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TRADOC Civilian Workforce Effects from Fiscal Uncertainty

Message from the TRADOC CG to the TRADOC Civilian Workforce June 28, 2013

On July 8, 2013, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) begins the administrative furlough of most of its Civilian workforce for up to 11 days. I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your Families. I want to assure each of you that I value the significant contributions you make in support of this Command.

Furlough will not be business as usual or easy. Working with our labor partners, leaders have been given authorities to minimize adverse mission effects and to limit the harm to morale and productivity. As needed, supervisors will make workload adjustments and modify performance expectations to reflect the reduced workweek mandated by the furlough.

I ask each of you to be aware of your personal stress and that of your colleagues during this difficult time. If you need help, ask - we are one team. There are a number of resources available to help you deal with issues (e.g., financial, emotional, medical, etc.) that may arise as a result of the furlough. Your supervisor, labor representatives, chaplains, Civilian Personnel Advisors, and Army Community Service staff are all available to assist you, or refer you to resources on your installation or within your local community. Additionally, there is more information on the TRADOC home page and on your respective installation's home page.

I am deeply appreciative of your patience, your hard work, and your dedication and contributions to critical TRADOC missions. We will work through this difficult time together. I am proud and honored to serve with you in service to our Nation and our Army.


/signed/
Robert W. Cone
General, U.S. Army Commanding

To view the memo, click here.

Message from the Secretary of Defense on furloughs May 14, 2013

To all Department of Defense personnel:

As you are fully aware, the Department of Defense is facing a historic shortfall in our budget for the current fiscal year. This is the result of current law that went into effect March 1. It imposes deep across-the-board cuts on DoD and other federal agencies. Combined with higher than expected wartime operating costs, we are now short more than $30 billion in our operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts – which are the funds that we use to pay most civilian employees, maintain our military readiness, and respond to global contingencies.

The Department has been doing everything possible to reduce this shortfall while ensuring we can defend the nation, sustain wartime operations, and preserve DoD’s most critical asset – our world-class civilian and military personnel. To that end, we have cut back sharply on facilities maintenance, worked to shift funds from investment to O&M accounts, and reduced many other important but non-essential programs. If sequestration ends, DOD will move to end furlough plans.

Still, these steps have not been enough to close the shortfall. Each of the military services has begun to significantly reduce training and maintenance of non-deployed operating forces – steps that will adversely impact military readiness. And even these reductions are not enough. Since deeper cuts to training and maintenance could leave our nation and our military exposed in the event of an unforeseen crisis, we have been forced to consider placing the majority of our civilian employees on administrative furlough.

After extensive review of all options with the DoD’s senior military and civilian leadership on how we address this budget crisis, today I am announcing that I have decided to direct furloughs of up to 11 days for most of the Department’s civilian personnel. I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations. I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.

After required notifications, we will begin the furlough period on July 8 at the rate of one furlough day per week for most personnel. We plan to continue these furloughs through the end of the current fiscal year. If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so. That is a decision I will make later in the year.

Furloughs for 11 days represent about half of the number we had originally planned, reflecting the Department’s vigorous efforts to meet our budgetary shortfalls through actions other than furlough. There will be exceptions driven by law and by the need to minimize harm to the execution of our core missions. For example, all employees deployed or temporarily assigned to a combat zone will be excepted from furloughs.

Your managers have been given authority to develop specific furlough procedures to minimize adverse mission effects and also limit the harm to morale and productivity. They will be in touch with you to provide guidance and answers.

The President and I are deeply appreciative of your patience, your hard work, and your dedication and contributions to the critical mission of helping protect America’s national security. I am counting on all of you to stay focused on this vital mission in the days ahead. As I said the day I assumed the responsibilities of Secretary of Defense, I’m proud to be part of your team and I’m proud to serve with you.

To view the memo providing notice to Department of Defense civilians about furloughs, click here.

Sequestration message from Army Leaders   (4 March 2013)

4 Mar 2013

To the Soldiers, Civilians and Leaders of the U.S. Army,

As you are aware, sequestration went into effect on Friday, March 1st.

