Reimbursement for Furloughed FAA Workers?

Employees at FAA could receive extra leave to compensate for unnecessary furloughs.

Furloughed employees at the Federal Aviation Administration might receive bonus vacation time, according to a statement from the agency and administration guidance.

Many FAA employees took furlough days the week of April 21, under agency orders to take an unpaid day off every two weeks through Sept. 30. Congress agreed on April 26, however, to shift funds around in FAA’s budget to ensure furloughs were no longer necessary.

The day before Congress struck that deal, the Office of Personnel Management issued updated furlough guidance that would allow some feds to recover furlough days in special circumstances. The relevant provision referred specifically to a federal employee whose agency granted flexibility in when to take his furlough days.  If a worker chooses to take the furlough days up front -- and the need to take furloughs is later eliminated or the number of necessary furlough days is reduced -- the worker can use the days he already took off as annual leave, OPM said.

“The FAA is still reviewing its options for guidance to employees who were furloughed for one day,” spokeswoman Laura J. Brown said in a statement to The Washington Post.

Brown declined to comment on Government Executive’s inquiry into how the updated guidance might affect FAA employees.

The guidance also left the door open for “excused absence” -- paid time off without docking accrued leave -- but fell short of requiring it. Decisions about how to handle furloughs that were ultimately taken unnecessarily must be determined on an agency-by-agency basis, OPM said.

The guidance added agencies may need to negotiate with federal employee unions to work out details. 

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