It’s time to put the ‘F’ in Furlough.
Fun Furlough Facts:
Let’s start with some furlough fun. There’s fun, and then there’s Army Fun.
The Army shows once again that it is the strongest of the 4 Armed Services at PowerPoint. The cover slide alone is priceless, complete with flying bald eagle, cobra helicopter, a crying child, and a nursing-soldier-mom. The slide show goes on to spoon-feed data to all congressional house districts, drilling-down data in each state as detailed as naming the 18 Army employees to be furloughed in Wyoming.
The Navy’s brief (25 Jan) is pretty weak in comparison.
… and the DoD financial summary pdf by state pales in comparison to the Army PowerPoint. It looks like DoD simply did a database query of DFAS civilian pay records by state.
Functional Furlough Facts:
The CO of PSNS has put together a great briefing on how the Administrative Furlough will affect employees. Normally I’d just provide a link, but it looks like the content of this newsletter page is rather dynamic. Here’s a cut/paste of the PSNS furlough skinny, which does a great job summarizing the content of the CNO’s 19 Feb Furlough Memo. As a shortcut, I have emphasized cuts to compensation in bold italics below:
The Office of Civilian Human Resources has provided the following information on furloughs, benefits and TSP:
- Pay – ~20% reduction in base & locality pay through end of FY
- May have insufficient pay to cover employee deductions (refer to Order of Precedence for deduction, http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=1477)
- Leave accrual – furlough treated like leave without pay (LWOP) for leave accrual and benefit purposes
- After each segment of 80 furlough hours, annual and sick leave not earned in that pay period; repeated for every 80 hours furloughed
- Impact on high 3 for computing retirement annuity — generally no effect
- Within Grade Increases (WGIs) – depends on length of furlough and employee waiting period
- Holidays – if a furlough includes both the last workday before the holiday and the first workday after the holiday, employees will not receive holiday pay
- Severance pay — no
- Unemployment compensation — depends on state requirements
Benefits coverage and entitlements
- Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) (reduced salary equals reduced coverage & premiums)
- Federal Employees’ Health Benefits (FEHB) (premiums do not change if reduced salary)
- Federal Employees’ Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) premiums do not change if reduced salary
- after two consecutive pay periods of nonpayment, BENEFEDS will bill employee direct
- Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) premiums do not change if reduced salary after three consecutive pay periods of non payment, contractor will bill employee direct
- Federal Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS) (if adjusted salary sufficient to cover contributions)
- Reimbursements continue for eligible health care expenses if allotment is withheld
- If health care allotments are not withheld, employee remains enrolled, but eligible expenses will not be reimbursed until allotments are successfully restarted
- Reimbursement continues for eligible dependent care expenses if allotment is withheld
- If dependent care allotments are not withheld, employee is 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.
- If allotments are not withheld, allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the employee’s annual elected amount.
- If elected a percentage of basic pay, contribution will be based on the reduced basic pay earned
- If elected a whole dollar amount, the amount will be withheld; if amount exceeds the net pay for the pay period, no employee contribution will be made
- Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions for FERS employees will be determined using the reduced basic pay earned
- Agency Matching Contributions for FERS employees will be determined using the earned basic pay
- If an employee is furloughed for an entire pay period, the TSP employee and agency contributions are not made for that pay period
- Loan payments will be withheld providing sufficient salary is available; loans are not in default until the employee has missed more than 2½ payments (https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/oc95-4.pdf)
Other furlough references:
The Border Patrol announces its furlough plan.
The EPA announces its token furlough of 3 days.
The Office of Civilian Human Resources information on furloughs, benefits and TSP:
Funky Furlough Facts:
House GOP coins the term ‘#Obamaquester’. This one’s not as catchy as ‘ObamaCare’, so I’m not convinced it will stick.
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