Furlough Resources

Furlough Resources

Updated 9/29/2015

The ODNI Office of Human Resources prepared Furlough Resources and Furlough FAQs for the ODNI workforce in the event of a furlough of federal workers. Should a lapse in appropriated funds occur, ODNI employees may consult DNI.gov for the latest information about federal closings or the resumption of regular activity for the organization. If you have any furlough-related questions not covered by the following resources, please contact the ODNI HR Help Desk at 703-275-3888.

The current ODNI operating status is always available via DNI.gov or via phone at 1-866-940-6919. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management provides general operating status information for federal offices in the Washington, DC area.

ODNI FURLOUGH RESOURCES

Click the links below to jump to detailed information about:

WHAT IS A FURLOUGH?

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees in the event of furloughs. There are two types of furloughs:

An administrative furlough is a planned event by an agency which is designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations. Furloughs that would potentially result from sequestration would generally be considered administrative furloughs.

A shutdown furlough (also called an emergency furlough) occurs when there is a lapse in appropriations, and can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Typically, an agency will have very little to no lead time to plan and implement a shutdown furlough.

Read additional Furlough-related FAQs

OPM FURLOUGH GUIDANCE

OPM has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees in the event of furloughs:

EFFECTS ON EMPLOYEE BENEFITS RELATED TO THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - The TSP will continue its normal daily operations during the shutdown. Please read the TSP fact sheets below for answers to questions about the shutdown’s impact on TSP contributions, loans, and withdrawals. Please note that the fact sheet emphasizes that your agency should not send a Form TSP-41, Notification to TSP of Nonpay Status, to the TSP during a Federal Government Shutdown. A shutdown is a rare occurrence and is typically of short duration. The Form TSP-41 is intended for participants who are being placed on extended leave without pay, e.g., due to illness, military furlough, maternity leave, etc. Note: this information was pulled directly from the TSP website. For more information please visit www.tsp.gov or the Thriftline toll-free service at 1-TSP-YOU-FRST (1-877-968-3778). This is a 24/7 service. The TDD number for the hearing impaired is 1-TSP-THRIFT5 (1-877-847-4385). A representative will be available between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

  • Impact of a Federal Government Shutdown on the TSP

  • Sequestration and your TSP account

  • Pay during a Lapse in Appropriations - Excepted personnel will receive retroactive pay for time worked during a lapse in funding after either an appropriations bill or continuing resolution authorizing such payment is passed. In addition, Congress may pass legislation to pay non-excepted personnel retroactively at the conclusion of a lapse in funding. However, there is no guarantee that either category of personnel will be paid.

While full deductions will be taken for the items listed above, employees will only be taxed (Social Security, Medicare, Federal, State and local income tax) on gross pay.  For employees who don’t have enough gross pay to cover all deductions, click here to read an order of precedence defined by OPM.  For assistance pertaining to TSP loans or unemployment during the government shutdown please see information posted below or call the ODNI/HR hotline at 703-275-3888.

  • Health Benefits – Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage continues up to 365 days in non-pay status even if an agency does not make the premium payments on time.  When the employee is in a non-pay status, the enrollee share of the FEHB premium accumulates and will be withheld from pay upon return to pay status.

  • Retirement Benefits - For retirement purposes, a total non-pay status of up to six months in a calendar year will constitute creditable service.  Coverage continues at no cost to employees while in a non-pay status.  If an employee is in a non-pay status for a portion of the pay period, contributions are adjusted in proportion to the basic pay.

  • Life Insurance - coverage continues for up to 12 months in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or Agency.  Employees should direct questions regarding supplemental life insurance (e.g. New York Life Insurance, Employee Benevolent Fund, or Government Employees’ Benefit Association) to their provider.

  • Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Plan (FEDVIP) - Coverage will continue, but the enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him or her on a timely basis to ensure coverage continues as premium payrolls deductions cease for any employee that does not receive pay.  BENEFEDS will bill employees at their home address when no payment is received for two consecutive pay periods.  OPM will provide additional guidance on its website on how to continue coverage. FEDVIP-1-877-888-3337.

