Government Shutdown Furloughs Delay Sequestration Furlough Appeals

Government Shutdown Furloughs Delay Sequestration Furlough Appeals

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Thousands of appeals from federal employees furloughed because of sequestration sat in the pipeline during the 16-day government shutdown when the small federal agency working on them was forced to close shop.

In other words, more furloughs delayed furlough-related work.

The Merit Systems Protection Board, which has about 200 employees in Washington and eight regional offices nationwide, furloughed most of its workforce on Oct. 1, save for a few excepted employees and the three board members who are political appointees. It was not the ideal time for forced leave: The agency is in the middle of handling an unprecedented wave of appeals filed by federal employees furloughed during the spring and summer because of mandatory across-the-board budget cuts. Employees, nearly all Defense Department workers, filed roughly 32,000 furlough challenges during fiscal 2013. By contrast, the agency’s regional offices in fiscal 2012 received about 6,000 total appeals, which include furlough- and non-furlough-related issues. Continue reading “Government Shutdown Furloughs Delay Sequestration Furlough Appeals”

Furloughed Feds Will Get Credit for Lost Leave

Furloughed Feds Will Get Credit for Lost Leave

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Furloughed employees will receive full credit for any annual and sick leave they accrued during the government shutdown, according to guidance from the Office of Personnel Management.

All agencies must adjust the accounts of furloughed employees “for proper recredit of any lost accrual of annual and sick leave due to being in a nonpay status,” stated the guidance. Congress last week approved retroactive pay for federal workers furloughed during the 16-day government shutdown. Continue reading “Furloughed Feds Will Get Credit for Lost Leave”

Oct. 11 Paycheck Could be the Last Until Government Reopens

Oct. 11 Paycheck Could be the Last Until Government Reopens

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Most federal employees will receive a paycheck on Friday that’s only 60 percent of the usual amount, thanks to the government shutdown. This could be the last check they receive until agencies reopen.

Friday, Oct. 11, is the next pay day for federal workers for the preceding two-week pay period. Government employees who work a typical schedule — 8-hour days, Monday through Friday — will receive pay for only six days of work in their next paycheck. The most recent pay period ran from Sept. 22 through Oct. 5; the government shut down on Oct. 1, which means employees will not be paid for Oct. 1 through Oct. 4 in Friday’s paycheck. Continue reading “Oct. 11 Paycheck Could be the Last Until Government Reopens”

Shutdown Could Halt Feds’ Leave Accrual

Shutdown Could Halt Feds’ Leave Accrual

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As the government shutdown approaches its third week, federal employees stand to lose their ability to accrue time off while on furlough status.

Guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and the Defense Department dictates that federal employees will not accrue annual or sick leave in the pay period in which they cross the threshold of 80 hours in non-pay status in a given year. Many Defense civilians have already reached that limit due to the six sequestration-related furlough days over the summer and the four shutdown furlough days taken before Secretary Chuck Hagel called them back to work.

Most of the rest of the furloughed federal workforce would reach the 80-hour threshold next week, should Congress fail to strike a deal to reopen government. Some non-Defense agencies also took to furloughing workers for several days due to sequestration, meaning some employees who were furloughed both over the summer and during the shutdown also have already reached 80 hours of non-pay status. Leave accrual would remain suspended for each 10-workday period in which employees remain furloughed. Continue reading “Shutdown Could Halt Feds’ Leave Accrual”

Furloughs and Your Retirement

Well, it’s furlough time — or, as my friend Herb Hayes calls it, “furl-ouch.” Suddenly, every day feels like a snow day. But where I live in Northern Virginia, the sun is shining and it’s as hot as a summer day in mid-July. When government shutdowns happen, it is not as much fun to have a day off as some people seem to think. The emotions are many: fear (will I be paid?), curiosity (how is everyone handling the situation?), and anger (why would our government allow this to happen?).

While I’m not currently a federal employee, I am a government contractor who also is affected, because there are no employees at work to attend my pre-retirement seminars. I always try to look on the bright side of any situation, but there are many people — feds as well as those who depend on the government to stay in business — that will not see any bright side to this situation. Continue reading