March 13 2013 FEA Europe Update

1. Area JCC Minutes
2. Excess Teacher Placement
3. Focus on the Contract
4. Furlough Update
5. TSP Warning
6. Poem in Your Pocket Day
7. Retirement Articles
8. From Our Members
9. Europe Representative Assembly Election
10. Message from Alex

1. Area JCC Minutes: Attached are the minutes from our most recent Area JCC meeting.

2. Excess Teacher Placement: The latest information I have is that excess teacher placement rounds have tentatively been set for the first two weeks of April. However, these dates are very fluid. FEA will update your with information as soon as it is received. ALL excess teacher placement will be conducted at HQ in Washington, and FEA will have a representative present.

3. Focus on the Contract: This week's Focus on the Contract deals with the issue of Leave. I Receive many questions about leave each year, including when documentation is required in the use of sick leave. Article 21 states that any full-time unit employee who has served for the entire school year is entitled to 10 days of cumulative leave for that school year. This leave may be used for maternity purposes, in the event of illness of a unit employee, in the event of illness, death, or contagious disease in the immediate family of the unit employee, or in the event of any personal emergency. Leave should be requested and approved in advance before it can be taken, but need not be requested in advance when circumstances prevent an employee from requesting it in advance---such as sudden illness or emergency. Leave is also subject to DS Regulation 5630.4 which states that Medical certificates MAY be required to support absences for illness or for maternity purposes when an absence exceeds 3 days or for shorter periods when there is a reasonable cause to believe that the leave privilege has been abused. (Further information may be obtained from Article 21 of the Negotiated Agreement and from DS Regulation 5630.4.

4. Furlough Information: Hopefully many of you have already received this information, but if not, here is the latest furlough news from FEA Washington: FURLOUGHS - There are a lot of rumors floating around and much anxiety over the furlough threat our schools are facing. A Department of Defense spokesman earlier this week said DoDEA school employees would be subject to furloughs, but so far there are no details on when or how long such furloughs would be. FEA and NEA will continue to contact the White House, Congress and the Pentagon with the hope of preventing these furloughs or, if that proves impossible, at least minimizing their impact upon students and school personnel. As with everything in Washington, politics will play a major role in deciding if/when furloughs are to take place. We will continue to inform you of developments as we learn of them and to work on behalf of DoDEA employees, students and families to fight any harmful cuts to our school year.

5. Warning from TSP: Subject: Warning from TSP (Thrift Savings Plan)

The below TSP warning message has been posted to the TSP Website under What's New, Plan News and Announcements.

Warning: Apple App store offering TSP App not sanctioned by TSP - A free iPhone App, TSP Funds, currently being offered through the Apple App store asks TSP participants for their account login information. This app is not being offered through the TSP and the TSP does not recommend using this application to access your TSP account. Providing this information could result in a security risk to your account.

Read the info from here

6. Poem in Your Pocket Day is scheduled for April 18, 2013. Check out this website for more information.

7. Retirement Articles: I am attaching several articles from These range from how the furlough could affect your TSP to information on how federal retirement benefits are taxed and include TSP monthly returns updated on March 4, 2013.

8. From Our Members: Thanks to those of you who have shared your Read Across America Day photographs and articles with us. We look forward to publishing those in our next issue of the UNITY magazine. It is not too late to get your information in if you have not done so.

9. FEA Europe Election for the Representative Assembly: FEA anticipates counting the votes within the next two weeks and will announce the winners of the RA election soon afterwards. We will distribute the information as soon as it is available.

10. Message from Alex: Another reminder that Alex still does not have Outlook capability while at home or one the road. If you get an " out of office" reply when you write to him on Outlook, please redirect your inquiry to Alex will be on the road off and on for the next few weeks and wants to stay in contact until the computer situation is resolved.

Have a great week! And remember: "It is better to be the head of a live sardine than the tail of a dead trout."---Francis Beeding (Since I can't use smiley faces anymore I will leave you with a quote---give it your own meaning---nothing too profound.)

Lisa Ali
FEA Area Director
Heidelberg, Isles, Cuba