Civilian Team: What You Need To Know During A Government Shutdown

By Doug Lundberg
Director of Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR)

All currently furloughed Navy Department employees should return to work tomorrow or as soon as practical with the exception of the employees in the categories listed below:

1 – Chief Information Officer (CIO) functions, not previously excepted from furlough based on the Contingency Plan Guidance for Continuation of Essential Operations in the Absence of Available Appropriations of September 2013.

2 – Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) functions not previously excepted.  Should not be any below the Secretariat/Echelon I level.

3 – Legislative Affairs and Public Affairs functions not previously excepted or required in support of internal communications to members of the active service.

4 – Auditor and related functions, including Inspector General (IG), not previously excepted.  Employees supporting Financial Improvement Audit Readiness (FIAR) activities are excepted and can report to work.

5 – Work done in support of non-DoD activities and Agencies (except the U.S. Coast Guard) not previously excepted.  Foreign Military Sales (FMS) employees are excepted and can report to work.

Employees in these categories will receive calls from their supervisors today explaining the situation. If you have questions, please contact your chain of command.

We greatly appreciate the work that all our civilian shipmates perform.  We will continue to share information as we get it.

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A Puget Sound NavalShipyard worker smoothes down the edges of a hole cut in the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as she is transformed into a construction site during a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

A Puget Sound NavalShipyard worker smoothes down the edges of a hole cut in the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as she is transformed into a construction site during a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

1.  How does leave work during a shutdown?

Upon furlough, all scheduled leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave) is canceled for all excepted and non-excepted employees. Absences during the furlough may not be charged to leave; excepted employees (directed to work) unable to report to duty, due to illness, jury duty, etc., must be placed in a furlough status (i.e. non-duty, non-pay).

Unlike “excepted” employees, those who are categorically exempted from the furlough (i.e. NWCF, SIOH, etc.) may be granted annual or sick leave subject to supervisory approval based upon mission requirements.

2. Many of us have already been furloughed and in a LWOP status for six days; how will furlough time off affect an employee’s leave accrual and benefits?

If an employee is furloughed (i.e., placed in nonpay status) for part of a biweekly pay period, the employee’s leave accrual will generally not be affected for that pay period. However, the accumulation of nonpay status hours during a leave year can affect the accrual of annual leave and sick leave over a period of time.

For example, when a full-time employee with an 80-hour biweekly tour of duty accumulates a total of 80 hours of nonpay status from the beginning of the leave year (either in one pay period, or over the course of several pay periods), the employee will not earn annual and sick leave in the pay period in which that 80-hour accumulation is reached.

If the employee again accumulates 80 hours of nonpay status, he or she will again not earn leave in the pay period in which that new 80-hour total is reached. NOTE: Some employees were furloughed for six days and placed in a LWOP status. If they were furloughed or placed in a LWOP status for four days, they would meet the threshold of 80 hours.

3. Can I take leave to go to the doctor if I am excepted from the furlough?

Employees excepted from furlough (directed to work) may go to the doctor and they will be placed in a furlough status (i.e. non-pay, non-duty) until they are able to return to duty. Excepted employees unable to report to duty, due to illness, jury duty, etc., must be placed in a furlough status (non-pay, non-duty).

Unlike “excepted” employees, those who are categorically exempted from the furlough (i.e. NWCF, SIOH, etc.) may be granted annual or sick leave subject to supervisory approval based upon mission requirements.

4. Can excepted employees be required to perform work on a holiday that occurs during a shutdown furlough?

Yes. Each agency is responsible for determining which excepted activities must be performed on a holiday in order to carry out functions related to such excepted activities. If an excepted employee refuses to report for work on a holiday after being ordered to do so, he or she can be considered absent without leave (AWOL) and will be subject to any consequences that may follow from being AWOL.

5.  Am I entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?

It is possible that furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Employees should submit their questions to the appropriate state office. Furloughed employees will receive the SF8, the form needed by federal employees to file for unemployment compensation.

If you have additional questions, please visit the OCHR website, contact your civilian human resources office, or email questions to DONhrFAQ@navy.mil.

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Civilian Team: What You Need To Know During A Government Shutdown