Over the past several years, we have faced a lack of predictability and flexibility in our budget cycle and a series of cuts. This fiscal year alone, we face the potential of at least an $18 billion dollar shortfall in our Operations and Maintenance accounts, due to the combined impacts of sequestration, the continuing resolution and contingency funding. These are the funds that allow us to support operations, maintain readiness and pay our civilian workforce.

While our attention here in Washington is on the fiscal situation and the difficult decisions that will shape our force into the future, we need you to remain focused on the fundamentals: develop your Soldiers, Civilians and our future Army leaders; conduct tough, realistic mission-focused training; maintain and account for your equipment; be good stewards of your resources; and sustain the high level of esprit de corps in your organization. Our top priority is to ensure that our forces defending the homeland, those in Afghanistan and Korea, and those next to deploy and rotate into theater, have the resources required to execute their missions. We also recognize that along with risks to readiness, sequestration will also bring particular hardship to our Civilian workforce.

We will share information through official Army channels on the impacts of sequestration as soon as it becomes available. You can also expect your Army leadership to visit major installations in the months ahead to facilitate a dialogue and listen to your concerns and those of your Family members.

Our current fiscal situation is challenging, but we must approach this as an opportunity to demonstrate, once again, our commitment to selfless service and our profession. Our Army will always remain, in every respect, the Strength of the Nation. Army Strong!

/signed/
Raymond F. Chandler III
Sergeant Major of the Army

/signed/
Raymond T. Odierno
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff

/signed/
John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Army

Message from the Secretary of Defense   (20 February 2013)

20 Feb 2013

For more than a year and a half, the president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I have repeatedly voiced our deep concerns over the half a trillion dollars in automatic across-the-board cuts that would be imposed under sequestration and the severe damage that it would do to both this department and our national defense.

The administration continues to work with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan to avoid these cuts. Meanwhile, because another trigger for sequestration is approaching on March 1, the department's leadership has begun extensive planning on how to implement the required spending reductions. These cuts will be magnified because the department has been forced to operate under a six-month continuing resolution that has already compelled us to take steps to reduce spending.

In the event of sequestration, we will do everything we can to continue to perform our core mission of providing for the security of the United States, but there is no mistaking that the rigid nature and scale of the cuts forced upon this department will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force.

I have also been deeply concerned about the potential direct impact of sequestration on you and your families. We are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on department of Defense personnel, but I regret that our flexibility within the law is extremely limited. The president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions. As a result, should sequestration occur and continue for a substantial period, DOD will be forced to place the vast majority of its civilian workforce on administrative furlough.

Today, I notified Congress that furloughs could occur under sequestration. I can assure you that, if we have to implement furloughs, all affected employees will be provided at least 30 days' notice prior to executing a furlough, and your benefits will be protected to the maximum extent possible. We will work to ensure that furloughs are executed in a consistent and appropriate manner, and we will also continue to engage in discussions with employee unions as appropriate. More information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding furloughs can be found at www.opm.gov/furlough, under the "administrative furlough" section.

Working with your component heads and supervisors, the department's leaders will continue to keep you informed. As we deal with these difficult issues, I want to thank you for your patience, hard work and continued dedication to our mission of protecting the country.

Our most important asset in the department is our world-class personnel. You are fighting every day to keep our country strong and secure, and rest assured that the leaders of this department will continue to fight with you and for you.

/signed/
Leon Panetta
Secretary of Defense

Message from the TRADOC Deputy Commanding General   (31 January 2013)

Click here for the original memo
31 Jan 2013

The Secretary of the Army has directed immediate action in the face of significant budgetary uncertainty in the coming months and must take steps to reduce expenditures. The uncertain Fiscal Year 2013 funding, caused by the combined effects of a possible yearlong continuing resolution and sequestration, may result in adverse impacts on civilian personnel.