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) - Payroll deductions cease for employees not receiving pay.  The employee remains enrolled in FSAFEDS, but eligible health care claims incurred during a non-pay status will not be reimbursed until the employee returns to a pay status and allotments are successfully restarted.  The remaining allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the participant’s election amount. Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during a non-pay status may be reimbursed up to whatever balance is in the employee’s dependent care account as long as the expense incurred during the non-pay status allows the employee (or spouse if married) to work, look for work, or attend school full-time.  FSA-1-877-372-3337.

  • Federal Long-term Care Insurance (FLTCIP) - Coverage continues as long as premiums are paid.  Payroll deductions will cease for any employee that does not receive pay.  If Long Term Care Partners do not receive payment for three consecutive pay periods, they will begin to bill employees directly.  The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him or her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage.  FLTCIP-1-800-582-3337.

  • Leave Without Pay (LWOP) - Employees in LWOP status are considered non-excepted, may not report to work, and remain in a non-pay status. If an employee is scheduled to return from LWOP during the lapse in funding, he or she will need to delay return until after the lapse in funding has ended.

  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Contributions - Employees considered excepted and non-excepted personnel, TSP contributions are affected.  Employees are not eligible to contribute to TSP while in a non-pay status.  For FERS participants, any reduction in TSP contributions will affect agency contributions. Regardless of whether the employee is contributing a percentage or a flat dollar amount, the agency automatic (1%) and agency matching contributions will decrease proportionally to the decrease in employee contributions. 

  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Loans - Employees will be responsible for keeping loan payments up-to-date while in a non-pay status.  Visit www.tsp.gov and log into “My Account” or call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778.  A break in pay due to a government lapse in funding is typically of short duration and would not disqualify one from TSP loan eligibility.

  • Pay during a Lapse in Appropriations - Excepted personnel will receive retroactive pay for time worked during a lapse in funding after either an appropriations bill or continuing resolution authorizing such payment is passed.  In addition, Congress may pass legislation to pay non-excepted personnel retroactively at the conclusion of a lapse in funding. However, there is no guarantee that either category of personnel will be paid.

 

GUIDANCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES DURING SHUTDOWN

If you have been furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. In order to apply for unemployment, each employee will need to provide proof of earnings. You may be asked to provide a W-2, SF50 or SF8. Some states may also require a pay stub from September 2015.

Please contact the ODNI HR Help Desk -- 703-275-3888 -- which will mail the SF50 or SF8 and, if required, the September 2015 pay stub, to the employee's home address.
 
To apply for unemployment benefits, first determine which state to apply to, using the location of your official duty station:

 
Virginia


Employees can file immediately, there is no waiting period. However, the first week is considered a non-payable week (waiting period). To apply, you must use the paper application found here.

Mail the paper application to:

Virginia Employment Commission
P.O. Box 1358
Monetary Determinations - Rm 200
Richmond, VA 23218

In addition, a Q&A sheet regarding Virginia unemployment benefits and federal shutdown may be found here.

 
Maryland


Employees can file immediately and eligibility for benefits begins the week you file your claim. The claim becomes effective the Sunday of the week during which you apply for benefits.

To apply, you may submit a paper or on-line application. This application has been designed solely for those Federal employees unemployed due to the Federal shutdown and will only be available during the shutdown period.

Online is the preferred method and will probably be processed more quickly. Apply using this link.

 
District of Columbia


Employees can file immediately, there is a mandatory one-week waiting period before benefits are paid. The waiting period is the first week for which you would otherwise be eligible. Initial applications will only be accepted online.

In addition, FAQs regarding unemployment benefits and the government shutdown in the District can be found here.

 
 


IMPORTANT: If you apply and receive unemployment benefits, and you subsequently receive back pay for the shutdown period, your unemployment benefits may be considered an overpayment by the state issuing the benefits, and you may be required to return those benefits received during the furlough period.

Remember, you remain an employee of the federal government, and standards of ethical conduct and rules regarding outside employment remain in effect while you are in a furlough status.

Finally, as a federal government employee, you are not required to look for employment in order to receive or continue to receive unemployment benefits, but you must report any outside income in your application.

VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Employees and the requesting organization can send their inquiry to the ODNI HR Help Desk -- 703-275-3888 -- accompanied by an authorization to release form (provided by the perspective employer) signed by the employee.


Read Furlough FAQs >>>