Employee Frequently Asked Questions - Furlough Procedures

​Yes, excepted employees are generally required to work on those days normally scheduled to work. Your Excepted Employee Notification Letter will provide additional details.

Employees who do not have access to the HR Connect system may contact the Customer Service Help Line at 866-743-5748, select option 1 for the Employee Resource Center then listen for the Payroll option and request a copy of their latest SF-50. There has not been a  personnel action for furlough processed in the system for the current shutdown.

Are you:

  1. Placed back in furlough status and able to claim unemployment? Depends on the State that you are filing your claim in. Please check with your State agency. 
  2. When shutdown ends and retroactive pay is granted, do you still receive back pay and then are required to pay back all unemployment received? Yes, you are required to pay back all unemployment benefits that you have received.

​A letter to creditors was posted to irs.gov and is available for employee use, if needed.

​No, completing an annual appraisal is NOT an excepted function.  Thus, managers should not complete their employee appraisals until the lapse in appropriations ends.

Most employees who perform functions paid by annually appropriated funds are being furloughed. The only exemptions or exceptions to the shut down and furlough are positions who perform the following functions: 

  • Functions with a continuing source of funding,
  • or functions expressly authorized by Congress to continue even without funding,
  • or functions for which authority to obligate funds is necessarily implied by statute,
  • or functions that are necessary to ensure the safety of human life or the protection of property,
  • or functions necessary for the discharge of the President’s constitutional duties,
  • or activities necessary for a short period in order to ensure an orderly shutdown of operations.

Employees are “exempt” from furlough if their work is funded by a source of funds that has not expired. This includes employees who are not funded by annually appropriated funds. It also includes those Presidential appointees who are not subject to a Federal employee leave system i.e., who are entitled to an annual salary without consideration of the hours of duty required and thus cannot be placed in nonduty/nonpay status. (NOTE: Non-career SES and Schedule C employees do not fall into this category.) During the shutdown, exempt employees may take leave and record their time and attendance normally. In addition, exempt employees will be paid for holidays according to the normal procedures.

In the context of shutdown furloughs, the term "excepted employees" refers to employees who are funded through annual appropriations who are nonetheless excepted from the furlough because they are performing work that, by law, may continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations. "Excepted employees" include employees who are:

  1. Performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, 
  2. Performing minimal activities as necessary to execute an orderly suspension of agency operations related to non-excepted activities, or
  3. Performing certain other types of excepted work. Agency legal counsels, working with senior agency managers, are determining which employees are designated to be handling "excepted" and "non-excepted" functions.

All other employees funded through annual appropriations are not able to work during a "shutdown" and will be furloughed.

​If an employee is serving a suspension or scheduled to serve a suspension when a shutdown furlough becomes effective, agencies have the option of holding the suspension in abeyance during the period of shutdown, or delaying the commencement of suspension until after the shutdown ends. During the shutdown, such employees should be properly designated by the agency as exempt, excepted, or non-excepted and treated accordingly. If the employee is subject to furlough, the employee should receive the appropriate shutdown adverse action furlough notice.

​A furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of funds. In the event that funds are not available through an appropriations law or continuing resolution, a "shutdown" furlough occurs. A shutdown furlough is necessary when an agency no longer has the necessary funds to operate and must shut down those activities which are not exempt or excepted pursuant to the Antideficiency Act.

​A furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work or funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons. For most employees, a furlough of 30 calendar days or less is covered under 5 CFR Part 752, adverse action procedures. All furloughs for Senior Executive Service members are covered under 5 CFR Part 359, Subpart H.

Employees in furloughed status may seek outside jobs while they wait for the furlough to end. However, because they remain Government employees even while on furlough, they will continue to be subject to the Executive Branch-wide standards of ethical conduct at 5 CFR Part 2635 (Subpart H – Outside Activities) and the IRS Ethics Handbook (Chapter 10 –Outside Employment and Activities) and therefore cannot engage in a prohibited activity (e.g., preparing tax returns for compensation). In accordance with the 2019 National Agreement, Article 48, Section 1 (H), while in a non-pay status (i.e., furlough), the requirement for prior approval of an outside activity is waived; employees may work an outside job without prior approval. Upon return to duty status, employees wishing to continue their outside job must submit a written request.

In recalling employees to excepted service under Article 48 Sec. 1(B)of the 2019 National Agreement, employees must be recalled in inverse seniority utilizing EOD date. If there is a tie, NTEU and IRS have agreed to use inverse seniority utilizing the Service Computation Date. If there is still a tie, utilize the last digit of the employees' social security numbers, selecting the employee with the lowest number.

Article 48 Sec (1)(B) also allows IRS to consider an employee's request not to work due to a hardship. If an employee's request is honored, IRS has determined it will select the next employee in accordance with the above criteria.

It depends. The usual requirement for teleworking employees to report to their Official POD twice per pay period per IRS policy, may be suspended if determined by the business unit, during the unusual circumstances presented by the government shutdown. Further, business unit heads of office, in this situation only, may make a blanket approval affecting all employees with a telework agreement, within their own organizations regarding the exception to reporting.

If there is no blanket business unit approval, excepted employees, with an approved telework agreement, may submit requests for exception to reporting, in writing, to the executive in their business unit working during the shutdown. If the business unit determines there is no need for the employee to report to the Official POD to perform duties during the shutdown, he or she may approve the exception to reporting on a case-by-case basis.