To accomplish these reductions, all U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command activities have implemented civilian hiring freezes. Army guidance on civilian controls was recently received. We will be publishing additional guidance that will provide authorities and procedures for limited exceptions based on humanitarian and mission-critical purposes. TRADOC is complying with the Army guidance that directs termination of temporary employees and constrains extensions of employees on term appointments consistent with missions critical requirements.

Furloughs are a tool of last resort and are being considered as a possible way of meeting the Army's fiscal requirements. Furlough will not be implemented without Secretary of the Army approval and congressional notification. If furloughs become necessary, the effect on civilian employees could be significant.

/signed/
DAVID D. HALVERSON
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Deputy Commanding General/
    Chief of Staff

TRADOC Frequently Asked Questions

Currently the Department of Defense has two major fiscal issues that are directly affecting U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command: sequestration and the continuing resolution. Both of these, if not resolved, could result in furloughs for the DOD workforce.

Fiscal Uncertainty:

What does sequestration mean?

Sequestration is an across-the-board reduction in Federal budgetary resources in all budget accounts that have not been exempted by statute. If it occurs on March 1, 2013, this sequestration will reduce each agency’s budgetary resources in non-exempt accounts for the remainder of the fiscal year (which runs through September 30, 2013).

What is a continuing resolution? How long is it expected to last?

The Department of Defense is operating under a continuing resolution through at least March 27, 2013. Because most of the operating funding was planned to increase from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013, but is instead being held at FY 2012 under the continuing resolution, funds will run short at the rates of expenditure if the continuing resolution continues through the end of the fiscal year in its current form.

What is the difference between continuing resolution and sequestration?

These are two separate factors currently creating our fiscal uncertainty.



A continuing resolution is a type of appropriations legislation used to fund government agencies if a formal bill is not signed into law.

Sequestration is taking the amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated by the Treasury and not giving it to the agencies due to not passing an appropriations bill.

Furlough (General):

What is a furlough?

A furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons.

What is the difference between an administrative furlough and a shutdown furlough?

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.

If an administrative furlough is implemented, how long is it expected to last?

The Secretary of Defense has directed DOD execute an administrative furlough of up to 11 discontinuous days or 88 hours.

Which employees may be affected by an administrative furlough?

During an administrative furlough, virtually all employees are subject to a furlough. Exceptions are minimal and include to civilians deployed in a combat zone; safety of life or property – only to extent needed to protect; non-appropriated fund employees funded 100% through non-appropriated funds; employees exempt by law (individuals appointed by the President with or without Senate confirmation who are not covered by the leave system); and foreign nationals.

Are political appointees (such as Executive Schedule officials, noncareer SES and Schedule C appointees) subject to an administrative furlough?

Political appointees covered by the leave system in 5 USC Chapter 63 or an equivalent formal leave system are subject to administrative furlough. Individuals appointed by the President, with or without Senate confirmation, who are not covered by the leave systems, are not subject to furlough.

Will temporary and term employees be included in the furlough?

If temporary and term employees have been approved to stay with TRADOC, they will also be furloughed (unless otherwise excepted from the furlough).

Notification:

Under administrative furlough, when/how will employees be notified?

Employees will receive notification at least 30 days prior to being furloughed. Employees will have seven calendar days to reply unless union agreements provide for a longer period to respond.

If I am furloughed, am I separated from service?

Employees who are furloughed are not separated from federal service. They are placed in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status. Employees will receive notification at least 30-days prior to being furloughed.

What will happen if I receive a furlough notice and don’t provide a response within seven days? Are these seven calendar days?

The deciding official will make a decision based on the other information available to him or her. Failure to respond does not delay possible action.

If a furlough is implemented, will a personnel action be processed?

Yes, a Standard Form 50 will be generated.

Is it true a reduction in force will be coming next?

While we expect next year to be fiscally challenging, currently there are no plans for a reduction in force at TRADOC activities in fiscal year 2014 associated with this need to address fiscal year 2013 fiscal uncertainties.

