Shutdown Could Halt Feds' Leave Accrual

HomeStudio/Shutterstock.com

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.

While OPM told The Washington Post no decision has been made about restoring potentially lost annual and sick leave, the Pentagon’s memorandum says, “If Congress restores pay to furloughed employees, any lost leave will also be restored.”

The House has passed a bill to restore retroactive pay to furloughed federal employees upon the government’s reopening, but the legislation is stuck in the Senate.

Federal employees earn between four and eight hours of leave per pay period, depending on their years of service. 

Excepted employees who are forced to work during the shutdown are prohibited from taking either sick or annual leave. If excepted or exempted workers cannot attend work while the shutdown is in place, they must enter furlough status.

Employees reporting for duty during the shutdown also are prohibited from taking paid time off under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. They can, however, take the 12 weeks of unpaid leave to which FMLA entitles them, according to Mathew Tully, the founding partner at the Tully Rinckey law firm. Tully suggests, however, that excepted workers instead opt into furlough status, as it would not impact their FMLA time and would open them up to the possibility of receiving back pay. 

(Image via HomeStudio/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.