In this instance, during the December 2018, shutdown only, managers are not required to document this exception with Form 15088 – Exception to Reporting to the Official POD – Manager Certification.

Employees must annotate telework appropriately on their time and attendance record in SETR.  

​It depends. The usual requirement for teleworking employees to report to their Official POD for their full TOD may be suspended if determined by the business unit, during the unusual circumstances presented by the government shutdown. Further, business unit heads of office, in this situation only, may make a blanket approval affecting all employees with a telework agreement, within their own organizations regarding a waiver of reporting for the full-day TOD.

If there is no blanket business unit approval, excepted employees, with an approved telework agreement, may submit requests for waivers to the full-day TOD requirement, in writing, to the executive in their business unit working during the shutdown. If the business unit determines there is no need for the employee to report for their full TOD to perform duties during the shutdown, he or she may approve the waiver on a case-by-case basis and suspend the usual process for board approval and communicate approval to the employee.

In this instance, during the December 2018, shutdown only, managers are not required to document this waiver with Form 15072 – Waiver of Full Day in Office Requirement for Frequent Teleworkers.

Employees must annotate telework appropriately on their time and attendance record in SETR. 

​As stated on the Furlough Excepted Notice letter: "The Service will consider an employee’s request not to work during the furlough period due to hardship. You should notify your supervisor upon receipt of this notice, or as soon thereafter as possible, if you intend to request not to work during the furlough period due to a hardship." This applies to excepted employees unable to work due to illness.

Excepted employees with an approved telework agreement can work at their telework site unless otherwise required by their manager/business unit. The Law requires (and IRS policy) that all teleworkers must have a telework agreement.

Per the Office of Management and Budget guidance for shutdown furloughs, "Detailed employees remain officially assigned to their permanent positions during the detail. During a shutdown furlough, each agency will determine the status of their employees on detail within the agency or to another agency. Home and receiving agencies should carefully consult about what activities are appropriate for a detailee to perform during a funding lapse to ensure that the activities are consistent with the reasons why the agency designated them as "excepted."

No. The following is from the Office of Personnel Management's website. Agencies will incur obligations to pay for services performed by excepted employees during a lapse in appropriations, and those employees will be paid after Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or a continuing resolution. For furloughed employees, Congress determines whether they will receive pay for the furlough period. During the January and February 2018 shutdowns, Congress determined furloughed employees would be paid.

​7114 meetings are not required for shutdown furloughs due to lapse in appropriations.

No, the law (and IRS policy) requires that all teleworkers must have a telework agreement.

If Friday is your AWS off day, you are not required to perform shutdown activities on Friday. Shutdown activities must be conducted on the employee's next work day. Refer to the FAQs for additional guidance.

Employees may conduct orderly shutdown activities from their remote telework location. As a general rule, employees working remotely are not required to come into the office to perform shutdown activities, unless otherwise required by their manager/business unit. Check with your manager/supervisor for additional guidance.

No. Employees should conduct orderly shutdown activities on their next regularly scheduled work day.

No. The customary 30-day advance notice period and opportunity to answer are suspended under the provisions of 5 CFR 752.404(d)(2).

While an employee must ultimately receive a written notice of decision to furlough, it is not required that such written notice be given prior to effecting the emergency furlough, although it is recommended. Advance written notice (including through email) is preferable, but when prior written notice is not feasible, then any reasonable notice (e.g., telephonic, oral, personal email, or by mail promptly after the furlough) is permissible when the furlough decision is made. However, a written notice of decision to furlough must be provided as soon as possible after the furlough begins.

Yes, however, employees that are excepted from furlough will receive a separate notice informing them of their status and the expectations during the funding lapse.

If you are on furlough, you should not use your government issued mobile phone or log into your government account through remote access. You should regularly check www.irs.gov/employee and the IRS Hotline at 866-743-5748 option 3 for shutdown information.

Prime vendors will be notified by email to visit the IRS website to learn if their contract is excepted. In the event of a lapse in appropriation, all vendors and business units requiring Procurement support will be advised to contact the Procurement PPS email account at Proc.PPS@irs.gov or call 240-613-7475.

Some will and some will not. During furlough, all IRS-owned buildings will be open and will have standard utilities and janitorial services. Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC Offices) will be closed. Federal buildings will be operating under weekend procedures, and employee/bags may be subject to search. Cafeterias and snack bars will be open but with limited offerings. Exception: The Martinsburg ECC and Main IRS cafeterias and snack bars will be closed.

The U. S. Postal Service will continue normal operations during a shutdown. Routine mail service will continue to the 59 sites covered by the national mail contract as well as the courier service to the 26 sites covered by individual contracts. Campus mail, along with NCFB and DC locations will continue to be picked up and delivered by excepted employees.

Prior to leaving the office, all employees should take steps to ensure that records containing PII or classified information are secured in designated storage areas to prevent unauthorized access.

​Activities related to background reinvestigations are not considered excepted work. Furloughed and/or excepted employees ordinarily should not participate in those activities during a shutdown. Participation is permitted if it is personal in nature – for example, if the subject of the investigation is a neighbor or friend, rather than the employee or an IRS colleague.

(a) There is no distinction between positions held by bargaining unit employees and non-bargaining unit employees in the event of a furlough due to a lapse in funding. Positions must meet certain criteria to be excluded from furlough. See above “Who is being furloughed?"
(b) Employees may contact their manager to determine their bargaining unit status.