If an employee decides to challenge a discontinuous administrative furlough, from what point would the time for appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board run?

Employees may file an appeal within 30 days after the effective date of their first furlough day, or 30 days after the date of their receipt of the decision notice, whichever is later.

Pay, Leave, SCD, Benefits:

May I volunteer to do my job on a nonpay basis during any hours or days designated as furlough time off?

No. Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an employee.

Will the furlough impact my service computation date for earning annual leave?

For purposes of computing accrual rates for annual leave (i.e., four, six, or eight hours per pay period), an aggregate of six months of nonpay status in a calendar year is creditable service. The service computation date must be adjusted by the amount of nonpay time in excess of six months in a calendar year (i.e., excess time is added to the employee's service computation date).

Will the furlough impact my leave accrual?

The accumulation of non-pay status hours during a leave year can affect the accrual of annual leave and sick leave. For example, when a full-time employee with an 80-hour bi-weekly tour of duty accumulates a total of 80 hours of non-pay status from the beginning of the leave year (either in one pay period, or over the course of several pay periods), the employee will not earn annual and sick leave in the pay period in which that 80 hours accumulation is reached. For part-time employees, leave accruals is prorated based on hours in a pay status in each pay period; thus time in non-pay status reduces leave accrual in each pay period containing such time.

Will sequestration/furlough affect step increases?

Potentially, yes, for some individuals. Within-grade and step increases for General Schedule (GS) are awarded based on the length of service and individual performance. These increases may not be denied or delayed solely because of lack of funds. However, extended periods of nonpay status (e.g., furlough) may affect the timing of some employees' increases. A GS employee in steps 1, 2, or 3 of the grade who is furloughed an aggregate of more than 2 workweeks (80 hours) during the waiting period would have his/her within-grade increase delayed by at least one full pay period. A GS employee in steps 4, 5, or 6 of the grade who is furloughed an aggregate of more than 4 workweeks (160 hours) during the waiting period would have his/her within-grade increase delayed by at least two full pay periods. A GS employee in steps 7, 8, or 9 of the grade who is furloughed an aggregate of more than 6 workweeks (240 hours) during the waiting period would have his/her within-grade increase delayed by at least three full pay periods. With exception to the situations spelled out in 5 CFR 531.406(c), one's time in a furlough (i.e., nonpay) status in excess of the allowable amount will extend a waiting period by that excess amount. (Reference 5 CFR 531.406(b))

Affect of Use or Lose leave due to a furlough.

Leave will still be able to be taken during the furlough period. However, during a furlough, an employee may not substitute paid leave or other forms of time paid off for any hours or days designated as furlough time off.

What impact does nonpay status have on Probationary Periods (Initial Appointment and Supervisory/Managerial), Career Tenure, Leave Earnings, Service Computation Dates (SCD)?

The impact will vary and employees should consult with their Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. Information may also be found at www.opm.gov/oca/leave/HTML/LWOP_eff.asp.

If an employee was in receipt of Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) wage-loss compensation and was then furloughed, what effect would the furlough have on his/her compensation?

None. FECA wage-loss compensation is not considered wages and, therefore, is not affected by a lack of funding at the employing agency.

Are employees who are injured while on furlough or LWOP eligible to receive workers compensation?

No. Workers compensation is paid to employees only if they are injured while performing their duties. Employees on furlough or LWOP are not in a duty status for this purpose. An employee who is receiving workers’ compensation payments will continue to receive workers’ compensation payments during a furlough and will continue to be charged LWOP.

How supervisors treat and employee who is on approved leave without pay (LWOP) during an administrative furlough period?

If employees are scheduled to be on LWOP during the furlough period, the employee may designate any hours and/or days of LWOP as furlough time off in order to meet the agency’s furlough requirement.

May an employee take leave without pay under the Family and Medical Leave Act during an administrative furlough period?

