Flickr user fristle

Who Is Subject to Defense Furloughs?

A look at the web of exceptions to mandatory unpaid leave.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has strived for a unified a departmentwide policy on civilian furloughs, even though individual services have argued for agency-specific guidance and exemptions.  

When Hagel earlier this month reduced the number of mandatory days of unpaid leave at his department, he said he came to his decision by keeping “fairness” in mind.

Still, the new plan added to the growing list of positions that are exempt from the workweek cuts. Details are available in a memo sent to managers on May 14.

Below is a general outline of civilian positions that are exempt from furloughs:

  • Employees deployed or temporarily assigned to a combat zone are exempt.
  • Selected medical personnel and other employees “are excepted to the extent necessary to protect life and property.”
  • Navy shipyard employees are excepted “because it would be particularly difficult to make up delays in maintenance work on nuclear vessels and these vessels are critical to mission success. All other depot employees, whether mission-funded or working capital fund employees, will be subject to furlough.”
  • The Director of National Intelligence will determine furloughs for employees paid through the National Intelligence Program. Employees paid through the Military Intelligence Program are subject to furloughs.
  • Foreign Military Sales positions funded through FMS funds and Foreign Military Financing accounts are excepted “because there would be no savings” from furloughs. FMS positions funded at least partly by Defense appropriations are subject to furlough.
  • Most Senate-approved political appointees are excepted.
  • Positions paid for with non-appropriated funds. “Furloughing employees in this category would not reduce the DoD budget and so would not assist in meeting sequestration reductions.”
  • Foreign nationals employed by Defense outside the contiguous United States are excepted. Many of these employees are subject to special agreements and in some cases are paid by host governments.
  • Arlington National Cemetery and Defense Civil Works program employees are excepted, along with any other employees “who are not paid directly by accounts included in the Department of Defense-Military budget are excepted from furlough.”

(Image via Flickr user fristle)

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