The current appropriation provided under the Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (continuing resolution), extended appropriations that will expire at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, January 19, 2018. Without passage of a FY 2018 appropriations bill or a further continuing resolution, Federal departments and agencies, including DoDEA, will be required to execute contingency plans for a lapse in appropriations (more commonly referred to as a "shutdown"). These contingency plans detail which agency activities are allowed to continue to operate, and which activities must stop. Prudent management requires that agencies be prepared for the possibility of a lapse. It is important that all employees, but especially excepted employees read the “Will I Get Paid” section of this document.
While the preferred method of notification is in person at the worksite, there are alternative means of notification, especially if employees are not in their local commuting area. If an employee is not at their duty station to receive furlough notification, then other forms of communication - telephone, personal email with receipt notification, or registered mail – will be pursued. However, a written notice to furlough will still be provided to the employee as soon as possible after the furlough begins. If an employee has scheduled personal travel, they should make arrangements for alternate means of communication with management if a furlough does occur. It is important to note that employees who are away from the area will not be expected to return to their work site just to receive a furlough notice. Instead, employees who can prepare for shutdown without coming into the office should coordinate with their supervisors for alternative notification.
DoDEA activities at our schools and district offices are considered as excepted activities and will continue to operate as usual for the duration of a government shutdown. All school level and district level employees, including Financial and Business Operations employees located at the district offices are excepted and are required to report for work on all scheduled duty days in the event of a shutdown. School and district offices will remain open and operate on a normal schedule. Contractors will continue to work if their contracts are fully funded.
Region and Headquarters personnel are not excepted and are subject to the furlough. Limited key personnel at these locations have been identified as excepted to provide for essential operations in support of educational activities. These excepted employees will continue to work during the furlough. Key personnel who have been identified as excepted employees on telework agreements may have the option to telework for short periods of time as necessary to support operations during the furlough. Supervisors will notify employees who fall into the excepted category.
In the absence of appropriations, all TDY and training is cancelled and employees should make arrangements to return to their home stations as part of the orderly shutdown of operations. Airline tickets must be cancelled and/or changed to return by the traveler.
Per OSD guidance “DoDEA sporting events and extracurricular activities are non-excepted; an event or activity may only continue during a lapse in appropriations if the event or activity is fully funded with non-appropriated funds.” Therefore, in the absence of appropriations, all athletic and extracurricular activities are cancelled. All sporting events which are scheduled for Friday January 19th, Saturday January 20th, and Sunday January 21st will be completed and then all employees and students are required to return to their home stations.
All paid time off during a shutdown furlough period must be cancelled because the requirement to furlough supersedes leave and other paid time off rights. This applies to all employees whether they are furloughed or are considered to be excepted from the furlough. An excepted employee who is absent from duty during the shutdown must be furloughed during such an absence.
Federal agencies, including DoDEA, do not have the authority to pay employees, whether excepted or not designated as excepted during a lapse of appropriations. This includes allowances such as Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) and Post Allowance (PA). All employees entitled to receive payment of LQA and PA, whether furloughed or not, will receive them once funding is approved. Excepted employees will be paid salary for hours worked during the shutdown furlough period once funding is approved. Only Congress can approve payment of salaries for hours of work missed during the furlough period. At this time it is not known if Congress will approve such funding if a shutdown occurs.
For employees who worked in the pay period prior to a lapse in appropriations (meaning anyone who worked up to and including January 19, 2018), a paycheck for the time worked will be processed. Although the paychecks will be processed during the furlough, the minimum number of payroll staff necessary to process the timecards will be excepted from the furlough, for the minimum required time to process all paychecks.
Information regarding Federal Employees’ Health Benefits, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance coverage, Federal Long Term Care (LTC) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Plan (FEDVIP) is available on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website. All employees, excepted and non-excepted, should read the information carefully so they understand the provisions established for continued coverage during period of furlough/shutdown.
The duration of any potential furlough is not known at this time. Should a furlough occur, employees have a responsibility to keep abreast of the latest news regarding the budgetary status of the United States.
Employees at district offices should report as usual for work January 22, 2018 unless employees are not scheduled to report for duty on that day. District offices will remain open and operate on a regular schedule, and schools will report to duty as normal. Employees who are scheduled to work but are not physically able to report on the 22nd will be given furlough letters to cover the days they are unable to work.
Region and Headquarters employees should report for work at their normal time on January 22, 2018, to receive their furlough notice and conduct an orderly shutdown of operations. Pacific employees will receive their furlough notices on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 and therefore will be in a work status on Monday, January 22nd. Employees are required to set out of office messages on their phone and email, secure PII information, enter time in the appropriate timekeeping system, sign the furlough notice and depart for home. This should take no more than 4 hours. Employees who coordinate to receive their notification without returning to the office must also take these measures to set their out of office remotely or coordinate with someone in the office to assist them in setting the appropriate out of office notifications. Once all such actions are completed, non-excepted employees are not authorized to conduct any additional government business during the furlough. This includes the use of private or government computers, blackberries, or other electronic media to conduct official government business. Those who take public transportation or carpool should make appropriate arrangements.
Foreign National (FN) employees at the schools or district offices are not subject to the furlough. FN employees at the Region level are not subject to furlough if paid fully from host country funds. If the Department reimburses the host country for FN employees located at the Region level, then those FN employees are subject to furlough unless they are specifically designated by name on the excepted employee list.
Employees are asked to monitor the media and OPM website. Information on the DoDEA website will also be updated. Management will attempt to contact all furloughed employees to advise them when to report back to work, but it is the employees responsibility to know when to return. When a continuing resolution or an appropriation has been approved, employees are expected to report to work or request leave in accordance with leave procedures. If the notification occurs during duty hours, employees will be expected to immediately report to duty. If the notification occurs during non-duty hours, employees will be expected to report to work on their next regular duty day.