Yes. An employee may take LWOP under FMLA. Employees may designate any hours and/or days of LWOP under FMLA as furlough time off in order to meet the furlough requirements. During a furlough, any LWOP and FMLA that is scheduled to be taken instead of a furlough day off will not count toward an employee’s 12-week FLMA leave entitlement. Employees who take LWOP under FMLA instead of a furlough day off may not later substitute paid leave for the days of LWOP. Agencies are not required to provide an employee with a furlough notice if the employee is not expected to work during the furlough period (e.g., an employee who has just given birth and has requested 12-weeks of unpaid leave, or LWOP, under the FMLA). If the employee is scheduled to return to work from LWOP during the furlough period, the employee should be provided with a furlough notice (effective on the date of scheduled return).

If an employee is planning on retiring, will a time in furlough status have an effect on the employee’s high-3 average?

Generally, there will be no effect on the high-3 average pay unless the furlough causes the employee to be in a nonpay status for more than six months during the calendar year.

Can premium pay, such as overtime pay, be authorized?

Based on current Army guidance, commands are prohibited from using premium pay -- compensatory time or overtime -- to offset furloughs.

Benefits:

Who pays for the Federal Employees Health Benefits, or FEHB, of furloughed employees? Will sequestration impact an employee’s benefits under FEHB?

Agencies continue to be responsible for the agency contribution of any furloughed employees and each employee remains responsible for his or her employee contribution. If an employee’s paycheck is insufficient to cover his or her share, this share will accumulate and will then be withheld from pay upon return to pay status. Detailed guidance on employee benefits during an administrative furlough is found on page 6 of the Office of PM’s Guidance on Administrative Furloughs.

Will an employee continue to be covered under the Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) Program during the furlough?

Yes. The employee remains enrolled in FSAFEDS, but eligible health care claims incurred during a nonpay status will not be reimbursed until the employee returns to a pay status and allotments are successfully restarted. Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during a nonpay status may be reimbursed up to whatever balance is in the employee's dependent care account - as long as the expense incurred during the nonpay status allows the employee (or spouse if married) to work, look for work or attend school full-time.

How are FSAFEDS allotments handled during the furlough?

If the employee’s pay is sufficient, allotments are withheld from the employee’s pay as usual. If the employee’s pay is insufficient, allotments are not withheld. When the employee’s pay becomes sufficient to make withholdings, the remaining allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the employee’s election amount.

Can an employee terminate FSAFEDS participation during the furlough and re-enroll at a later date?

No. Furlough is not a qualifying life event that allows changes to an FSAFEDS election. For additional information, visit https://www.benefeds.com/benefedhelp/fedvip/qualifying_life_events.htm.

Will an employee continue to be covered under the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program during the furlough?

Yes. The employee’s FEGLI coverage continues for up to 12 consecutive months in a nonpay status.

How are FEGLI premiums handled during the furlough?

If the employee’s pay is sufficient, premiums are withheld from the employee’s pay as usual. If the employee’s pay is insufficient, there is no cost to the employee or to the agency. Neither the employee nor the agency incurs a debt during this period of non-pay.

Can an employee terminate FEGLI coverage during the furlough and re-enroll at a later date?

An employee can cancel FEGLI coverage at any time but can reenroll in FEGLI only:
- In conjunction with a qualifying life event
- By providing medical documentation
- If designated as emergency essential
-During an open season (the last open season was 2004; no future FEGLI open season has been announced)
 
Employees are reminded about the requirement to be enrolled in FEGLI for five years immediately preceding retirement to be eligible to continue the coverage as an annuitant.

Will an employee continue to be covered under the Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) during the furlough?

Yes. The employee’s FEDVIP coverage continues.

When an employee’s pay is insufficient to permit all deductions to be made because furlough time off occurs in the middle of a pay period and the employee receives a partial paycheck, what is the order of withholding precedence?

The below Order of Precedence for civilian Federal employees applies only when gross pay is not sufficient to permit all deductions; it will be used to determine the order in which authorized deductions from an employee’s pay will be processed.

