Fedweek

OPM has issued a new fact sheet for federal employees in non-pay status due to the partial government shutdown, now that most of them have experienced a payless payday—or soon will, depending on their agency’s pay distribution dates—for the December 23-January 5 pay period.

Like prior guidance from OPM, it stresses that “excepted” employees who are working without pay due to the funding lapse are “entitled to be paid for hours worked” but not until funding is restored, and that whether furloughed (“non-excepted”) employees also will be paid is up to Congress and the President. (It appears that they will be paid but that won’t be final until enacted into law.)

It also repeats that FEHB insurance is continuing for those in non-pay status, whether furloughed or still on the job, and “your share of premiums will accumulate and be withheld later when the lapse ends and employees can be paid.” FEGLI coverage “continues for up to 12 consecutive months of nonpay status, but premiums are collected only for pay periods for which you receive pay.”

In FLTCIP, “coverage will continue. However, if you usually pay your premiums through payroll deduction, and the lapse period is less than three consecutive pay periods, your accumulated premiums will be withheld when the lapse ends and employees can be paid. Otherwise, Long Term Care Partners will begin to bill you directly for premium payments.” The same applies in FEDVIP, only direct billing begins after two consecutive missed payments.

Further, “Generally, a period of nonpay status will have no effect on an employee’s retirement-creditable service or high-3 average pay unless the nonpay status is for more than 6 months during the calendar year.”

It also repeats that furloughed employees “are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, but excepted employees working on a full-time basis are generally not eligible.” However, any unemployment benefits that are received would have to be repaid if they are paid retroactively for their furlough time.

More on Federal Government Furlough Rules at ask.FEDweek.com