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Furlough: FAQs


As of Sept. 29, 2023

Formal guidance is provided in the OPM Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs, which can be found at: These FAQs respond to commonly asked questions. They are not intended to replace the OPM Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs, but rather to help human resources professionals in their furlough contingency planning.

A PDF of the document is available here.

General Administration

A shutdown furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because there is a lapse in appropriations.

For most employees, furloughs are covered under adverse action procedures found in subpart D of part 752 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). Furloughs for Senior Executive Service members are covered in subpart H of part 359 of title 5, C.F.R. Refer to the OPM guidance website for additional information.

Components may develop general planning documents in preparation for a lapse in appropriations. In doing so, Components should ensure that they update their contingency plans to conform to the most recent OPM and comptroller guidance.

Most employees will be directed to report to work to receive their Notice of Furlough in person and complete the orderly shutdown of operations.

Employees who are not available or who have not been directed to report to the office for personal delivery of their furlough notice may receive their notice electronically through agency email. The employee’s name, address, and/or e-mail address should be included on the decision notice so that it is clear the employee is receiving personal notification. The email notification must include instructions for the employee to acknowledge receipt. Acknowledgment of the notice may include a return e-mail from the employee acknowledging receipt; a copy of the notice returned with either a scanned copy of the personally signed document; or an electronic signature, if this feature is available. If agency email access is not available or a receipt of an email notice is not received, the notice must be mailed to the employee’s home address of record by registered mail with return receipt requested.

Activities that use electronic signatures will have to be prepared to establish the foundation for the authenticity of such signatures. Auto pens can be used as long as the Deciding Official can personally testify that he or she has personally made the decision in the case and has directed use of the auto pen. The person actually operating the auto pen must be able to testify that he or she acted at the specific direction of the Deciding Official.

Yes. While an employee ultimately must receive a written notice of decision to furlough, it is not required that such written notice be given prior to effecting the emergency furlough or in person. Advance written notice (including through e-mail) is preferable, but when prior written notice is not feasible, then any reasonable notice (e.g., telephonic, oral, personal e-mail, or by mail promptly after the furlough) is permissible.

Non-excepted employees will be expected to report to work on their next scheduled work day following the lapse in appropriations to carry out orderly shutdown activities. These shutdown activities may include receiving and acknowledging furlough notices, completing any required time and attendance, setting email/voicemail out-of-office notifications, securing files, and other activities necessary to preserve the employee’s work. Employees performing these activities will be entitled to compensation. Supervisors must ensure shutdown activities are completed in the most expeditious manner possible; generally such activities may not exceed three to four hours.

Supervisors may permit non-excepted employees who are scheduled to telework on their next scheduled work day to perform necessary shutdown activities from their telework location, if an existing telework agreement is in place. To the greatest extent practical, and as locally determined, agencies may allow other employees to conduct necessary shutdown activities from a remote location, even without an existing telework agreement, if the nature of the employees’ shutdown activities are de minimis (i.e., can be completed in approximately 15 minutes). For example, such activities would include receiving and acknowledging receipt of an electronic furlough notice and adjusting voicemail and email to reflect current work status.

Employees should not report to duty on a non-workday to receive a furlough notice. This includes employees on alternative work schedule whose regular day off falls on the first day of a furlough. Instead, they should receive a furlough notice on their next regularly scheduled workday.

Employees should listen to public broadcasts and monitor the OPM website ( to keep abreast of the latest news regarding the budgetary status of the United States Government.

There is no legal requirement to provide written notification amending the original notice of decision to furlough. Therefore, once a determination is made by the appropriate official that an employee should be recalled for all, or a portion of the remaining furlough period, the supervisor/manager can inform the employee by any reasonable method (e.g., telephonic or personal email).

If it is later determined that a recalled employee’s services are no longer necessary to engage in an excepted function, the supervisor/manager can inform the employee by any reasonable method (e.g., telephonic, oral, or personal email) and is not required to issue a new notice of decision to furlough, provided such determination is made during the time period indicated in the original notice of decision to furlough.

Supervisors/managers should document changes in status from non-excepted to excepted, or vice versa in order to provide source documentation to effect any resulting pay and/or personnel actions. Such documentation may be by: memorandum for record, e-mail communications, spreadsheet, or similar means.

