Issue Briefs

Following is the portion of a recent DoD memo on its upcoming furloughs of civilian employees that explains policies on exceptions.

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This attachment provides Components with final dispositions on categorical exceptions to the Department of Defense (DoD) plan to furlough civilian employees for a maximum of 88 hours or 11 discontinuous workdays because of the current financial crisis caused by a sequestration for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, increased costs for ongoing Overseas Contingency Operations, and other emerging requirements. In order to minimize adverse effects on mission, employees in the following categories are excepted from furlough for the reasons noted: a) In order to avoid harm to war efforts, all employees deployed (in a Temporary Duty status) or temporarily assigned (to include Temporary Change of Station) to a combat zone (as defined in notes below) are excepted from furlough.

b) In order to avoid harm to mission, those employees necessary to protect safety of life and property are excepted to the extent necessary to protect life and property. This includes selected medical personnel. Later portions of this attachment provide details.

c) Employees in Navy shipyards will be excepted from furlough because it would be particularly difficult to make up delays in maintenance work on nuclear vessels and these vessels are critical to mission success. All other depot employees, whether mission-funded or working capital fund employees, will be subject to furlough.

d) Furloughs for employees funded with National Intelligence Program (NIP) funds will be determined by the Director ofNational Intelligence. Employees funded with Military Intelligence Program (MIP) funds will be subject to furlough.

e) Because there would be no savings, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) employees whose positions are exclusively funded from FMS Administrative and FMS case funds (case number may be required to validate funding source) and from Foreign Military Financing accounts are excepted from furlough. Furloughing employees in this category would not reduce the expenditure of DoD budgetary resources and so would not assist in meeting sequestration reductions. The FMS case-funded positions funded in whole or part by DoD appropriations (to include "pseudo-FMS" cases) are subject to furlough.

f) By law, all individuals appointed by the President, with Senate confirmation, who are not covered by the leave system in title 5, U.S. Code, chapter 63, or an equivalent formal leave system, are excepted from furlough.

g) All employees funded by non-appropriated funds (NAF) 1 (regardless of source ofNAF funding) are excepted from furlough. Furloughing employees in this category would not reduce the DoD budget and so would not assist in meeting sequestration reductions.

h) All Outside Contiguous United States foreign national employees, many of whom are subject to Status of Forces Agreements, are excepted from furlough because their situation vary greatly by country/region and because, in some cases, they are paid by host governments.

1 NAF employees are not covered by the requirements and procedures applicable to furloughs of appropriated fund employees under FY13 sequestration. However, NAF employees may be furloughed under DoD NAF and Component policies and procedures for business-based reasons.

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY i) Any employees who are not paid directly by accounts included in the Department of Defense-Military (subfunction 051) budget are excepted from furlough. For example, this would include employees funded by the Arlington National Cemetery (705 function) and DoD Civil Works (various non-051 functions) programs. These exceptions have been identified by the Components. Furloughing these employees would not reduce the expenditure of DoD budgetary resources and so would not assist in meeting sequestration reductions.

The following portion of this document provides the definitive list of additional approved exceptions beyond those listed in the preceding paragraph. The exceptions approved for the safety of life and protection of property category are granted with the understanding that these are the minimum exceptions needed to maintain operations and provide security on a 24/7 basis and that furloughing these employees would result in the Department incurring additional costs for premium pay. Similarly, the exceptions for the medical category are approved with the understanding these exceptions preserve the minimum level of personnel needed to maintain quality of care in 24/7 emergency rooms and other critical care areas such as behavioral health, wounded warrior support, and disability evaluation. Furloughing these employees would result in unacceptable care being provided, and the Department would incur increased costs for premium pay or TRICARE. The exception for Child Development Centers is granted with the understanding that this is the minimum level needed to maintain accreditation and maintain quality care for children in military families. Some Department of Defense Education Activity employees, while not excepted from furlough, may only be furloughed when they are in a pay status. Therefore, they will only be subject to furlough for up to five days at the beginning of the 2013 school year.

Recognizing that circumstances can change in this dynamic environment, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the Principal Staff Assistants for the Defense Agencies and Field Activities, may approve up to 50 additional individual, mission-based, exceptions as needed to ensure safe and efficient operations of their respective Departments. Any such exception must be reported to the Acting Under Secretary of Defense (USD) for Personnel and Readiness and the USD Comptroller. There are no other approved exceptions provided based on the Components’ submissions. Furlough proposal notices should be issued to all impacted employees beginning May 28, 2013.

Relative to the review and decision on individual employee requests for exception, per guidance issued via the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Readiness and Force Management, memorandum, dated March 13, 2013, activities should designate the Deciding Official. The designated Deciding Official will be no lower than a local Installation Commander, senior civilian or equivalent who would be in the best position to determine the fair and equitable application of the furlough. Deciding Official responsibilities may not be further delegated.

Deciding Officials are charged with, and are accountable for, making final decisions on furloughs for individual employees after carefully considering the employee’s reply, if any, and the needs of the Department. Deciding Officials must also ensure they make final decisions in cases where an employee does not submit a reply. Deciding Officials will have the authority to execute the full range of options with respect to providing relief in individual employee cases. This authority includes, but is not limited to, reducing the number of days/hours an individual employee is furloughed, or granting the individual employee an exception from the furlough altogether.