We are currently in an emergency, or "shutdown furlough" - not a planned "save money" furlough where RIF procedures might normally apply.

A new OPM fact sheet on the partial government shutdown addresses a point of confusion that has arisen now that it has exceeded 30 days, involving whether RIF procedures now must be applied. In short, the answer is no.

When a RIF is conducted, a complex set of procedures are used to decide who stays and who goes, and affected employees have a range of rights. In a “save money” furlough situation, that process is triggered when the furlough exceeds 30 days, but that does not apply in a shutdown situation such as the current one, OPM said.


“Reductions in force (RIF) furlough regulations and SES competitive furlough requirements are not applicable to emergency shutdown furloughs because the ultimate duration of an emergency shutdown furlough is unknown at the outset and is dependent entirely on Congressional action, rather than agency action,” it says. “The RIF furlough regulations and SES competitive furlough requirements are only applicable to planned, foreseeable, money-saving furloughs that, at the outset, are planned to exceed 30 days.”

More on furlough rules for federal employees at ask.FEDweek.com