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Things to check before holidays start (Tips)

Well done on getting though another year of a global pandemic! While that brings its own challenges, there are perhaps some additional things worth checking before your well-deserved Christmas and New Year holiday leave.

Collective action on the very discriminatory internal competition [1] for temporary agents (TAs) only: to join our collective action [2] please apply for this internal competition by 21 December 2021.

The 10 teleworking days: It was finally confirmed (08.12.2021, email communication and follow-up updated teleworking guidelines [3]) that the 10 teleworking from abroad days can now indeed be combined with the end-of-year days (no annual leave days necessary) and that these 10 days can be used up until 15.01.2022. While we welcome this news, we have been asking just this question repeatedly since April 2021 [4] and the repeated response from HR was that they would have to consider it. So, good news for anyone not having already used up the days in order to not lose them, but the indecision regarding these days has led to others using precious annual leave where it is no longer necessary to do so.

More than 12 days of annual leave remaining: For those of you with surplus days of annual leave [5] (though the 8.12.2021 announcement mentioned above might also have impacted this) check out the viable reasons [6] for requesting that these days be added to your 2021 quota. Unfortunately this process is not automatic, even where you’ve been sick for 20 work days or more [5] (though we did have the Central Staff Committee agree to send a note asking for this to be automated in future [7]), so don’t miss out! It’s not a complicated process.  If you have more than 12 days remaining please discuss with your line manager rather than just assume the days are lost. Even if you do not fall into one of the categories listed, a plan of when you will spend the days and a reason for having been unable to use them (e.g. workload) gives hierarchy the opportunity to be flexible and understanding, particularly in the context of the pandemic [1]. Also, if you are sick during annual leave remember that if you act fast you can recover the days [8].

Vaccines: check the medical service website [9] for information on Covid vaccines, boosters and the flu vaccine. Note: ‘Similarly to Italy, the Luxembourg authorities announced on 3 December their intention to enforce a compulsory COVID check at work for all employees and civil servants from 15 January onwards.‘ (Coronavirus: Communication to Commission staff – Update 48 [10]).  The latest information is that the national authorities are discouraging free testing on site, therefore colleagues who are not yet vaccinated are very unlikely to have this option made available to them. If you have a medical reason to remain unvaccinated please get in touch with the medical service who can make provision for you. We are watching this situation, please let us know your experiences [11].

Medical reimbursement: Check whether you’ve submitted all your requests for reimbursement: it’ll take a while to receive the money in your account and the sooner you submit the files, the better.

Remember that if you receive the seasonal-flu vaccination via your own GP you have the right for 100% reimbursement of both the vaccine itself and the visit to the GP. There is a special option in the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (JSIS)/RCAM [Régime Commun d’Assurance Maladie] online reimbursement site [2].

Similarly, if you did the annual medical laboratory tests outside the Commission you are also entitled to the full costs: check out our example case [12].

And if you have already submitted a reimbursement request and did not use the options outlined, let the JSIS know via Staff Matters portal (by clicking the ‘Contact PMO’ little envelope [13] in the top right-hand corner) and let our PMO colleagues fix it for you.

Home IT equipment: The partial reimbursement schemes for chair and screen have ended but most of us [3] still have the option of requesting kit. The IT package contains any combination of the following items: [4]

Appraisal self evaluation: The first of the self-assessment exercises [5] opens on Wednesday 5/Thursday 6 January: we will only just have returned to work on Monday 3 January! You don’t need to write the whole thing now, but making some basic notes of your highlights and successes might be a great help to you for when you have to hit the ground running on your return in order to make the best of this opportunity to shine. Generation 2004 has a conference on Tuesday 11 January [16] to help you with this.

Family allowances, part-time and schools: Last but not least. Just to remind you that if you are a couple with a child/children and both of you work for the institutions and one of you is working part-time, check with your payment office who gets the family allowances during that part-time period. It might be that due to a part-time working arrangement (if the one working part-time is the one receiving the family allowances) that the family allowances decrease in line with the reduction in salary. It might be seen better, even if only temporary, to arrange for the allowances to go to the partner who woks full-time. Please ask the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements (PMO) first to check whether your particular circumstances make this possible before making any changes. Use PMO Contact [17] for doing this. Also for those in Brussels, there is an information meeting [18] on enrolment for the European Schools for the 2022-2023 school year – Friday 7 January 2022

As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us [19].

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[1] The button to click in Sysper2 (1-31 January):

Time management>leave rights>rights>Annual leave>Summary and click on the button ‘Leave carry-over request [20]’: insert your comment to justify your request.

Note that the deadline for these requests is 31 January.

[2] Create a request > Reimbursements > Request of type > Standard reimbursement > Next > Expense/treatment detail: Seasonal flu vaccination costs [21] as mentioned on the JSIS [22] site.

[3] Since the end of October 2021 the JRC [23] has had a means to request the home-working equipment to which most of the rest of us had access from 01.06.2020 [24]. Why the delay [25]?

[4] Note also that some laptops were provided without a kensington-style lock [26] to anchor the laptop to furniture.  You can request one via My IT Support [27]

REQUEST TYPE [choose] Install NON-STANDARD peripherals for a user
Misc. (specify) [write] ‘laptop locking cable’

EXTRA INFORMATION
Justification*: [write] ‘No locking cable was provided with laptop and I will need one for the return to the office’

[5] Promotion: reclassification is always a little later.