A Government Shutdown Could Affect Leave

Elsewhere on Military.com, Bryant Jordan is reporting that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s finally released Guidance and Information on Furlough states that military members may not take any leave during a furlough.

While the entire document is interesting, the part pertaining to leave states:

Questions regarding leave:

Q: May an employee not excepted from the furlough take previously approved paid leave (e.g., annual, sick, court, military leave, or leave for bone marrow or organ donation) during a shutdown furlough?
No. All paid leave during a shutdown furlough period must be canceled because the requirement to furlough supersedes leave rights. The Antideficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341 et seq.) does not allow authorization of any expenditure or obligation before an appropriation is made, unless authorized by law.  Paid leave creates a debt to the Government that is not authorized by the Act.  Therefore, agencies are instructed that during a shutdown furlough, all paid leave must be canceled.

Q: May an excepted employee take previously approved paid leave or be granted new requests for paid leave during a shutdown furlough?
No. When an excepted employee is not working or not performing excepted activities in compliance with the Antideficiency Act, he or she cannot be in a paid leave status. Excepted employees must be either performing excepted activities or furloughed during any absence from work. The furlough must be documented by a furlough notice. If an excepted employee refuses to report for work after being ordered to do so, he or she will be considered in an absence without leave (AWOL) and will be subject to any consequences that may follow from being AWOL.

While I sort of understand the budgetary logic, the whole thing seems ludicrous to me.  Even more ludicrous is that they’ve waited until days before a possible furlough to publish this information.  There is no explanation of what will happen to people who are on leave when a furlough might begin, or what will happen to excepted employee (i.e., military) needs to take paid leave (family emergency, etc.)

I wish I had useful news, but this is the best I can do right now.

Oh, I should probably note, for those who don’t know:   It is possible that a government shutdown could occur and the military could be unaffected.  It has happened in the past.  However, in the past, there has been an approved Defense Appropriations bill in effect when the government shutdown occurred.  We not have a current Defense Appropriations bill.  If Congress passes a Defense Appropriations bill, or passes some sort of legislation to pay the military outside of the budget or defense appropriations bill, the military could be unaffected by a federal funding gap due to no budget.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • andreaaa

    So from what I’m reading that includes soldiers r&r as well?

    • Shayla

      Better not be, my husband is expected next month for R&R and its been 7 months…we have a daughter who’s 9 months…u do the math! He better be able to come home!

    • KateKashman

      Andreaaa, until they say that it doesn’t affect R&R, we have to assume that it does. I will let you know as soon as I hear more!

      • My soldier, who has been away nine months, is expected home for R&R within the month. Tell me they’ll at least spare R&R.

    • BernardMP

      This is crap so they expect us to just eat the fees involved for canceling hotels and airlines ect all the planning that went into a vacation because they can’t do ther fing job. The government is here to serve the people not to become a burden on the peolple lkie they have become now!!!! I imagine all these congressman are getting a pretty healthy check and they don’t care about how they are affecting hard working people that have to scrape fro thier money!!!!! They all know the government shutdown should be avoided at all costs yet they refuse to act now and set something in place temporarely. All of the public is just had it with our government at this point maybe the people should stand up against what the government is doing to us. They have no right to be like this. We pay theier pay checks . We are the people and right now they are not representing the people, they are representing them selves. enough is enough!!

  • Gabe

    Can anyone tell me (4 sure) if military retirees’ paychecks will be effected? we have two incomes and both are from DoD. I will be furloughed so there goes that income. Need to know if hubby’s retirement check is still coming, to pay the mortgage!!!

    • KateKashman

      Gabe, DFAS states that retiree pay will be paid on time and in full regardless of what happens with the budget. Retiree pay comes out of a different pot of money and will not be affected by the regular budget situation.

      I hope that helps!

    • R. Payne

      military retirement is not part of any of the bills. it is unaffected.

  • GuardWife

    This will REALLY suck if it’s true! Hubby is due to leave on R&R shortly (less than a week) after this possible shutdown could go into effect. My kids and I are going to go ballistic if he doesn’t get to come home! We haven’t seen him in 7 months & have been anxiously waiting for him to come home on R&R. They better get this settled!!

  • Erik

    Don’t understand this. Whether on leave or at work I get a paycheck. There will be back pay if this actually happens. SO why does it matter if I am at work or on leave? I will still get the same back pay.

    All I know is I fly out of Greenland tomorrow on leave to get married, which I have sunk thousands into already. They better have a check ready for me or put me on permissive TDY…

  • Susan

    They say people on leave will be countedas AWOL. If someone pays $2100 for a cruise and is not refundable. I going on that cruise. Do you think the governments going to refund my money back. We all know tha twon’t happen

  • Steve

    From the DoD : http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5

    “Military personnel are not subject to furlough and will report for duty as normal during the shutdown. Reserve component personnel should refer to the DoD Contingency Guidance document and to their chain of command for more specific information.”

    The OPM guidance stated in the article is referring to excepted and non-excepted civilian employees. Military members are not furloughed. If you go to the OPM website, the “military leave” that they are referring to is for civilian employees taking National guard or reserve paid leave: http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/HTML/MILQA.asp

  • Brian

    I’m active duty stationed is Boston, and we had an all-hands yesterday. It was passed that in a situation where a cash investment had already happened (i.e. plane tickets etc) if the leave was already submitted it could still be granted on a case by case basis. So don’t give up hope.

  • Guest

    Fellow active duty member checked his mid-month LES and it shows that he is projected to receive only half of his pay. Supposedly this is due to the furlough starting tomorrow. I expect that most deployed military members are facing the same situation. Can they be expected to remain in harm’s way without monetary compensation for their families to live on? I’ve heard that military service is a calling, not a job, but this goes too far. I did sign up to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice, but not for free…

  • william

    As a air reserve technician can you be on military orders such as annual tour while being furloughed?