At the conclusion of a shutdown furlough, OPM will release specific guidance on how to prepare a Standard Form (SF) 50, “Notification of Personnel Action,” for each individual subject to furlough.

Time spent in a non-pay status (including furlough) is credited as follows:

Career tenure: The first 30 calendar days of each non-pay period is creditable service. (5 C.F.R. §


Probationary period: An aggregate of 22 workdays in a non-pay status is creditable service. (5

C.F.R. § 315.802(c))

Qualification standards: There is no requirement to extend qualifying periods by the amount

of non-pay status. However, agencies may require such extensions in order to meet training requirements or ability to perform.

Time-in-Grade: Non-pay status is creditable service. (5 C.F.R. § 300.605(a))

Service computation date for leave purposes: Up to six months in non-pay status is creditable. (5

U.S.C. § 6303(a))

Service creditable for within-grade-increases: The time in a non-pay status that is creditable is

determined by the employee’s current step (See 5 C.F.R. § 531.406(b) for General Schedule employees & 532.417(c)(2) for Federal Wage Schedule employees)

Furloughs do not extend the not-to-exceed date of time limited appointments or promotions. Agencies have the option to separate temporary employees rather than include them in the furlough.

Furloughs do not extend the time limits for temporary and term appointments. An agency may extend the time limited appointment prior to the furlough, or the individual may be reappointed after the furlough in accordance with 5 C.F.R. § 316.302(b)(7) or 5 C.F.R. § 316.401(c).

No. Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an individual. (See 31 U.S.C. § 1342.)

Entrance on duty (EOD) dates for employees scheduled to transfer to a new DoD Component or non-DoD Agency will be delayed until after a continuing resolution or budget is passed. The employee will remain on the rolls of their former Component or Agency until the new transfer effective date. Once appropriations are made, a new effective date must be negotiated between the gaining and losing Component or Agency, ensuring that a break in service does not occur to avoid affecting the employee’s leave and benefits. Effective dates for transfers should be delayed to the beginning of the next pay period following the end of the shutdown furlough, when feasible, to avoid payroll complications.

The processing of EOD actions for individuals going to excepted positions during a shutdown furlough should be delayed as discussed in Questions 15. Although the employee may be entering into an excepted position, the activities involved with onboarding the new individual are not considered an excepted activity.


Upon furlough, all scheduled leave is canceled (annual leave, sick leave, or other). Absences during the furlough may not be charged to leave.

No. It means that absences during the furlough are not charged to leave. Instead, an employee who is absent is furloughed. Employees in this scenario will receive retroactive pay if Congress determines furloughed employees will receive pay for the furlough period.

No. If an excepted employee is unavailable to be at work and perform the duties determined by the employing agency to be allowable activities, the employee must be furloughed. An agency may subsequently terminate the furlough if the employee’s services are still required for excepted activities following the absence.

No. The status of employees in LWOP is not disturbed unless there is indication that the employee may return from the LWOP during the furlough.

Employees on home leave will be placed in a furlough status. Home leave may be extended at the discretion of senior management officials.

Employees on previously scheduled military leave would have their leave cancelled for days covered by the furlough. Employees in this scenario may receive retroactive pay if Congress determines furloughed employees will receive pay for the furlough period.


If the employee was scheduled to be on “Absent-US” status, no retroactive pay would be authorized, and therefore it would not be a dual compensation situation. If the employee was scheduled to use military leave or other civilian paid time off and is authorized retroactive pay for the furlough period, there would be dual compensation, but it would be permissible. (See Question 4.7)

No. Employees will not be able to get advanced pay as long as there is no appropriation in place to pay them. Once appropriations are in place, the employee can file a claim for reimbursement. Exceptions would include employees paid from “trust” or the Defense Business Operations Fund, if funds are available.

With no appropriation, there is no money to pay renewal agreement travel, or student travel; however, reimbursement claims can be filed once the appropriations are in place.

Mass Transit Subsidy

Furlough does not change the maximum monthly limit (currently $255) for mass transit subsidy/benefits. Since participants may claim only the days for which mass transit was used, furloughed participants–commuting fewer days in a month–will claim fewer days.


The employee’s FEHB coverage will continue even if an agency does not make the premium payments on time. Since the employee will be in a non-pay status, the enrollee share of the FEHB premium will accumulate and be withheld from pay upon return to pay status.