  1. Retirement – Deductions for Defined Benefit Plan (including Civil Service Retirement System/Federal Employees Retirement System (CSRS/FERS)
  2. Social Security (OASDI) Tax
  3. Medicare Tax
  4. Federal Income Tax
  5. Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) premium (pre-tax or post-tax)
  6. Basic Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) premium
  7. State Income Tax
  8. Local Income Tax
  9. Collection of Debts Owed to the U.S. Government (e.g., tax debt, salary overpayment, failure to withhold proper amount of deductions, advance of salary or travel expenses, etc.; debts which may or may not be delinquent; debts which may be collected through the Treasury Offset Program, an automated centralized debt collection program for collecting Federal debt from Federal payments)
  10. Court-Ordered Collection/Debt (Child Support, Alimony, Bankruptcy, Commercial Garnishments)
  11. Optional Benefits Premiums (Health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FAS), Dental, Vision, Health Savings Accounts (HAS). Optional FEGLI, Long Term Care, Dependent FSA, TSP (loans, basic and catch-up contributions, then other optional benefits)
  12. Other Voluntary Deductions/Allotments (Military Service Deposits, Professional Assoc., Union Dues, Charities, Bonds, personal allotments, additional voluntary deductions)
  13. IRS Paper Levies Additional guidance can be found at http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/reference-materials/reference/leave-without-pay-status-and-insufficient-pay/

What will happen to my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) if I am furloughed?

Employees can opt to contribute a specific dollar amount, or a percentage based upon their pay, to their 401(k)-style retirement accounts. Those who use the percentage method will see a smaller contribution if they are furloughed. For example, if employees contribute 5 percent of their paycheck each pay period to their TSP accounts, then that amount (as well as the government’s matching contribution) will be proportionally reduced.

Can an employee terminate TSP participation during the furlough and re-enroll at a later date?

Yes. Employees can make changes (enroll, cancel or change amount) any time, but since TSP is an important part of an employee’s financial plan, changes to TSP should be carefully considered.
 
TSP participation for FERS employees is especially important since it is a large part of total retirement benefits. FERS employees receive matching contributions on the first 5% of pay contributed each pay period but these matching contributions stop if the employee stops making regular employees contributions.

What will happen to my TSP Catch-up contributions?

Employees can change and/or reduce their TSP Catch-up contributions.

Can I borrow money from my TSP account?

If you expect to be furloughed on a periodic basis (for example, two days per pay period), you can take a TSP loan but will be responsible for keeping your loan payments up-to-date if you don’t earn enough per pay period for your agency to make each required loan payment.

Can I withdraw money from my TSP account?

While you are in a non-pay status, you can request an in-service withdrawal. There are two types of in-service withdrawals: age-based withdrawals for participants who are age fifty nine and a half or older, and withdrawals for financial hardship. If you request a financial hardship withdrawal, you must be able to certify (under penalty of perjury) that you have a financial hardship and that the amount of your request is not greater than the dollar amount of your financial hardship.

How are existing TSP loans handled during a furlough?

If salary is sufficient, the loan will be withheld from pay. If pay is not sufficient, the loan payment will not be withheld since payroll offices are not permitted to submit partial loan payments. Employees must submit loan payments with Form TSP-26, Loan Payment Coupon directly to TSP. The TSP will notify employees who have missed more than 2½ loan payments at the end of any calendar quarter. The notice will provide the amount needed to bring the loan up-to-date (the “cure” amount). If this amount is not submitted by the required date, the unpaid balance (including any accrued interest) will be declared a taxable distribution. This means the TSP must report to the Internal Revenue Service any outstanding loan balance and interest as income to the employee, and the employee will be required to pay taxes (and potentially a 10% early withdrawal penalty) on the amount.

Additional information on effects of furlough on TSP can be found at www.tsp.gov.

Can the employee retire during a furlough?

Yes, if the employee meets age and length of service requirements.

Are Human Terrain System employees exempt from the furlough?

No. HTS employees are not exempt from the furlough. Upon return from deployment, HTS employees furlough hours will be handled on a pro-rated basis.

