The Army will provide back pay to civilian employees who took more than the requisite number of furlough days, in exchange for giving up an equivalent amount of annual leave, according to an Army spokesman.
The problem arose when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cut the number of furlough days necessary for most of the department’s civilian workforce in fiscal 2013 from 11 to six. To resolve the issue for the employees who had already taken more than six days of unpaid leave before the announcement, the Army is allowing employees to substitute paid vacation days for the extra furloughs taken. The employees would then receive back pay to cover for the annual leave.
The decision will not apply to most Army civilians; many had been taking one furlough day each week since early July. The policy is consistent with guidance provided by the Office of Personnel Management, which suggested the leave-for-excess-furloughs swap in May.
“If an employee has proactively taken more than the required number of furlough hours under an agency’s phased furlough plan prior to the agency cancellation of the furlough, the employee may retroactively cancel excess furlough hours and substitute annual leave for those hours, as determined by the agency,” OPM said in its guidance.
For now, the decision applies only to Army civilians, as the Pentagon has yet to issue a departmentwide policy.