FEGLI coverage continues for 12 consecutive months while in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or the agency.

Agencies and employees should refer to the TSP website or contact their agency representative for information. The web address is

Agencies and employees should refer to the TSP website or contact their agency representative for information. The web address is

Health Care Expenses: Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. The employee remains enrolled in FSAFEDS, but eligible health care claims incurred during a non-pay status will not be reimbursed until the employee returns to a pay status and allotments are successfully restarted. The remaining allotments are recalculated over the remaining pay periods to match the participant’s election amount.

Dependent Care Expenses: Eligible dependent care expenses incurred during a non-pay status may be 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.

Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. Coverage will continue so long as premiums are paid. If Long Term Care Partners does not receive payment for three consecutive pay periods, they will begin to direct bill the enrollee. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him or her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage. Visit the LTC website, for more information.

Payroll deductions will cease for any employee who does not receive pay. BENEFEDS will generate a bill to enrollees for premiums when no payment is received for two consecutive pay periods. The enrollee should pay premiums directly billed to him/her on a timely basis to ensure continuation of coverage.

Employees can mail direct bill premiums to:

BENEFEDS P.O. Box 797 Greenland, NH 03840-0797

Visit the FEDVIP website, for more information.

Generally there will be no effect on the high-3 average pay unless the furlough causes the employee to be in a non-pay status for more than 6 months during the calendar year. For information about the impact of the furlough on retirement, see OPM’s Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs.

It is possible that furloughed employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. 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,” at: 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:

Yes, Federal agencies are required to provide a Form SF-8 to employees in addition to the furlough notice. For furlough purposes, a completed SF-8 for each component is located on the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS) external website (

Normally, the address on the Form SF-8 should be the address for the servicing Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) or HRO. However, during a shutdown furlough, the Component Headquarters CPO or HRO addresses are used. The pre-filled Form SF-8 for each component/agency is located via a link on the DCPAS website: (

It is important to submit the correct Form SF-8 annotating the Headquarters CPO or HRO address and FIC to your State Employment Security Agency (SESA). The FIC code lets the SESA know the appropriate component/agency to be billed. The Department of Defense FIC’s are as follows:

DoD Agencies (other than below) 421

Department of the Army 422

Department of the Navy 423

Department of the Air Force 424

Army National Guard (Title 32 employees) 422

Air National Guard (Title 32 employees) 424

No. Excepted employees cannot file a UC claim, since they are not unemployed. Additionally, in order to receive UC benefits, an individual must be able and available to accept work. Excepted employees would not meet this requirement since they are already working.

The Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs which administers the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) advises that, in the event of a Government shutdown, an employee who is disabled due to his or her injury is to be maintained in COP status during the shutdown unless the agency does not have monies available to pay the salary of that employee. If the agency does not have monies to pay salary during the shutdown but the agency’s budget is subsequently restored in such a way as to allow for retroactive payment of salary during the shutdown period, the employee should receive COP for any period of disability that occurs within the shutdown. In the event an agency is legally unable to pay COP to an employee because of a lapse in appropriations, the employee may file a claim for regular FECA wage loss compensation for that period.

No. Workerscompensation is paid to employees only if they are injured while performing their duties. Employees on furlough or L WOP are not in a duty status for this purpose. An employee who is receiving workerscompensation payments will continue to receive workerscompensation payments during a furlough and will continue to be charged LWOP.

Any additional questions regarding Federal workers’ compensation benefits should be directed to the Division of Federal EmployeesCompensation, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, U.S. Department of Labor. See

Priority Placement Program (PPP)

Employees are not eligible to register in the PPP on the basis of furlough alone unless the furlough period is six months or longer. However, if they are eligible based on some other qualifying event such as reduction-in-force, declination of transfer of function, completion of an overseas tour, etc., they may register in accordance with the timelines of that event.

The Automated Stopper and Referral System will process those transactions, and they will take effect on the first business day after the shutdown furlough.

The registering and gaining activities must re-negotiate the EOD date before the furlough begins, making every reasonable effort to avoid a service break for the registrant.

As always, the response period does not begin until the registering activity establishes contact with the registrant and actually extends the job offer. Call the appropriate Civilian Assistance and Re-employment Program Coordinator for guidance in problem cases.

