According to a report from Politico, the IRS sent out a memo late last week ordering “certain employees in mission-critical functions” to show up for work on Monday, and to make sure they bring their own masks in order to protect themselves from being infected with the coronavirus.
The report notes that the leaked memo also has tips for employees on how to cobble together a make-shift mask in case they don't already have one.
"Tony Reardon, who heads the National Treasury Employees Union, said separately that the 'initial wave' will include about 10,000 employees at 10 locations who will be 'opening taxpayer correspondence, handling tax documents, taking taxpayer telephone calls and performing other functions related to the filing season," the report states, before adding, "The agency is asking for volunteers and offering incentive pay ... but will order employees back if there are not enough volunteers."
According to the memo, which was obtained by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), "Employees are therefore required to bring personal face coverings for their nose and mouth area when they come to work. As stated in the CDC recommendations, these face coverings can be fashioned from common household materials such as clean t-shirts or bandanas."
Both lawmakers ripped into the IRS in a statement, saying, "It is understandable that in carrying out its mission during a crisis, the agency would require some employees to report back to work during perilous times. However, it is completely irresponsible and unethical for the IRS to demand those workers obtain their own protective equipment — this is the responsibility of the federal government to its workers.”
The report notes that the IRS had no comment.
You can read more here.