Furlough InfoGood afternoon everyone. Below is information posted on the NASCOE News Facebook page. All of our employees do not use Facebook. So, please try to distribute by email within your states. Please ask your officers, directors, and members to share this with everyone.

  • Below are some FAQs, websites and other pieces of information. We are trying to provide the best answers we can based on what we know.

    Pay Period 19 Paycheck
    FSA ensured that all employee’s time and attendance were validated and certified for Pay Period 19 and should cover hours worked before Oct. 1, 2013. Employees, even excepted ones, will not be paid for hours worked after Oct. 1, 2013. Some deductions are based upon the gross pay amount such as taxes, social security, or retirement. TSP deductions can be set as a percentage or a flat amount.
    As of today, employees may still access NFC’s Employee Personal Page and make changes to deductions for PP19. Not sure when this will cut off but will be soon.

    Below are 2 FAQs from OPM’s shutdown document.

    1. Will employees receive a paycheck for hours worked prior to a lapse in appropriations?
    A. Under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance issued in 1980 (below), employees will receive this paycheck. Although the payroll for the last pay period before the lapse will be processed potentially during a period of furlough, the minimum number of payroll staff necessary for this process will be excepted from furlough for the minimum time required to issue the checks, including checks for the last pay period before the lapse. This guidance can be found in OMB’s August 28, 1980, Bulletin No. 80-14, Shutdown of Agency Operations Upon Failure by the Congress to Enact Appropriations, paragraph 3.b.(1) (Appropriations and funds). OMB has reviewed and concurs in this answer.

    2. When an employee’s pay is insufficient to permit all deductions to be made because a shutdown furlough occurs in the middle of a pay period and the employee receives a partial paycheck, what is the order of withholding precedence?
    A. Agencies will follow the guidance on the order of precedence for applying deductions from the pay of its civilian employees when gross pay is insufficient to cover all authorized deductions found athttp://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=1477

    Subsequent Pay Periods
    At this time, we do not have sufficient information to discuss impacts on future pay cycles.

    Unemployment Benefits

    The shutdown furlough packet included the SF-8 form needed to file for unemployment benefits. If employees are eventually reimbursed for pay while furloughed then they will have to pay back the unemployment benefit.

    Here is some information from the NFC website (See link below) on filing for unemployment:

    Q: How do I apply for unemployment compensation?
    A: State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Some States require a 1-week waiting period before an individual qualifies for payments. In general, the law of the State in which an employee’s last official duty station in Federal civilian service was located will be the State law that determines eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. (See the Department of Labor website “Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees” athttp://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp.) Agencies or employees should submit questions to the appropriate State (or District of Columbia) office. The Department of Labor’s website provides links to individual State offices at http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.

    To assist with this process, please refer to the attached documents:
    • Unemployment Compensation Information for Furloughed Federal Workers
    • SF-8 Unemployment Compensation – Fillable Form
    • Federal Identification Code (FIC) Listing

    Employees should provide the State Department of Labor office with contact information for their servicing Human Resources (HR) office. If there is no staff available in their servicing HR office, employees may provide the following Agency contact information:

    USDA National Finance Center Customer Call Center 1-855-632-4468

    Second Jobs
    Here is the FAQ from OHRM.
    Q: May employees take other jobs while on furlough?

    A: USDA employees are required to comply with the ethics regulations governing engaging in outside employment or activities (5 C.F.R. Parts 2635 and 8301). During the furlough, the requirement for employees to seek advance approval of any outside employment or activity has been waived. It is important to note that the ethics rules still apply to all employees during a furlough period, so any outside activity or employment must not present a conflict of interest with your USDA position and duties. Employees are referred to the Office of Ethics website to review the applicable ethics rules governing outside employment at: www.usda.gov/ethics.

    Transit Benefits (DC Employees only)
    DOT notified USDA that WMATA will be suspending transit benefits for USDA early the week of Oct. 7, 2013. Transit benefits provided on October 1 for the month of October will be pulled back from Smart Cards. OMB is expected to put out additional guidance on this issue next week. We will provide you additional information as it becomes available.

    Travel Cards
    Currently, all travel cards in a current payment status (not delinquent) have been placed in forbearance period by USBank. This will prevent nonpayment of charges from reflecting on employee’s individual credit reports. Delinquent card holders need to pay the bill to avoid an impact on credit reports.

    Here are some resources that may be helpful.

    Thrift Saving Plan Shutdown Fact Sheet

    Office Of Personnel Management Shutdown Furlough including FAQs

    National Finance Center Link with unemployment filing information, included the SF-8 and FCI code required.

    Candace Thompson
    Associate Administrator for Operations and Management
    Farm Service Agency, USDA

    Donny Green, SEA Legislative Chairperson