Furlough FAQs

Furlough FAQs

Updated 12/07/2017

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 1-877-322-2570. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management provides general operating status information for federal offices in the Washington, DC area.


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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.


How would ODNI employees be impacted?

During a potential lapse in government funding, employees are placed in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status except for those employees designated as excepted services employees.

Excepted employees performing the ODNI’s core mission which are necessary to protect life and property from imminent threat and to discharge the President’s constitutional duties will continue during a lapse in government funding.

Not all employees can be recalled, only those necessary to support and perform these core functions and those that are funded by other than annual appropriations.

Are ODNI employees exempt from a lapse in government funding?

No. As with the rest of the federal government, the ODNI is required by law to identify non-excepted employees if funds are not appropriated or if a continuing resolution is not enacted.

Who reports to work during a lapse in funding?

Employees designated as excepted employees must report for duty during a lapse in government funding.

Non-excepted employees are not authorized to report to work during the lapse in funding. If Congress approves funding, non-excepted employees could also be paid for this period retroactively.

How will I know if I am an excepted or non-excepted employee?

Managers will notify employees of their status when they receive authorization to do so.

As an excepted employee, may I work on projects or tasks that are non-excepted?

Excepted employees must spend a majority of their time at work engaged in work related to excepted functions. For periods between tasks, they may engage in non-excepted tasks, but only for brief periods.

May an employee who has been brought in to perform a specific excepted task that can be finished in two hours work on non-excepted tasks for the remainder of the work day?

If an employee's excepted work can be performed in less than an entire day, the manager should send the employee home after the work is completed. Excepted employees must spend a majority of their time at work engaged in excepted functions. For periods between excepted tasks, they may engage in non-excepted tasks, but only for brief periods.

May active duty military employees detailed to ODNI come to work during the lapse in government funding?

Yes. Active-duty US military detailees will be considered excepted employees and will be permitted to report to their duty stations at ODNI during a lapse in funding.

May I volunteer my services and come to work if I am non-excepted?

No. The ODNI may not, by law, accept the voluntary services of an employee during a lapse in funding. Additionally, officers may not work from home during a lapse in funding.

If I am designated as an excepted employee, should I report to my regular building/office?

Yes. ODNI buildings are expected to remain open during a lapse in funding.

What if I am on rotation or detailed to another government agency?

Employees on reimbursable or non-reimbursable assignments should follow the excepted/non-excepted decisions of the host agency to which they are currently assigned.

Can the ODNI change the excepted/non-excepted designation after a period of time?

Yes. Managers may switch employees on a weekly basis to perform excepted activities. With appropriate approval, management may also recall employees on an as-needed basis if a crisis, new development, or extended lapse in funding changes the level of effort required to keep essential activities going.

Should non-excepted contractors participate in the orderly shutdown?

Contractor personnel should contact their Program Manager for direction in the event of a lapse in appropriation.


  • 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.


If designated non-excepted, do I have to report for an orderly shutdown?

All employees, regardless of their designation, should complete an orderly shutdown, not to exceed four hours.

Can I report to a building closer to my home for the orderly shutdown?

Managers may approve an alternate work location as they can on any regular business day.

Is there a set time to report for the orderly shutdown, such as 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.?

There is no ODNI-wide mandated time, and officers should report according to their normal work hours unless their manager requests a change. The orderly shutdown period should not exceed four hours.

What will I do during the orderly shutdown?

During an orderly shutdown, employees are expected to:

  • Update contact information so that their management can contact them to pass on information or call them in if needed.
  • Advise their management if they plan to leave the area and provide alternate contact information.
  • Complete T&A.
  • Make note of the key telephone numbers.
  • Cancel travel reservations.

Should I turn off my computers and monitors when I complete my orderly shutdown?

Employees should log off their workstations, but leave them powered on.


Can employees use the gym?

Excepted employees scheduled to work during a lapse in funding may use the gym. Because non-excepted employees may not use ODNI facilities, they will not be able to use the gym.

Can I still use my government-issued electronics—such as cell phones and laptops—from home during the lapse in funding?

Excepted personnel may use their government-issued electronics as they would normally to conduct their job. Non-excepted personnel cannot use government-provided IT equipment, as doing so is a violation of the Anti-deficiency Act. While some agencies are planning to collect cell phones from non-excepted personnel during a lapse in funding, ODNI has no plans to do so. Non-excepted employees may keep their cell phones or pagers on, but should not use them. Non-excepted employees should also refrain from using household Secure Telephone Equipment to contact the office unless they have been notified by their management that they are required to do as an excepted function.

How will parking be handled during the lapse in funding?

All normal parking restrictions will be followed during this period. If this changes, Green Frames or other electronic messaging will be issued to inform the workforce.

Should I turn off my computers and monitors when I complete my orderly shutdown?

Employees who are declared non-excepted need to log off their machines, but they should not turn off their computers. Security patches and updates may be scheduled to deploy, and workstations need to be powered on for those to occur. Monitors should be turned off when non-excepted employees leave for the shutdown.

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