Work Schedule:

If a furlough is implemented, who will be responsible for tracking my furlough hours?

Organization managers and supervisors will be responsible for tracking and making sure the correct number of hours are entered and certified in either Defense Civilian Payroll System or Automated Time and Attendance System.

If a furlough is implemented, will I have to come off my compressed work schedule?

There is no current Army or TRADOC mandate to change work schedules. However, this is an option that may be considered during impact and implementation bargaining sessions to be conducted across the Army. The DCPS and ATAAPS both are set-up to accept furlough time as a partial day.

How are furlough days going to be scheduled?

Generally, this administrative furlough will be limited to 88 hours or 11 workdays. In most cases, an employee will be furloughed one day a week or 16 hours per pay period to mitigate the impact on the mission and employees for the duration of the furlough period.

Can I choose to take my furlough days all at once or spread them out?

Generally, the furlough will be taken for no more than 16 hours in a given pay period. Subject to supervisory approval, and limitations set forth in any applicable impact and implementation agreement, there are some circumstances in which an employee may take more or less hours in any given pay period. Employees should consult with their supervisor or local CPAC if other than 16 hours per pay period is requested. This option is not recommended due to the risks the employee will assume should the furlough requirement be reduced by the Secretary of Defense.

May an employee work during a period designated as furlough time off to earn credit hours under a flexible work schedule?

No. An employee may not work to earn credit hours during hours or days designated as furlough time off.

Will management decide which day an employee will take as their furlough day?

Yes, management, in conjunction with input from employees and consideration of mission requirements, will determine what day an employee will take as a furlough day.

May a Reservist perform his drill duties at his federal place of employment during his/her furlough days?

There is no prohibition on the reservist performing drill duties on their civilian job. The reservist must coordinate with the supervisor of his civilian job to obtain approval. After that approval, the reservist must get approval from the Army Reserve Command. There may be a requirement to create orders as the pay must come from the reserves; you cannot be on military leave on furlough days.

May an employee work during a period designated as furlough time off to accumulate religious compensatory time off hours for religious observances?

No. An employee may not work during a period designated as furlough time off -- even to accrue religious compensatory time.

If employees have a designated administrative furlough day off on the last workday before a holiday or the first workday after a holiday (but not on both days), will they be paid for the holiday?

Yes - the general rule is that an employee is entitled to pay for a holiday so long as he or she is in a pay status on either the workday preceding a holiday or the workday following a holiday. The employee is paid for the holiday based on the presumption that, but for the holiday, the employee would have worked. (Note: A holiday should not be the first or last day of the period covered by a furlough.)

Travel and Training:

What happens to an employee that is in a TDY status during the furlough? Are they eligible for per diem?

Yes. Agencies must provide per diem or actual expenses to employees whose travel status requires a stay that includes a furlough day. See OPM FAQs.

Are employees in a TDY status exempt from the furlough?

No. Employees in a TDY status are not exempt from being furloughed.

Do employees receive per-diem while in a furlough status if on long-term TDY?

Yes – employees who are TDY and placed in a furlough (non-pay status) must receive per diem entitlements. Exceptions are: when the furlough days are in conjunction with leave (an employee is not authorized per diem for a non-workday when leave is taken for the entire workday before and the entire workday following the furlough day. An employee is authorized per diem for not more than two non workdays if leave is taken for all workdays between the non-workdays. Employees returning to their Permanent Duty Station while in furlough status end their entitlement to per diem – an employee who returns home on a furlough day from TDY will not receive per diem that day, but will be reimbursed for travel (Note: travel should occur during duty status days).

Addendum 3 to OPM Guidance for Administrative Furloughs has a new section on travel that states agencies must provide per diem or actual expenses to employees whose travel status requires a stay that includes a furlough day. If employees are TDY for 2 weeks, would there be any relief in them being able to make up their furlough hours before or after the TDY? Or how would that be handled?

