Shutdown guidance

Now that the shutdown has arrived, there are all sorts of questions floating around the various stations.

First, read this guide that was provided by OPM (updated by OPM on Oct 4). It answers the vast majority of questions you might have.

The biggest problem right now is leave. The order that went out to management is that all paid leave is canceled. That’s correct, paid leave is canceled. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a furlough day on the day you had otherwise intended to use paid leave.

For example, if you are sick, you’re sick. You can call your supervisor and tell him or her that you are sick and would like to use sick leave. However, since sick leave is not an option, you will be furloughed and provided a furlough letter for the duration of your sickness. Contrary to what has happened in previous years, you will be allowed to come back to work if you are furloughed. This applies to excepted or exempt employees, only. If you are sick for two days, that does not mean that you will be furloughed for the duration of the shutdown.

The same goes for annual leave. If you have planned a vacation and have already made all the flight and hotel arrangements, you can certainly go on that trip, but you will be furloughed for the duration of the trip. The paid leave portion of that trip is canceled, but you can still go.

Some stations are telling agents that they must go on LWOP if you would have otherwise used sick leave or annual leave. LWOP is something you must volunteer for. Request that you be furloughed and not placed on LWOP. That way, if Congress decides to fund people that were furloughed, you will hopefully be compensated. That is not an option if you go on LWOP.

Anyone currently on some form of paid leave will be furloughed for the remainder of the time they are away from work, regardless of the type of paid leave. For example, if I was on AL for this entire pay period and expected to come back to work on Monday, Oct 7, I would be considered furloughed Oct 1-4 and receive a furlough letter. Chief Karisch just sent out an email this morning that says,

“If you are on leave, you will receive a furlough notice via e-mail at your .gov account. When you complete your leave, you will report back to duty as scheduled.”

There have also been some issues in the field where supervisors are suggesting that if you are sick and cannot come to work that you should be classified as AWOL. That’s also wrong. Putting someone down as AWOL triggers all sorts of procedures with HR and LER and is only to be used when someone disobeys a direct order to report to work.

What remains unknown is how to classify these days on your T&A and in COSS. We believe that in the end, each regular day will be coded as 01 (or whatever the code for your shift is) and it will be hashed out later on. We’re not sure how a furlough day will be classified, either. As soon as that is determined, we’ll post something here.

The following information is current as of 10/02/2013. If things change, we’ll make an update.

During the shutdown, we will not use time code (TC) 01, 11, 61, etc. Effective Oct 1, there are only three allowed TCs:

  • 67 – Continuation of Pay
  • 71 – LWOP
  • 74 – Furlough

TC 74 plus an R2 code (the column all the way to the right in COSS) of 41 will be used to show that you worked on any particular day. This applies to all essential, excepted employees.

If you took a furlough day and you would have otherwise used SL or AL on that day, you should just use TC 74 with no R2 code. TC 74 by itself means that you stayed home from work.