|Since NTEU negotiated a new Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) two years ago, the union continues to make improvements giving more employees the chance to build on their job skills or prepare for promotion. Millions of dollars in tuition reimbursements have already been paid out to IRS employees for a variety of classes under this successful program. The next open season for the TAP, previously called Human Resources Investment Fund, runs from Feb. 16 through March 9, 2010, for classes beginning June 1 to Oct. 31, 2010.
Following are new improvements to the 2010 TAP that NTEU has negotiated:
- Residential programs, which are generally excluded from TAP, may be permitted upon a showing of good cause and if the applicant provides documentation from the learning institution to support the funding request.
- TAP funds may be used to pay for Continuing Legal Education courses.
- Employees will be granted administrative time to complete TAP applications.
- NTEU is entitled to more extensive data on TAP funding and employee participation in the program. This information will help NTEU better make improvements to the TAP during future negotiations.
Applicants will also recognize that there is now a $5,250 cap on the amount of reimbursements an applicant can receive for the fiscal year. Management insisted on capping reimbursement at this amount, which is also the non-taxable limit that employers may reimburse each year. While a handful of employees received more than that last year, NTEU recognized that capping reimbursement at this level will enable more employees to participate and avoid making the program too costly to maintain. NTEU may decide to take up the funding cap issue during future negotiations over the fiscal 2011 TAP.