Procedures to address “making up” furlough hours are established locally. For TRADOC employees at Fort Eustis, if they are required to perform mission critical travel or training which precludes them from being scheduled for furlough days in a particular pay period(s), they will be furloughed for corresponding number of days (hours) in the pay period immediately following the mission critical travel or training.

Employee Assistance:

Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?

It is possible that furloughed employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. The Department of Labor’s website provides links to individual state offices at http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.

If a furlough is implemented, will hardship assistance be provided?

The stress that may accompany a furlough is a significant concern. There are several offices available that specialize in providing counseling. Army Community Services, or ACS, provides financial counseling, Military Family Life provides short-term problem solving and the Employee Assistance Program is also available. We are investigating the possibility of establishing furlough assistance offices in partnership with ACS and Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers to connect employees with available resources.

VSIP:

If approved for Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, when do I have to be off the rolls?

If an employee’s organization is opening or has opened a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, or VSIP window, the deadline to be off the rolls will be addressed in the announcement of the VSIP window.

Can I pull back my approved VSIP?

No, under the current TRADOC VSIP agreement, once you have signed the agreement you will not be able to pull back your approved VSIP.

TRADOC Positions:

Will the hiring freeze affect hiring exceptions?

The previous TRADOC process for hiring exceptions has been replace by TRADOC Operation Order 13-1. All hiring actions are now required to be approved by headquarters TRADOC.

What will happen to Human Terrain System employees?

Human Terrain System, or HTS, positions will continue to be filled if deployed in the theater of operations, subject to availability of funding.

How will DCS G-3/5/7 (Security Assistance Training Field Activity) Foreign Military Sales funding be handled?

ASA M&RA Memorandum dated 20 Mar 13 provides that employees whose positions are exclusively funded from FMS administrative and case funds are excepted from furlough procedures. The FMS case-funded positions funded in whole or part by DOD appropriations are subject to furlough.

Office of Personnel Management, Department of Defense, and Department of the Army Questions and Answers

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References

Resources

Additional Furlough Overtime Guidance - SHARP Program http://www.tradoc.army.mil/CivInfo/Additional Furlough Overtime Guidance - SHARP Program.pdf
Department of Army FY2013 Administrative Furlough Guidance (Change 1) http://www.tradoc.army.mil/CivInfo/Department of Army FY2013 Administrative Furlough Guidance (Change 1).pdf
Department of Army Amended FY2013 Administrative Furlough Guidance (Change 2) http://www.tradoc.army.mil/CivInfo/Department of Army Amended FY2013 Administrative Furlough Guidance (Change 2).pdf
FY13 CES Training and Furlough Guidance (24 May 2013) http://www.tradoc.army.mil/CivInfo/FY13 CES Training and Furlough Guidance (24 May 2013).pdf
Unemployment Compensation during furlough Unemployment Compensation during furlough
Amended ASA M&RA Guidance (17 May) Amended ASA M&RA Guidance (17 May)
DoD furlough notice memo 14 May 2013 http://www.defense.gov/news/FurloughMemorandum.pdf
Army Civilian Personnel (CPOL) http://www.cpol.army.mil/
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) http://www.opm.gov/
Army Benefits Center-Civilian (ABC-C) http://www.abc.army.mil/
U.S. Department of Defense News Releases http://www.defense.gov/releases/
Defense Finance and Accounting Service http://www.dfas.mil/
Effects of Non-pay Status on your TSP account http://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/oc95-4.pdf
Unemployment http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp
http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
United States Department of Labor; DOL Sequestration http://www.dol.gov/sequestration
Furlough Calculator http://www.first.army.mil/(S(fn1awp45zh35ncmubtwpkbf5))/documents%5Cpdf%5CFurlough-Pay-Calculator.xlsx
Estimated General Schedule Bi-weekly Pay Impact Furlough Bi-weekly Pay Impact.ppt
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"“After accepting the TRADOC colors, I understand the responsibility placed in my rucksack. As we design the Army, we also design the future of our nation, and that is a responsibility I will not take lightly.”"
DAVID G. PERKINS
General, U.S. Army
Commanding
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