The March 1st deadline for sequestration is only a week away. And agency managers are grappling with the very real possibility that they will be forced to furlough thousands of workers. The DoD has already announced that if a deal to avert sequestration is not passed, it will be forced to furlough 800,000 civilian workers.
So what can you do if you are furloughed?
“Furlough is a period of non-pay status that’s either caused by an administrative lack of funds (sequestration) or running out of time on fiscal appropriations (government shutdown). This is the biggest potential furlough i’ve seen in 20 years,” said Mahoney.
What Feds Can Do:
- You can submit a MSPB appeal
- If feds are Union members they can file union grievances
- If you believe the way the furloughs are being implemented are discriminatory or retaliatory they can file a complaint with the Office of Special Council
“Effectively Congress is trying to balance the budget on the backs of federal employees,” said Mahoney.
Cost of Appeals
“Frankly with the appeals feds have filed and the cost of those appeals both in terms of the defendant agency and the MSPB board each of these furlough appeals could cost the government upwards of $10,000. So furloughing employees is not a zero sum game. These things are going to cost not just the furloughed feds, but the government too,” said Mahoney.
Length of Furloughs
“Realistically we are looking at furloughs of 30 days or so for the next 7 months. Which means it will cost furloughed feds about 20% of their salary. Each federal agency is delegated by the authority of OPM to determine how best to implement furloughs. Whether that is one day a week, a few hours a week or an entire month, it’s up to the agency. So invariably people are going to feel like agencies are targeting their group. That feeling is going to lead to mass grievances,” said Mahoney.
“I am sure the managers over at the DoD are puling their hair out trying to figure out how to furlough 800,000 people so that operations at the agency aren’t ground to a halt,” said Mahoney.