Yes. Adjustments will be made for necessary actions to ensure the data is available at the end of the furlough period.

Labor Relations

Yes. Management retains the right to assign work, to determine which duties and responsibilities must be performed during the furlough, and which employees are qualified to perform such duties and responsibilities. How these employees are selected from among those who are equally qualified, however, is subject to negotiation. While the excepted designation is not negotiable, once it has been determined which positions are excepted, the process of determining which employee(s) should be designated excepted, including a rotational schedule, is negotiable.

No. The parties must deal in good faith with each other, either in partnership or through collective bargaining. They are not required in either approach to reach agreement. Where agreement cannot be reached, the services of a neutral third party may be used. If the parties have not reached agreement before the furlough, then management has no choice but to proceed by implementing its last offer. Management should, to the maximum extent possible, continue to negotiate with the union during implementation. If the parties reach impasse and the matter goes to the Federal Service Impasses Panel, management must be prepared to show that the requirement to rotate employees would impose an undue burden on the agency.

Security Clearance

A furlough is a circumstance beyond your control. The Federal Adjudicative Guidelines specify that the adjudicative process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the “whole person concept.” Mitigating factors include whether the conditions that resulted in the concern were largely beyond the person’s control and whether or not the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances. As a proactive measure, you may wish to contact your local Employee Assistance Program to see if financial planning is available.

Active Guard Reserve

Private sector care under TRICARE will continue, as will inpatient, acute and emergency outpatient care in medical/dental treatment facilities. Elective surgery and other elective procedures in DoD medical and dental facilities would be suspended. We encourage all personnel to contact their local treatment facility to confirm services and appointments.

Permanent change of station activities already underway will continue until completion. New actions will not be initiated unless in support of an excepted activity as defined by the Secretary of Defense.

National Guard Benefits

    a. If Congress does not pass a Budget or Continuing Resolution before 1 October 2023, approved FY24 Tuition Assistance (TA) Requests may be cancelled.  ACCESS will cancel TA Requests starting on 30 September 2023 at 2359 GMT (1959 EDT) for 1 October 2023 term start dates and will continue daily cancellations throughout the government shutdown. These daily cancellations will continue until either a Budget or a Continuing Resolution is approved by Congress and signed by the President.
        • Soldiers whose TA Requests were cancelled due to the government shutdown will receive a message in ArmyIgnitED.

        • Soldiers whose TA Requests were cancelled due to the government shutdown must submit a new TA Request for a future term date.

        • There will be no historical TA requests created for courses with term start dates during the shutdown.

        • Soldiers should review the “Conditions” section on their TA Request and understand the terms of this agreement to include the following statement, “I understand that TA for courses starting in the next fiscal year is conditional until the receipt of the TA funds.” Without a Budget or Continuing Resolution, the Army will not receive TA funding. 

        • Soldiers should work with their academic institution or local Army Education Center (if available during the shutdown) to make an informed decision on whether to withdraw from courses during the government shutdown or remain enrolled and assume the risk of self-pay.

        • Soldiers who attend courses during the government shutdown will be responsible for costs incurred with their Academic Institution.

    b. For additional questions, contact your Army Education Center.

a. If Congress does not pass a Budget or Continuing Resolution before 1 October 2023, pending FY24 Credentialing Assistance (CA) Requests may be cancelled.  ACCESS will cancel pending CA Requests starting on 20 October 2023 at 2359 GMT (1959 EDT) for 21 October 2023 start dates during the government shutdown. These daily cancellations will continue until either a Budget or a Continuing Resolution is approved by Congress and signed by the President. More guidance will be provided on CA Request start dates after the government returns to work.

        • Soldiers whose CA Requests were cancelled due to the government shutdown will be informed via ArmyIgnitED messaging.

        • Soldiers whose CA Requests were cancelled due to the government shutdown must submit a new CA Request. CA requests must be submitted not earlier than 45 days, but not later than 90 days, prior to the start date of either the course or the exam.

        • Soldiers whose CA Requests were cancelled due to the government shutdown will not be able to get retroactive CA to pay for courses or exams that started during the government shutdown.

        • Soldiers FY funding limit will be automatically reset to reflect total allowable amount remaining after cancellation.

    b. Soldiers should contact the Army CA Virtual Counseling Cell for guidance or assistance at: