safety activities (CFSAN) are to receive an additional $40 million, reflecting the concern over food safety. Also the Senate Committee allocates $3 million in additional funding for improved foreign high-risk inspections. While this is movement in the right direction, it does not come near to the resources needed to accomplish the important mission of FDA.

NTEU will continue to be a voice for members at FDA and USDA as this process moves forward.

I welcome and encourage your feedback on this issue.

Is the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey really confidential?

Responding to a surveySome employees have expressed concern about the unique URL (link) sent to each of us to take the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) thinking that the agency would be able to pin our answers to each of us. OPM administers this survey, not HHS nor FDA. The main purpose of the unique URL is to ensure that each employee only responds once, not to identify the respondent. Of course, if a respondent posts a threat in one of the comment fields IT staff could conceivably be able to trace it back to the respondent, but this would be the exception to the norm.

I hope this encourages y’all to respond honestly and truthfully all the questions in the survey. This is a chance to make our voices heard.